Those delightful cardboard boxes Nintendo 64 games came in are one of my favorite things about the N64 era. The box art designs for really jumped out at retail and made games so tantalizing to buy! I’m not going to lie, I spent quite a bit of time staring longingly at N64 game displays at Target and Walmart when I was younger. Plus, they came with cool random inserts, like “operation cards” that were so helpful! Even now, just looking at any of the boxes in my collection brings a huge rush of nostalgia. Here are my personal top 10 Nintendo 64 box art selections from my own N64 game collection:
Super Mario 64
I could not wait to get this game, and it remains one of my all time favorites to this day. I love the Mario 64 box art-it really represents the creativity and whimsy of the game. Plus, it’s got the wing cap, which was SO COOL to use (and the theme music for it is glorious).
Super Smash Bros.
The cartoony box art of Smash 64 embodies the game perfectly. It’s just so silly and fun, reflecting how anyone can pick up and play the game. Also can we talk about how awesome it is that the word “biff” is written so large? What a great sound effect!
Mario Kart 64
There is so much fun packed onto this box. I remember picking up this game right when it dropped to $39.99 as a “Player’s Choice”, but I still snagged the original cover! Also, because I’m legally required to mention this in any discussion of Mario Kart 64: Block Fort Battle Mode.
I was a little skeptical picking up Paper Mario since Super Mario RPG was (and still is) one of my favorite games of all time. But the box alone put me at ease! How could the game NOT be amazing? Look at all the antics! And “thinner Mario, bigger adventure” is a brilliant tagline!
Mario Party 2
I actually didn’t pick up Mario Party 2 until recently, from eBay in 2020! And I’m surprised at how well it holds up. I love all of the themed boards and costumes, and once more, the box art reflects that perfectly. It makes you want to Mario party! Also note that this isn’t an original box, but a custom box from Custom Game Cases. If you’re looking for quality but affordable cases to store retro cartridge games, check them out. They do excellent work!
Even if you don’t enjoy golf, don’t you want to play with Mario and his friends when you see this box art? (answer: YES) The greens and colors on the box really stand out!
Banjo-Kazooie was one of the first games I bought without having rented it. And I regretted nothing! It’s one of my favorite games of all time to this day. I’m still utterly charmed by the characters, worlds, and gameplay mechanics. And it’s all captured in this box art!
Donkey Kong 64
The box art for DK 64 is just like the gameplay: fun, colorful, ridiculous, and a bit overstuffed! Donkey Kong 64 may not be my favorite N64 platformer, but I still love the box art! (also can someone explain why the “collector’s edition yellow game pak” is so enticing?)
Star Wars: Rogue Squadron
If you’re a Star Wars fan, is it even possible to look at this box art and not want to play this? There’s just so much original trilogy glory packed into it! I also love all of the factoids packed into the Nintendo Power guide for the game.
Star Wars: Battle for Naboo
Outside of Duel of Fates and the climatic Darth Maul lightsaber battle, this box art might be the best thing about Episode I! Even though the movie wasn’t quite what we all wanted, this game still invokes a lot of nostalgia. It was one of the last N64 games I picked up brand new (on clearance at Circuit City!). And the box art is pretty awesome, even if the gameplay never quite reached the heights of Rogue Squadron!
Do you feel similarly nostalgic about any of my choices? Are there other Nintendo 64 box art designs you think are amazing, perhaps from some underrated titles? Or terrible? Let me know in the comments below!