Playing Mario 64 requires nothing special for an N64 all you have to do is get a star and when you get thrown out of the picture all you have to do is press "A" on the selection for save and continue, playing Mario 64 is pretty much as basic as you can go for an N64 because it doesn't require the expansion pak (the one required for Perfect Dark, Donkey Kong 64, and Zelda Majoras Mask) and it doesn't require a controller pak or a rumble pak, in fact, I don't even think that you can use them in that game.
The Japanese version of Super Mario 64 supports Rumble Pak.
Too bad the 64DD tanked or we would of had Super Mario 64 2 (or perhaps Mario & Luigi). They would of probably implemented some of the original 32 levels of Super Mario 64 before it was cut down to 15 in the final copy.
Yeah the game would have been a lot more fun if there were more levels, there were plenty of places in the castle to put them, I also think that the final bowser could have been harder to beat, he was really easy.
I would have loved to see more than 1 playable character in the 64 version, they fixed that on DS though.
You have to remember, though, that this game came out in 1996. It was a launch title that didn't even support later N64 features that made or broke other games; it still hasn't really been matched in awesomeness.
Yeah, it does have it downfalls, but that's compared to modern games. Compare Mario 64 to games like Crusin' USA and Wave Race (both release games)... there's no way to compare them. Sure, they could have put in other playable characters, but imagine what it took just to make the game and get it out for release day. There's a pretty damn big set of levels, too, considering the range of objectives.