Just as the games themselves have not changed in the last 12 years then neither have the techniques to translate them, and I doubt we will be seeing anything fun that needs a supercomputer to translate them too soon (maybe some aspects of OCR and machine translation aside, but they will likely not yield truly practical results for a decade or two yet, if ever).
As mentioned many of the tutorials you find will probably lean into DOS programs (they might be old, they might be clunky but they work if you play to them and might still represent what we have), and if not DOS then maybe some weird version of visual basic that modern windows (even XP in the end was annoying to sort) will not have and you get to chase down the relevant runtimes. That said you should be able to find a table maker, a hex editor that plays to it, some relative search tools (see monkey moore) and get some stuff going on for Windows 10.
On the save stuff.
It is within reason to change such things, however it is not going to be a matter of intercepting some request to go from the c: drive to a USB or some folder or something -- the N64 does not have an operating system or similar governing its hardware so the games have to do it all themselves and the protocols themselves will be baked into the ROM and you get to alter all the respective bits of code handling it. I don't know offhand if you will have anything fun like you might on older systems still (stuff like the NES and gameboy have the saves as aspects of the cart itself and what you kick over to the cart itself can have impacts elsewhere) but I would expect something*.
*easy enough to go looking up though if you want a first "what if?" question and have some hardware documentation in front of you. What is the protocol for the cart saves. If it is some extra bit of stuff that can be included if the devs wanted to then great, if you have to change the apparent nature of a cart similar to a mapper change on the NES then that gets a bit harder.
You do also have the "going round a friend's house with my data" problem that a lot of games would have used the controller pak thing to handle (custom settings, stats and whatnot -- Bomberman and Perfect Dark multiplayer being examples of this) but I suppose that is more a nicety than fatal.
Comparing to NES password stuff. Assuming for the NES stuff it was not just a disabled for final build (cheaper to make cartridges if you don't have to also add a battery and save chip) but code still there or there in a beta then I would probably put redirecting N64 saving as an easier hack, though still not trivial or something I would expect to always be such.
To that end most probably did just opt for the "I'll get a memory pak, going to need one anyway" option.