Nintendo’s been making headlines in its classic game department as of late, between the discontinuing of the NES Classic Edition (which, as a result, has shot resale values of the machine sky high) and rumors that a SNES Classic is on the way this holiday season. And while some fans are complaining that the company isn’t making the most of the opportunity (like making more NES Classic Editions to keep up with demand), one thing’s for sure – it’s keeping its classics firmly in mind.
But what’s next after the SNES Classic Edition arrives later this year? Well, there’s only one logical direction for Nintendo’s retro division to go after that – the Nintendo 64. The cartridge-based system did wonders for the market when it came out in the late 90’s, thanks namely to classics like Super Mario 64 and The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, amongst other memorable titles. And packing these into an all-in-one unit with one (or two) controllers for a cheap price would only make sense for the publisher.
So why would a Nintendo 64 Classic Edition system be such a good thing for the market? Well, let’s take a look at the factors that would make it such a compelling hit for the publisher…
The Game Design Is More Contemporary
While titles like Super Mario 64 and The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time are certainly showing their age in the graphic department, their gameplay design is as contemporary as ever. Case in point – a lot of fans actually prefer the classic gameplay style of something like Super Mario 64 compared to, say, Super Mario Galaxy, even though those games are quite fun. Putting them together, along with other games, into an N64 Classic would make for a perfect sales opportunity, enabling players to explore the very roots of the contemporary 3D adventures as we know them nowadays, while still providing a bit of a nostalgic boost. Plus, with Breath of the Wild being so heralded by players, wouldn’t it be great to show them where the 3D portion of the series got its start?
Nintendo 64 Games Are Still Quite Popular
Even though the hardware has gone the way of the dodo (save for those reseller markets, where the Pikachu and Funtastic models are still high in demand), there’s no question that Nintendo 64 games have found a new level of popularity on today’s market, mainly due to re-releases. Both Ocarina of Time and Majora’s Mask have proven to be big Zelda faves on the Nintendo 3DS; and games like F-Zero X, StarFox 64 and Mario Kart 64 have been given a second chance at life on the Wii U, despite being released near the end of its life cycle. That shows that people still love to return to the classics, no matter what form they take – and that presents a vital opportunity for the Nintendo 64 Classic.
It’d Be An Instant Party Machine
Nintendo has a potential party hit on its hands with the Nintendo 64 Classic – even a bigger one than the SNES Classic or the NES Classic can present. Whereas those systems are limited to two player options (there’s not even room for Bomberman!), the Nintendo 64 Classic could easily have four ports for players to plug in and join in the fun. And all Nintendo needs to do is include a who’s who of party favorites in the package, including stuff like Mario Golf 64, Mario Tennis 64, Mario Kart 64 and even the original Super Smash Bros. If that were to happen, you’d be surprised how long your friends stick around to keep playing.
It’ll Let Nintendo Focus On Gamecube Games For The Switch
Obviously, the Nintendo Switch will get some form of classic games, including access to titles from the NES/SNES era, which will be playable online and swap out every month once the Nintendo Network picks up the pace. But what about N64 games? Well, if Nintendo focuses on the N64 Classic, that’ll leave it free to avoid porting those games over to the Switch, instead focusing on the promised GameCube ports that we deserve, including stuff like Metroid Prime and F-Zero GX. While that may bother a few fans who really wanted to play something like Super Mario 64 on the go (without whipping out the 3DS, mind you), it’ll set platforms in place where players can find their classics easily, either with the N64 Classic Edition or with the Switch. It never hurts to spread stuff around so that every base is covered, and players can enjoy the games they want to – even if it means forking over a few extra bucks for hardware.
It’ll Give Nintendo An Excuse To Go After The James Bond License
Right now, the James Bond video game license is in limbo, since Activision dropped it a while back after making games like Blood Stone 007 and Quantum of Solace. But if Nintendo could solidify its plans for the N64 Classic, it could easily pick those rights back up and, yep, it could bring back Goldeneye, easily one of the biggest favorites from the N64 era. By obtaining the rights to Bond – and maybe paying a little bit of royalty fees to actors that appear in the game – Nintendo would be free and clear to throw the multiplayer favorite back into the mix and make the N64 Classic a must-have, along with the other games included in the collection. Plus, who knows, with a new Bond movie in the works, it could make a true Goldeneye successor for the Switch – and first-person shooter fans would probably be all over that.
BONUS: It Could Celebrate Long-Lost Third Party Classics
As you could see with the NES Classic’s game line-up, the N64 Classic wouldn’t just showcase games from Nintendo’s library. It could easily talk to a few third party companies and get their games involved as well, celebrating their part of the N64 legacy to boot. This could include stuff like Activision’s Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater games (which we’d be down to play again in a heartbeat – the classics are still a blast), Capcom’s Resident Evil 2, and Natsume’s Harvest Moon 64. If it really felt like it, it could also have a conversation with Microsoft and Rare and bring back Conker’s Bad Fur Day and the Banjo games, making the collection really complete. Hey, we’ve seen the two talk before – how else do you think Minecraft is making its way to the Nintendo Switch?
Now, keep in mind that the N64 Classic isn’t official – but given Nintendo’s recent stance at the repackaging of old-school games these days, it probably isn’t far behind.