Nintendo has a habit of capitalizing on gamer nostalgia, so it only makes sense that they’ll be releasing some type of Nintendo N64 Classic Edition. Over the last two years, Nintendo has released retro versions of their NES and Super NES consoles. Unless they’re planning on something involving their Game Boy handheld 8-bit devices, it only makes sense that the N64 Classic Edition would be on the horizon.
What we know
First and foremost, let me preface this article by stating the obvious. If you’re motivated and willing to spend a little bit of money, you can absolutely find a working condition Nintendo 64 with a handful of games on eBay. But is it worth rushing to spend a few hundred dollars on one, when Nintendo may have a classic edition on the horizon?
Okay so let’s pump the brakes.. at the moment, we’re not even 100% sure that Nintendo is planning any further releases in their classic series. But, there are several indicators that might lead you to think this is definitely happening. Ultimately, Nintendo thrives on several things. First and foremost, they know that the majority of people who had Nintendo NES and SNES consoles were overwhelmingly satisfied with the product. Seriously, what’s better than the original Mario on NES? Or, committing 12 hours with your best friend to rumble through Donkey Kong Country? Mario Kart? Don’t even get me started.
Point being: even if the games weren’t that good, Nintendo assumes that you probably have solid memories from playing them. Basically, the games were memorable enough that it’s quite easy to remember how great they were.. and how much fun you had playing them. Personal opinion – the games were incredible for their time. Duck Hunt was legendary, and you can’t convince me otherwise.
Oh, and if you still haven’t bought into the hype machine, you’d at least agree that the SNES and NES Classic Editions sold like hotcakes. By January 2018, SNES Classic Edition sales had exceeded 4 million units. Even that wasn’t enough to satisfy demand, as many of you still are likely trying to find one at the teaser $79.99 price. So, the classic editions are quite popular. They can’t keep them stocked in stores, and Nintendo is annoyingly bad at predicting demand. That, or they know exactly how to manipulate the market to ensure people spend countless hours trying to find one each and every week after they’re released. Pretty sure it’s the latter, but I digress.
We all know that Nintendo loves to generate unnecessary scarcity. Many people have accused them of purposefully making too few units when shipping them. If there’s any truth to this, then Nintendo would more than likely wait for a while before releasing the Nintendo 64 Classic Edition. They’re also likely to ship units relatively slowly, to ensure that anticipation is high once they do release it. That’s of course, assuming that they have plan to release it in the first place.
While there’s been no actual press release from Nintendo about it, taking a look at their previous release timetables seems to indicate that we’re probably less than a year away from actually seeing it. The original NES Mini came out in December 2016, and they waited until September 2017 to release the SNES. For the latter, they made the actual announcement letting the world know on June 26th 2017 that the SNES Classic was officially happening. So, maybe we’re only a few months away from an official announcement? Your guess is as good as mine. That being said, if Nintendo is planning on releasing the N64 Classic Edition, then it looks like the time is ripe for them to do so.
We should hope that they’re not planning on a Game Boy Mini Classic Edition instead, because that would just be too small to have much fun with anyway. That’s not to mention the fact that few gamers are really all that excited about enjoying their favorite titles in full HD green and black.
Nintendo filed an interesting trademark
Trademarks and patents can certainly signify intent, especially when said Trademark looks exactly like a Nintendo 64 controller. In July of 2017, Nintendo filed a trademark in Europe for the exact graphic above. I’m not a trademark expert.. but you’d imagine they would have already owned a trademark for the Nintendo 64 controller design right? So, why are they filing a trademark for the graphic above in July 2017? Draw your own conclusions here.
Games We’d Like to See on the Nintendo N64 Classic Edition
More than likely, Nintendo would have to include The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. Way before people had modern fantasy MMORPG titles to play, they were grinding into the wee hours of the night on a caffeine-fueled adventure with the Zelda cartridge plugged into their console. We can also assume that they’ll essentially have to include Star Fox 64, because of course they would. While Nintendo was reportedly reluctant to include the unreleased Star Fox 2 in the SNES Mini catalog, that game sort of carried the console so there’s really no way they wouldn’t somehow wedge furries into space in a hypothetical N64 re-release console.
Considering that Disney now has control of Star Wars, we’re not even sure that Star Wars Rogue Squadron could ever make it onto the console. If they do include a Star Wars game, though, then we hope it would be that one, as opposed to anything involving Jar Jar Binks. Was there even a Jar Jar Binks game? Maybe not. Crisis averted.
What are some other games we’d want to see in an N64 Classic?
Right up there on the list of greatest video games of all-time, Mario 64 was such a fascinating experience, and clearly the flagship for the console. If you played Mario 64 and don’t agree that it was anything other than amazing, there’s nothing more I can do to save your soul.
Can I interest you in a little Moonraker? Or perhaps, aggressively sprinting around the map with Oddjob using only the melee handchop? Oh, but of course. In spite of it being a licensed movie-based title, GoldenEye 007 on N64 ranks among the greatest FPS releases ever. It would be a real shame if they didn’t include this one. The fact that Capcom and Nintendo are getting closer should provide some hope for the inclusion of other major shooters like Resident Evil 2, and Mega Man 64 as well.
Super Smash Bros
No explanation required. If Super Smash Bros were to be left off the official (and theoretical) N64 Classic Edition roster, Nintendo would no longer have a reason to exist.
Mario Kart 64
Mario Kart 64 is easily one of the most replayable games available on the N64 console. Developing upon the wildly successful SNES version, Mario Kart 64 brought us a much better visual experience, Wario Stadium, Rainbow Road glory, and so many other amazing tracks. Oh, and the blue shell. All hail the blue shell.
Wave Race 64
I’m sorry, but this game is still incredibly underrated. Hence why I demanded it be included on the theoretical N64 classic packaging graphic. Have you ever seen someone frown on a jet ski? No, no you haven’t. Have you ever seen someone frown while playing a jet ski video game? Nope. Wave Race is amazing.
Would the NFL support Nintendo including NFL Blitz in a retro N64 Classic Edition? Unlikely. Considering all that we now know about concussions, they’d probably frown at a revival of one of the most ridiculous (and highly addicting) NFL games of all time. Especially one that not only features, but encourages: crushing late hits, body slams, players stumbling around wobbly (and seemingly unconscious) – you know.. all the stuff that made the game fun. NFL Blitz was peak N64.. for my money it’s still one of the all-time greats when it comes to sports arcade games. Ultimately, Blitz might actually be the N64 game I played the most. It was that good.
What would the Controllers look like?
In many ways, the NES Classic and SNES Classic Edition controllers are very much like their original counterparts. They don’t quite compare if you hold them up against the originals, however. Many
gamers nerds have complained that they’re too light and slightly smaller than what they’re used to.
This is especially an issue in today’s world because controllers have gotten heftier over the years, making it difficult to switch back to an antique, light design. Unfortunately, Nintendo will likely need to copy the same pattern if they ever design new N64 controls to include with the system. Maybe that trademark thing is kind of relevant, after all?
Going off their track record, they’ll probably include controllers that look superficially identical to the original, but feel slightly different due to a different type of plastic. As a result, you can expect to hear collective groans from the die-hard purists (nerds) if the N64 Classic does eventually come out. Should Nintendo decide to use USB connectors, like some people are guessing they will, gamers could theoretically use any of the higher quality aftermarket reproduction USB N64 controllers that are available on the market. Keep in mind how much of a long shot this really is though. Nintendo actually hardwired the controllers to their Famicom Classic units sold in Japan, which means gamers can’t even remove the controllers if they wanted to. Fun fact: they wanted to.
Nintendo’s marketing department would probably shoot down any innovation overkill from their engineers, anyways. They’ll more than likely want to reuse as much hardware from the Nintendo Switch as possible.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention something near and dear to my heart. If you actually owned a Nintendo 64 console, you may have purchased a “rumble pak” which was basically the greatest thing ever. While slightly obnoxious in size, the rumble pak addition to the N64 controller was amazing. Let’s all take a moment of somber remembrance for the rumble pack.
What the Console Unit might look like
Assuming they do release some version of the Nintendo N64 Classic Edition, it would probably just look like a downsized version of the original thing. It certainly wouldn’t have any of the expansion ports on the bottom, nor the original N64’s unusual power supply, which is a huge benefit considering how many problems that caused for gamers.
They’d probably release slightly different versions for the North American, European, and Japanese markets to represent visual differences in console design for those three different regions. That being said, these changes wouldn’t be anywhere near as drastic as those associated with their two previous classic edition releases.
You might notice some changes though, if you turn it upside down. The retro consoles that Nintendo has released thus far are essentially Linux PCs, and therefore have been very popular with hackers who want to make their own consoles based around Nintendo’s existing hardware. It’s easy enough to assume that they’ll at least attempt to seal the entire unit this time, in order to make hacking much more difficult.
Nevertheless, people (nerds) will still find a way to get it open. YouTube videos released a year or two from now will probably feature a whole bunch of odd hacks that people find they can do with emulated Nintendo 64 hardware, and maybe a couple of screwdrivers. The internet sometimes comes in handy like that.
Will Nintendo Ever Release the N64 Classic Edition?
Timetable data so far is the biggest indicator that Nintendo plans to put this console out there. Almost every rumor you’ll find is based on the idea that Nintendo is going to start releasing a new device once a year. If this is indeed the case, our assumption is that we might see the Nintendo N64 Classic Edition hit shelves (aka eBay and Amazon via resellers) sometime late this year.
Of course, if they were to keep this up they’d quickly run out of consoles to re-release unless they have plans for a new version of the Game & Watch, or something equally obscure. If we’re being honest, the N64 might be the last console worth making a classic version for (sorry, I just couldn’t fall in love with the GameCube even though Mario Tennis was great fun).
It should be interesting to see what the company plans on doing, and we’ll be watching them very closely for the next 8 months or so.