Nintendo will be launching a new console this holiday season. However, it won’t be the NX or anything resembling a modern day console. Instead, Nintendo will be returning to its roots and following in the footsteps of Atari and Sega. Today, Nintendo announced the launch of the NES Classic Edition.
Much like the retro throwback consoles of Atari and Sega, the NES CE will have 30 built in games. The list is pretty impressive too. It has all three Mario games, both Zeldas, Star Tropics, two Castlevanias, Metroid, and Final Fantasy, to name a few.
The console will support two player control with support for the $10 NES styles controllers designed specifically for this system (sadly no dogbone styled controllers), and support for the Classic Controller and the Classic Controller Pro for the Wii and Wii U.
The NES CE launches in November for a price of $60, which is a pretty great deal for the 30 games that come with it.
So that ends the “news” portion of this article.
While I think that this is a great deal and a cool console, I think that Nintendo is treating this too much like a toy and not enough like something that true retro gaming fans want. While it is awesome to have so many well loved games on the system, it fails because there is no way to get more games for it. It cannot connect to your Nintendo account to load Virtual Console games you own. It has no physical interface for physical NES games. This is pretty much the same concept as the Atari Flashback devices.
Sega had the wisdom to include an actual cartridge port on its retro console. This allows you to not only play the games built in, but also add to your collection via physical media. It is a shame that Nintendo did not see the need for such capability.
Secondly, the console does not support original NES controllers. Instead, they chose to support exclusively the Wii U controller interface. While the Classic Controller and Pro are fine controllers, and the classic NES controller is a great retro experience, the dogbone controller is far more comfortable for those who want that classic experience. It doesn’t even support the official Arcade stick. On top of that, the cords on the Classic Controller and Pro are only 3 feet long. That means that people who don’t buy the NES styled controllers are going to have to find extension cables if they don’t want to be sitting 2 feet from their TV.
This console is a great idea and something very welcome from a company with such a great gaming heritage, but it is severely lacking from a company such as Nintendo that is working as hard as it is to preserve classic gaming and bring it to the modern age.
If it wanted to really make waves in the classic gaming scene, it would release something more like the Retron series of consoles with access to Nintendo’s Virtual Console store. This theoretical console would have physical ports for the NES, SNES and N64 games. Controller ports for all three consoles, plus the Wii U controller ports. This would allow retro gamers to play their classic cartridges, using original controllers, as well as access the Virtual Console library. This console would be made better by allowing the use of save states for physical games and the ability to transfer those save states to VC versions of those games.
None of this is out of scope for such a console, nor is it outside of Nintendo’s capability. I understand why Nintendo would be wary of making such a system. Such a console would reduce the sales potential of its primary consoles, Wii U and NX. However, such a console could reintroduce classic gaming to people who don’t want to spend the higher price of those systems. Not only that, but it could get such players excited to own Nintendo consoles again and proper marketing could bring those players to the modern systems.
I know that I am simply dreaming here. I am safe in my assumption that Nintendo would never go that route, unless they find the modern console scene to be completely inaccessible to them. But, such a console is something that I and a lot of other retro gaming fans have been clamoring for. We would line up on launch day to get such a console. It could potentially sell millions and even 10s of millions. with such low price points, even up to $150, people would buy such a dream system. If only Nintendo would listen.
All that said, I will still buy this system. The available games for this system is chock full of wonderful classics that I know that me and my family would have 100s of hours of fun playing for many years. I recommend that you buy this too and help me convince Nintendo to expand on this idea with SNES and N64 versions.