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What if Nintendo made a new console dedicated to retro-style games?

nes-classic-edition-boxA couple of weeks ago, prior to the Nintendo Switch announcement, I had a weird dream in which it turned out that the upcoming NES Classic Edition actually was the NX.

That’s dumb but I shared it on Twitter anyway and one of my followers replied, “Don’t scare me like that. Unless…unless they plan to make new NES games. Old-school meets modern AAA.”

And that got me thinking… What if Nintendo made a new console dedicated to retro-style games?

The NES Classic Edition plays 30 classic NES titles and that’s it.  You can’t buy additional classic games for it and developers can’t make new ones.

But what if Nintendo put out a new console that was, power-wise, say, somewhere between the NES and the SNES?  A new system that was designed and marketed to play ports of old classics and brand new, retro-styled games such as Shovel Knight, Undertale, Stardew Valley and the like?

A nouveau retro console, if you will.

Would the market respond to something like that?  I get the feeling indie devs would be all over such a thing.  Sure, they could simply continue developing retro-styled games for the PC, which boasts a larger potential audience and none of the technological restrictions of this hypothetical console but still, indie devs, by and large, really seem to love Nintendo.  Most of them grew up with its games, after all.

AAA devs?  Eh, I feel most would wait until there was a proven market for such a thing before a company like EA bothered with a retro Madden.  On the other hand, maybe the big guns would get a kick out of releasing de-makes of their popular titles for such a console.  For example, maybe Rockstar would release Grand Theft Auto 6 for the powerful platforms and an old-school, classic-style, top-down GTA for the Nintendo Nouveau Retro (what can I say, I’m a big enough dork to dig that name!)

I think such a project could be a neat experiment and it would be interesting to see if it caught on.  I certainly wouldn’t want it to replace the Switch or any future home console business but it could be an interesting, dare I say, “third pillar.”

Or, second pillar, if the Switch is super successful and the Big N goes for a console/handheld hybrid from here on out.

So what are your thoughts?  Would you like to see a Nintendo console dedicated to retro-style games?  Do you think such a thing could be a success?  Drop your thoughts in the comments and we’ll discuss them on an upcoming podcast!


  1. Zachary Knight
    Zachary Knight November 1, 2016

    This idea sounds a lot like what the Ouya was marketed as. And we all know how that was received by the overall gaming community. There was a small subset of gamers and developers that liked the idea, but there were way to many haters out there.

    I would love the system, just as I loved the Ouya. I think it would be incredibly fun. To get the attention of developers, the games released on this retro console would also have to be able to run on the Switch or whatever console is out at the time as well as be available on it too.

    All that said, if Nintendo released a console dedicated to the Virtual Console and that was all that was available on it, I would totally buy it in an instant.

    • Sora Hjort
      Sora Hjort November 2, 2016

      Didn’t the Ouya have a lot of problems though? From developers not being paid what they were owed, to the requirement of every game had to have a free version to demo? (Not complaining about the existence of Demos, just that Demos can be quite taxing to make, especially for games not designed to be cut down)

      With that in mind, it’s easy to see how the Ouya failed.

      • Zachary Knight
        Zachary Knight November 3, 2016

        I don’t recall anything about developers not being paid. I still don’t think that the demo thing was as big a deal as all the complainers made it out to be.

          • Zachary Knight
            Zachary Knight November 3, 2016

            Ok. That makes more sense. When you said Devs weren’t getting paid, I was assuming you meant something like the Desura situation where devs were not getting their cut of game sales. That situation with Ouya is different in that it was not sales payments but Free the Funds payments. It still sucks.

          • Sora Hjort
            Sora Hjort November 3, 2016

            Oh no, I didn’t mean in terms of Desura. Though that situation is pretty bad as well. But yeah I meant they were promised money for exclusivity, along with other things, and that money never materialized for many of them.

  2. MechaTama31
    MechaTama31 November 2, 2016

    The risk would be pretty minimal to someone like EA. These games wouldn’t need a massive team and a AAA budget. You could have a handful of people, or maybe just one, play around with it and see what they come up with. Pretty low-risk, and the benefit of stoking the nostalgia flames could be significant.

  3. Jon Kole
    Jon Kole November 2, 2016

    This could work, but it would greatly on a few things. The interesting thing is that AAA devs might actually be very into releasing games for a Nintendo Retro because production costs would be SUPER low and that would be the key hook for devs to support the system. Currently game teams for AAA titles are getting huge and the costs are getting massive. So if they could offset those costs by making a game that wouldn’t actually require the hundreds of people a normal AAA title does and that could be made for cheap but still sell a lot of copies and make more than a decent amount of money off of it, I could easily see them doing it.

    But that is the issue that Nintendo would have to deal with, convincing AAA devs that they could still sell a lot of copies of the games made for the console. I personally think they would however because it shouldn’t be too hard to move the console. Think about it, the technology to make the SNES today shouldn’t cost a lot, and so with low cost production they could make massive amounts of the console and charge VERY low prices for it. One of the reasons the Wii sold so well was because it was cheaper then the other consoles and parents who don’t know much about consoles tend to go for the cheaper option because the consoles seem to be the same in the other respects. So if they sold this console for $50-100 bundled with some games and controllers then it would be perfect parent bait. And that is on top of the nostalgia sales and the retro hipster sales.

    They then could put money into doing things with the console that they couldn’t do back in the day. For example, give it 8 controller ports! Because the modern graphics card and CPU could be vastly smaller for more powerful for that retro graphics they could put more into the console and make it overall smaller. Put a 2 TB hard drive in it. Add a light-gun bundle using modern tech to make it far better than the original. They could also easily add motion controls and all sorts of the Wii-esque to allow the Retro style games even more options. Heck they could even go after the massive Wii ownership market by making all of the Wii paraphernalia compatible! They could easily do a lot with this.

    Too bad that they aren’t actually do it, this could work so well!

  4. Sora Hjort
    Sora Hjort November 2, 2016

    It’s an interesting idea, to be sure. And it could hypothetically could work. It could also be used as a way to give AAA a boot to the head to get them to realize that they don’t need to spend millions of dollars, and have humongous teams to make a single game. And that we don’t need the greatest of graphics.

    Honestly, I would have the power be more up towards N64 level. A high emphasis on 2D titles, but not extremely limiting when it came to making a game with 3D elements. The whole point to the console, for me, is to make devs realize that they don’t need to make games with the best graphics to make it good or successful.

    I would make it so that you can still get the games on other Nintendo platforms, maybe make them cheaper on the retro console (and giving the devs a larger cut as incentive.)

    …. And for some reason, I’m now imagining a Mario Party game in the graphics style of the Mario and Luigi games.

    On a mostly unrelated side note: Nintendo needs to talk to the AM2R dev to get that game put on the Switch, preloaded with every Switch. Make it so that you can also play it while in the background the Switch handles the inevitable day one patching.

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