Nintendo’s announcement of its mini-NES console was very well-received, but one writer thinks that the Big N can build off that momentum by releasing a mini-N64 console.
Getting your very first gaming console is generally a moment that you never forget, and in the 18 or so years that I’ve been playing video games, I still fondly remember the exact moment when I got my hands on my ice-blue Nintendo 64. The console has since been dropped a couple of times, all the game cartridges now require a few lungfuls of air before they work, and all the controller joysticks hang limply sideways – a reminder of all the Pokemon Stadium mini-games and Mario Party sessions that have been had over the years – but I still bring it out every so often for a trip down memory lane.
But as it is with the passing of time, the Nintendo 64’s day in the spotlight is long gone, and with Nintendo suffering financially in recent years, the console is now almost representative of better times that have since passed for the Big N. However, reception to the recent announcement of Nintendo’s mini-NES console was almost-overwhelmingly positive, and that has suddenly handed the Big N a lifeline – and an opportunity to capitalize on. Releasing a mini-NES is one thing, but what if Nintendo went a couple of steps (and consoles) further and released a mini-Nintendo 64 as a follow-up?
A good argument can be made that should the mini-NES do well, the next logical step would be a mini-SNES. However, given the Nintendo 64’s library of games, the native multiplayer aspect, the amount of love that it still gets today, and its status as one of the greatest consoles ever, there’s a better argument to be had that the Nintendo 64 is the ideal candidate for the miniature treatment.
One of the the major selling points of the Nintendo 64 is its near-unparalleled library of games – many of which the gaming community deem to be among the greatest ever made. Unfortunately, there are only three options available to fans who want to experience some of Nintendo 64’s classics: scour eBay and luck into a working console/gaming bundle that’s not too overpriced, wonky emulation that may or may not work, or go through the limited and clunky Nintendo 64 Virtual Console library.
All three of those aforementioned methods aren’t particularly elegant, but a hypothetical mini-Nintendo 64 will solve that problem by allowing gamers to buy a simple box that has everything they will ever need in one spot. Gamers will get the same excitement of owning a brand new Nintendo 64 console without all the trouble of needing to track down working games and controllers, and the plug-and-play nature of these mini-consoles will also eliminate the need for those complicated red, yellow, and white AV cables in favor of a single HDMI cable – something that will appeal to long-time fans while remaining accessible to younger gaming fans who grew up on consoles with only HDMI ports.
The closed-box nature of a mini-Nintendo 64 will also allow the Big N the opportunity to shine a light on some of the console’s underrated gems. It is almost certain that this hypothetical mini-Nintendo 64 carry classics like Ocarina of Time and Super Mario 64, but there’s also a chance for great titles like Jet Force Gemini, Harvest Moon 64, and Snowboard Kids to receive some of the attention that they initially deserved. Not only will the inclusion of criminally under-played titles bolster the entire package, but it grants gamers old and new an opportunity to play some of the titles that they may have missed the first time around.
All that’s been said so far is also applicable to the SNES, but there’s one thing that elevates the Nintendo 64 above the SNES as the ideal miniaturization candidate: multiplayer.
Part of the Nintendo 64’s enduring appeal is its ability to offer up a slate of great native multiplayer experiences, all of which are perfect for the plug-and-play nature of a mini-Nintendo 64 console. I’m sure I’m not the only one who still enjoys getting caught up in an intense game of Mario Party 2 or getting overly vocal when someone knocks me out with the hammer in Super Smash Bros, and the thought of doing it all over again with a mini-Nintendo 64 is an incredibly exciting one. Long-time gamers get to relive those childhood memories of going head-to-head with three of their best friends in Goldeneye 007 or Perfect Dark, (provided Microsoft and Nintendo can work out a deal) and newcomers get to try a collection of brilliant Mario and Pokemon party games with minimal fuss.
Since Nintendo is banking heavily on the upcoming Nintendo NX to be a big success, the Big N needs to instill some goodwill into its audience before that drops next March, and what better way to do it than to combine a slice of every (older) gamer’s childhood with modern technology into one convenient package? As video games become more complex in terms of themes, perceived emotional resonance, and its increasingly-blurred role as entertainment, perhaps the simple fun of a mini-Nintendo 64 is what we all need right now.
With reasons ranging from the nostalgic to the convenient, the prospect of buying a mini-Nintendo 64 box that contains a selection of 30 or so of the console’s greatest titles is one that carries immense appeal, and should Nintendo ever make this hypothetical mini-console a reality, there’s only one response that I, and undoubtedly many others, think is appropriate: “Shut up, and take my money!”.