It’s the question on a lot of gamers’ minds for 2018 – will the Nintendo 64 be next to get the miniature treatment? You’d think based on the last two years that year three would keep the pattern going but do we really need a Nintendo 64 Classic? Here are four reasons why we might not.
1. Lack of Notable Third Party Titles
While the NES and SNES both offered a wealthy line-up of third-party titles that helped define the systems, the Nintendo 64 wasn’t so fortunate. In fact, when you reflect on the console’s third-party line-up there’s little that truly stands out. Of course, there is the odd exception like Resident Evil 2 or Rayman 2 that at least at the time stood out as some of the better third parties experiences out there.
However, beyond that, any other games players would likely want are either tied up in a mess of licensing deals (GoldenEye 007, WWE or Beetle Adventure Racing) or simply too obscure a choice. The NES Classic had Mega Man 2 and the SNES Classic had Super Street Fighter II so to then say the Nintendo 64 Classic might have Doom 64; it’s hardly a like for like comparison in terms of quality and what the console was remembered for.
This is a rather small niggle that might be more of a personal thing to me than anything else but I found one of the neat things about the NES and SNES Classic was that they were both very compact. The console itself was obviously shrunk down but the controls didn’t need to be in order to remain smaller than the device itself. With a Nintendo 64 though, the controls were fairly sizable to begin with and you have to imagine after shrinking the console, the controls will actually be bigger in comparison. Of course, this isn’t a cause for concern, but rather something to makes the whole “Classic Mini” name feel a little less special, especially when you have four controllers with you to carry around also. Which brings me onto…
3. Double the Controls
A really smart move for the SNES Classic was bundling two controls in the package so right out the box gamers could play some two-player Super Mario Kart or Kirby Super Star. When it comes to the Nintendo 64 the player count doubled to four – everyone remembers his or her time with Mario Kart 64 or Mario Tennis for the long, late night sessions with friends. The fact of the matter is a lot of the best Nintendo 64 titles were multiplayer focused. So the question is how does Nintendo approach this?
Really there are two options. The first is packaging the system with four controllers while the second is doing what the NES Classic did and sell them separately. Both options will likely be pricey whichever way Nintendo might decide to go, and after the rise in the cost of the SNES over the NES you have to wonder how much higher gamers would be happy to pay in order to get the full experience. I have to imagine that if you did want the full four-player experience it’s going to cost you a lot more than the NES or SNES did.
4. Standing the Test of Time
The SNES worked so well as a throwback console last year and a large reason for that was most of the games included had aged surprisingly well. Super Mario World for example still plays and looks far better than the “New” series ever has while Super Metroid still ranks top of the “Metroidvania” class.
The Nintendo 64, on the other hand, might struggle as it goes toe to toe with its greatest nemesis – time. Much like the PlayStation, these first ventures into the world of 3D graphics can be tough to return to, their visuals blocky and blurry controls clunky and sound quality lacking.
That’s not to say there aren’t any Nintendo 64 games that have stood the test of time, rather that there are much fewer than you might expect.