Hopes of N64 Classic dashed as Nintendo focus on Switch

07/02/2019     Author: Armand Richardson

With the NES and SNES Classics selling by the millions, the stage seemed set for an N64 Classic to storm the markets. Here’s why it will never happen.


A cruel rendering of what could have been.

Back in 2016, we saw a surge in retro gaming enthusiasts complain about the lack of supply for NES Classic Consoles. The reboot of the original NES is smaller, and comes preloaded with 30 games, giving us a much-needed boost of nostalgic goodness to get us through these dark times while we wait for the release of Cyberpunk 2077.

We then saw the SNES Classic in 2017, again with pre-loaded games and hardware packed into a device a fraction of the size of the original console. These were so popular that resellers were able to mark these up hundreds above the original release price of $80.

SNES Classic

Both these mini reboots of the beloved gaming systems flew off the shelves. So, it only seemed fitting that Nintendo would do the right thing and release a similar version of the N64.

The rumours of an N64 Classic seemed to good to be true, yet we waited in vain for something that was ultimately never on the cards. But Nintendo claim they have good reason for this.

Right now, the Switch is Nintendo’s main console, and priority is being placed on this and their subscription service that allows you ton play classic NES games with the launch of Switch Online. So it seems inevitable that N64 titles will eventually be accessible on the Switch through subscription.

So, what it you want to play Nintendo 64 games right now? Well, you could always try your hand at getting an emulator but be wary. Nintendo have been clamping down on ROM sites these past few years.

In fact, they managed to secure a settlement of $12 million from some of the most popular ROM sites. Whether or not this is ethical is up for debate. Some people don’t agree with having to pay $60 for gams that came out 30 years ago. And some agree it’s completely worth the investment.

Then there are deeper legalities you’ll need to consider. Even if Nintendo did release a classic N64 console, a lot of the most popular games were made in collaboration with Rare. Microsoft acquired Rare in 2002.

For this reason, it’s likely that Nintendo wouldn’t even have licensing rights to release these.

Either way, if you can’t wait to smash out some Zelda, Banjo-Kazooie or Goldeneye, you’re gonna have to get your hands on a working 20-year-old n64.

Zelda for N64, the greatest game of all time

For now. There are plenty of retailers online selling classic gaming hardware. Off the Charts are one of the best in the biz right.

It’s disappointing that the N64 mini will never become a reality. But it makes sense for Nintendo to offer classic content through subscription instead. It negates the need to build new hardware and helps encourage more people to get their hands on a Switch, which is a genuinely great console.

So, Nintendo, if you’re reading this, just know that there’s a fine line between love and hate. And we forgive you.

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