A great idea with a monumental flaw.
Set for release in November, the NES mini has piqued the interest of gamers across the world. It looks just like the original, with the controller to match! It will come loaded with 30 great games and has full 1080p output!
So what’s not to love?
I’ll tell you. Nintendo has missed a trick here, and I reckon it’s cost them thousands. The NES Mini has 30 games built in, including some household names like Double Dragon, Final Fantasy and Zelda. In fact, here’s the full list!
Now if you had an NES back in the day, chances are you’ll be looking at this list feeling the exact same way I am. There are some GREAT games on that list, but this thing would be even better if it could play Battletoads, or Metal Gear, or the original Contra, or Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Arcade… the list goes on, and is subjective. Everyone has their own favourites that they would love to play on the big screen. There were 713 games released for the NES across the UK and Europe, the fact that the NES Mini is stuck with the 30 games it’s launched with is a major missed opportunity.
So what should Nintendo have done?
The answer is simple. Nintendo should have created a brand new memory format, similar to the 3DS cartridges. Let’s call it NMU (Nintendo Memory Unit). These units could be built into miniature versions of NES cartridges and loaded into your NES mini using the cartridge slot – as originally intended. However, instead of the old pin connector problem, the cart would slide straight in and click into place.
With the advance of time, memory capacity has increased dramatically. It is possible to fit every NES game ever released on a 1gb memory card. That’s not what I’m suggesting here however, I’m suggesting that Nintendo release new game packs gradually. A brand new NMU pack loaded with 30 more games could be sold for $30 or £20. Games on each pack would be optimised to run on the NES mini, ready to be inserted and played immediately.
There might be issues around licensing some of these old titles, but if Nintendo have permission to use Castlevania (Capcom) and Super C (Konami) already, I imagine a rapport could be built up when it came to getting permission to use further titles.
Each new pack could feature a few headline games, and several lesser-known titles. It would come in a case inspired by the original titles too. Fans who saw a certain favourite game on a certain pack would shell out the cash to re-live the good times, while collectors would snap up each new release as it hit the shelves. If my maths is correct, Nintendo could release up to 21 different NMU collections this way. Imagine how much more cash Nintendo would make selling these packs!
And the best bit? If this was successful, they could do the exact same thing with a SNES mini, and an N64 mini. People grew up with these consoles, and although retro gaming isn’t for everyone… the allure of a baby N64 running Goldeneye, or a super cute SNES with Zelda cannot be underestimated!
Packs could even be bundled together. Imagine “Packs 16 and 17 featuring 60 games including Operation Wolf, Bomberman and Smash TV” all for $45! Surely this is just academic?
How expensive would it be to develop a light gun sensor for HD TV’s? The Wii managed it easily enough. Pack 12 could be a shooter pack, headlined by Duck Hunt and Hogan’s Alley and come bundled with a zapper and a sensor!
The reason I’ve suggested a brand new media format (NMU) is to keep the hackers at bay. If the system used popular formats like SD cards, he chances of people pirating games would be much higher. Using a new, exclusive memory format would lock out those pirates.
I’ll be doing a playtest with the NES mini when it arrives in November, and I’ll have it running side by side with my original console, so keep an eye out for that. I’m looking forward to seeing how it performs, but will always have a tinge of sadness when I think about what could have been!
This is my first post to run on two blogs at once. Load/Error will always be my home, but I’ve accepted an invitation to write on a blog called Now Loading.
Now Loading….. Load/Error….. it’s a match made in heaven!
Please go and check that site out, it’s full of people like me, passionate video game fans with some great stories and opinions! https://nowloading.co/
And as usual, if you have any comments, please let me know what you think!