Sunday, January 14, 2018

The case for NES and SNES Classic Switch Cartridges

The Switch isn't the only "new" Nintendo console selling out in stores these days.

There has recently been a huge resurgence of retro Nintendo gaming with the NES Classic Edition and SNES Classic Edition.

And why shouldn't there be? Retro gaming is great! While there have been a few issues with the Classic Editions (short cords, anyone?), the response to them has been a phenomenal success.

The biggest issue seems to be getting them into people's hands. I visit gaming stores (and department stores with gaming sections) on a regular basis, and I've never seen either of these consoles in stock. 

My only hands on experience to date with either console was with a friend who brought over his NES Mini for an afternoon of game play (coincidentally my first experience with a Switch as well). 

There is a simple solution to the lack of availability to the classic consoles - release them as Switch cartridges! Basically, take the games and put them on a Switch cartridge, while maintaining the same "classic" UI and feel. The price of the cartridges could be roughly the same, or a little cheaper, than the the classic consoles themselves. Of course, I would also expect an eShop release of the cartridges as well.

This would also solve the wired/wireless controller issue, as the Joy Cons should work for playing both NES and SNES games (and there's two of them - the right number of players!). Pro Controller/Paired Joy Cons would work as well.

There could even be an official adapter for using Classic Controllers into the USB connection, if you really wanted to.

The right way to do the Switch Virtual Console?

Other than some vague references to the Switch online service including some sort of retro "game of the month", we've heard virtually nothing regarding the Switch Virtual Console service.

Release the NES and SNES Classic Editions as Switch cartridges provides one other huge advantage - online access. The NES and SNES Classic Editions are designed for simplicity - no Internet connection, which also means no official way to add additional games.

But the NES and SNES Classic Editions as a release on Switch could offer one thing the physical consoles cannot - downloadable content! Ergo, download the NES Classic Edition for the Switch, then be able to purchase other games than the originally included set as DLC. 

While I personally hoped Nintendo would allow for consolidation of a Virtual Console collection (e.g. buy once, play on any supported device), that clearly never happened, resulting in having to repurchase Virtual Console games for different devices - something few people would find appealing. 

While I don't really relish the idea of buying Super Mario Bros 3 for the umpteenth time, I would strongly consider buying a Switch game with SMB3 included, if it included the other 29 games from the NES Classic. Same goes for the SNES Classic. The "rewind" feature from the SNES Classic could even be ported back to the NES Classic. This could be the right way to do Virtual Console on the Switch, as opposed to repeating the Wii/WiiU/3DS formula. Make the VC optional via purchase of a cartridge which includes a base number of great classic games. 

Wouldn't it negatively impact Classic Edition sales?

I seriously doubt it. There are many people who simply have no interest in a Switch, and only want to play classic games. As we know, the production of the Classic Editions are limited due to competition with the Switch for manufacturing. Even if the Classic Editions were released as Switch games, any new release of the Classic Consoles themselves would almost certainly still sell out, while making the games available to a much wider demographic. As I said, the cartridges would likely be a similar price point to the Classic Editions themselves, which wouldn't result in a loss of profit.

Although there is one other factor to consider: future Classic Editions. I've seen much speculation that the next Classic Edition will not be a N64 Mini, but rather, a re-released Gameboy Classic Edition. While I cannot say for certain, I agree this seems like a strong possibility.

There could be fear that, if the NES/SNES Classic Editions were released on Switch cartridges, they may impact the sale of future classic editions, be it a Gameboy/N64/Gamecube Classic, what have you, as people will eventually expect Switch versions of them as well. But once again, I find it unlikely that enough people would hold off on buying them that we would see hardware for the limited-edition Classic consoles stuck in stores. But as such, it may simply be prudent for Nintendo to wait for the possible supply of Classic Editions to be exhausted before bringing the games to Switch/etc (if they ever do).

1 comment:

  1. I must say however that I like each of the consoles separately. Especially for the fact that you can mod each classic console having the complete library on the NES classic edition and use an OTG cable and a bit of non-complex coding to add an external drive to the SNES classic to add the complete library to it as well. Keeping with your original fact however for non-modders, I agree that Nintendo could make a small killing coming out with individual switch games with the line of u games found on each classic console and maybe add a few more exclusives for switch users... Its a great idea and I'd probably buy them as well for the fact of further portability... great post :)

    Nintendo for the win :)