On the off chance that you haven’t heard, Nintendo released the NES Classic Edition last year, a miniature version of the console with 30 games pre-installed into it, and Nintendo just recently announced that there will also be a SNES Classic Edition coming out later this year. Of course, this begs the questions: Will there be a Nintendo 64 Classic Edition? What about a GameCube Classic Edition? Where does this end?
For one thing, for Nintendo to continue the Classic Edition trend means that each of their consoles they make Classic Editions for have to be old enough to be considered “classic.” Obviously, this is not an issue for the N64, so it seems plausible that we could see an N64 Classic Edition next year, assuming Nintendo wants to keep this a yearly thing. Lately, people have been talking about the GameCube like it’s a classic console. Will we get a GameCube Classic Edition in 2019? The console will be 17 years old by that point, so that actually seems reasonable as well. But then what? Is that the end of Classic Edition consoles? Or will the 14-year lifespan the Wii will have by 2020 be considered long enough to warrant a Wii Classic Edition? As we saw with the NES Classic Edition, there’s clearly a market for these Classic Editions, so it likely all depends on how far Nintendo wants to go.
More importantly than where it ends, however, is the logistics of it all. The NES Classic Edition was originally $60 and contained 30 games. SNES games are more technologically advanced, so it makes sense that the SNES Classic Edition will cost $80 and have 21 games. So what does this mean if Nintendo continues with Classic Editions? Will the N64 Classic Edition cost $100 and contain 10 games? Even then, that averages out to $10 per game, so that’s actually pretty good. Except that with tax, depending on where you live, it could be more like $110 and at that point you might as well just buy the games via Virtual Console where they’re already $10 each for N64 games anyway. But even if the N64 Classic Edition does happen, what about the GameCube Classic Edition? Will that be $120 with five games on it? This averages at $24 per game and GameCube games currently aren’t available via Virtual Console, so if Nintendo keeps it that way until 2019, a GameCube Classic Edition with that price point and that few games could actually be in demand. Trying to narrow down the GameCube’s entire library to just five games would definitely be a hassle, though. And you know there will be a lot of pissed off fans upset that their favorite GameCube game didn’t make it on the list. Plus, is it even worth it for Nintendo as a company to produce a console that can only play five games? I guess if it sells well then anything is justified, but will fans be able to justify buying a $120 console that only plays five games? If Nintendo can’t find a way to stuff a ton of games onto the GameCube Classic Edition, or even the N64 Classic Edition, it might not be worth it and we might see the end of the Classic Editions with the SNES Classic Edition this year.
But logistics aside, if there is to be a Nintendo 64 Classic Edition next year, what games could we expect to be on it? I think it’s probably safe to assume that the three games that would absolutely be on it are Super Mario 64, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time and Super Smash Bros. Other beloved N64 games that would seem likely to at least be in contention for a place on the N64 Classic Edition could be The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask, Mario Kart 64, GoldenEye 007, Star Fox 64, Banjo-Kazooie, Pokémon Snap, Pokémon Stadium, Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards, Paper Mario and Yoshi’s Story, among others. Games like GoldenEye 007 and Banjo-Kazooie could be tricky due to licensing issues, so if we cut out those two but keep the rest of the games we mentioned, it brings our total to 11 games, which is pretty close to the 10 we predicted in the previous paragraph and contains a pretty good list of N64 classics, particularly ones that belong to many beloved Nintendo franchises.
What about a GameCube Classic Edition? What games could be on that? It’s pretty difficult to say if we’re going to limit the list to just five games to fit with our prediction from earlier, but it gets a little easier if we give ourselves some leeway, say seven or eight games instead of five, and restrict ourselves to only games belonging to franchises that Nintendo owns. A potential GameCube Classic Edition game list could include Super Mario Sunshine, Luigi’s Mansion, Animal Crossing, Super Smash Bros. Melee, Metroid Prime, The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, Pikmin and Pokémon Colosseum. Obviously that’s leaving out a lot of GameCube games that a lot of people love, but I think this list of eight gives a decent mix of classic Nintendo franchises, such as Mario, Zelda, Metroid and Pokémon, while also including some franchises that were new at the time and ended up becoming classic Nintendo franchises, such as Pikmin and Animal Crossing. Would fans be willing to pay the $120 price we predicted earlier for a GameCube Classic Edition that contains just these eight games though? Yeah, probably. What if the price was increased to something like $150 to accommodate the fact that this list contains eight games instead of five like we stated before? I guess it’s up to each individual fan.
So what would be next? A discontinuation of the Classic Edition series? Or, following the pattern we noted earlier, a Wii Classic Edition for $140 with three games on it? That averages out to about $46.66 per game which, considering that many Wii games will be over a decade old by the Wii Classic Edition’s predicted release date of 2020, seems pretty ridiculous. Let’s just say that hypothetically Nintendo can somehow fit about ten games onto a Wii Classic Edition and still keep the price reasonable, just because I’m having fun with this. What Wii games would be included on this? Again, limiting ourselves to franchises owned by Nintendo, a Wii Classic Edition game list might look something like this: Super Mario Galaxy, The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Metroid Prime 3: Corruption, Kirby’s Epic Yarn, Super Mario Galaxy 2, The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, Super Paper Mario, Donkey Kong Country Returns and New Super Mario Bros. Wii. Kind of Mario-heavy, but what can I say? There are a lot of critically acclaimed Mario games. He’s Nintendo’s mascot for a reason.
I can’t see Nintendo doing a Wii U Classic Edition by 2021, not even ten years after its initial release (not to mention it is by far Nintendo’s worst-selling console, so they probably don’t have much of an incentive as a business to do a Classic Edition of it), so let’s skip that one. Could Nintendo start pumping out Classic Editions of their handheld consoles, though? GameBoy Classic Edition? The thing about that is that, particularly in the early days of handheld gaming, many games for handheld consoles were kind of just watered down versions of home console games, so other than Pokémon and the occasional Mario and Zelda, there may not be enough “classic” GameBoy games to justify a GameBoy Classic Edition. But maybe there are. What games would you want to see on a GameBoy Classic Edition? How about on a N64 Classic Edition, or any of the other consoles covered in this article? I think we can all agree, however, that Nintendo better be on top of SNES Classic Edition production this time around.