Recent news of Nintendo releasing its NES Classic Edition has gamers excited to relive some of the old classics. While Virtual Console has been doing this since the Wii, this new console re-release is a fun, cheap, and even easier way to play old NES games. Not to mention, it’s great to have a replica of the old hardware. Its very reasonable price of $60 nets you the console, a controller, and 30 quality games. To break that down, it ends up being just $2 a game, which is a steal, especially considering Virtual Console NES games are priced at $5 a pop.
I personally have played most of these games a number of times so I’m not overly excited, but it’s such a good deal that I might have to purchase one anyway. It plugs right into an HDMI port and has all the games pre-loaded onto it. While its great price is certainly a selling point, its most exciting feature is how easy it is. Additionally, it’s good to play with an actual NES controller. Nintendo has made this release a no-brainer, which has me thinking that this could be the start of something new for retro gaming.
This is clearly not a new idea by any means, since the RetroN 5 was released 2 years ago, but it does seem to be the most well-executed. As we continue to progress through a digital and cloud storage age, playing games on disc and cartridge becomes increasingly irrelevant. The idea of simply plugging in and playing the NES Classic Edition is very appealing. It even looks identical to the original NES, except that it is drastically smaller in size. Additionally, every game will include save states, which makes game progression a little easier on the modern player.
Remastered and re-released games have been a subject of debate among gamers in recent years, with many companies coming out with HD Collections and things of that nature. Some fans love being able to replay old games on new consoles, while others feel it is a cash grab and a waste of developers’ resources, who could be spending time and energy on new products. Microsoft have taken both of these arguments into consideration and came out with backwards compatability last year for select Xbox 360 titles on the Xbox One.
Needless to say, backwards compatibility for Xbox was one of the most talked-about announcements at last year’s E3. Excitement brews every time a new batch of backwards compatible games are revealed by Microsoft. Most recently, Red Dead Redemption was added to the library and players went nuts for it as sales spiked. This just proves that the market for old games is still very much alive and well. It’s a great way to play games that you may have missed or simply to revisit something you once loved, but may have forgotten.
If backwards compatibility to the previous generation is so appealing to players, then the NES Classic Edition should be greatly successful. It appeals to the gaming community, who will find it to be an easy and fun way to play these games, but it also appeals to older “retired” gamers who jumped off the video game bandwagon in the early 90’s. People who grew up playing titles like Super Mario Bros., Donkey Kong, and The Legend of Zelda may not have kept up with video games as they evolved throughout the decades. A walk down NES memory lane may be of interest to them, which is why Nintendo could be successful in multiple markets.
Nintendo have set a new standard with the NES Classic Edition: a nostalgic and easy way to play classic games for a very low price. The appeal is certainly there for Nintendo to create a similar product for the SNES and N64, as well as other companies to take advantage of this idea. Hopefully we will see similar products that allow us to play PS1 and Sega Genesis games easily on HDTVs, with the classic console design and controller. It is a great way to enlighten people on the history of gaming without making them have to hunt down old hardware and games. I only hope Nintendo can expand upon the 30 games that they are offering with the NES Classic Edition and release some sort of new pack of games.