We all know that the NES Classic Edition, often dubbed the NES mini, was the big hit of the holiday season. They became worth their weight in gold (they don’t weigh much) and were very much a rarity due to Nintendo not being able to keep them in stock. To Nintendo’s defense, they didn’t know whether this holiday novelty would become a success, let alone sell more than 1.5 million units in 4 months. To put into perspective, their last-gen console, the Wii U, sold 13 million units over 4 YEARS.
Recently, Nintendo made the controversial decision to stop production of the console, despite its overwhelming success. This led many fans to ponder whether this means that they are working on something new, and better. Not too much thought went into the NES Classic, mostly because it was a cheap little system that adults could buy just for the nostalgia. But some fans began to wonder if they were going to do one generation down the line. The Super Nintendo had a ton of awesome titles that seemed ages ahead of the NES. The thing with the NES Classic was that not many people actually bought it to play it, no matter what they might tell you. It was more of a novelty collector’s item. It had some great games on it, like Zelda or Super Mario Bros 3, but a lot of the games are a little hard to play today. However, the SNES doesn’t have this problem. A lot of the games for the Super Nintendo could totally pass as good indie titles today. Multiplayer games like Pocky and Rocky, Mario Kart, or Secret of Mana are a lot of fun to play with friends, and even today it wouldn’t be unusual to see some friends rocking some of these games.
Some were skeptical that Nintendo would create a mini version of the SNES. After all, it’s a bit harder to emulate and would definitely need to have more thought poured into it. It may anger fans, but I would expect an SNES Classic to cost upwards of $100. This wouldn’t be unreasonable, in my opinion. A mini Super Nintendo is no novelty, and may even see a permanent spot on shelves, unlike the NES.
So after much speculation by fans and otherwise, Eurogamer released a report claiming that a source close to Nintendo has confirmed the upcoming SNES console. So if this is true, what does Nintendo need to do to create the ultimate emulation console? Keep reading to find out what I think about this.
1. Stock up on consoles
Nintendo’s only real problem with the NES Classic was that they truly could not keep up with the demand. The immediate support for the mini console was overwhelming for them, as they had not produced enough to last more than the holiday season. It really exceeded their wildest expectations. It is still odd that they discontinued the NES Classic despite still having a ton of support, but it ultimately makes sense if they are really putting an SNES Classic Edition into production. I would expect the mini Super Nintendo to double the sales of the NES, but they should, at the very least, be prepared for a million consoles sold. Fans would much rather they have too much stock than too little.
2. Allow for more games to be installed or bought
While we can’t have full-sized SNES carts available for the mini version of the console, Nintendo should find out some way to allow people to download more games to the system, or even some sort of physical “cartridge” type things to purchase. It would probably help them earn money if each SNES Mini came loaded with ~10 games or so, then allowed more to be purchased. Now, their way to sell these games is up for consideration. While they could include WiFi and a little online game store, that would be a bit of work for them. I think it would be awesome, but the extra unnecessary space that would be taken up might be a big con. Another option would be to develop some SD card based storage devices to hold games. I mean, nowadays, you can fit some 5,000 SNES games on a card the size of your fingernail, so it wouldn’t be hard for them to sell cartridges with a few games packaged together on them. Of course, it wouldn’t be ideal for Nintendo or fans. First of all, fans would not be exactly thrilled to have a bunch of tiny cards to keep track of. One thing that Nintendo could do to combat this would be to sell the cards housed in mini SNES cartridges and allow them to be top-loaded just like the original console. Fans would be delighted. Of course, either way, Nintendo would have to take the risk that someone could easily figure out how to hack the console or one of the carts to store a bunch of games on them. There are ways for Nintendo to make this harder, starting with not allowing data transfer through the charging cable. The NES Mini was hacked to store every single NES game to have existed just by plugging the thing into a PC. Hopefully Nintendo will not allow extra space on the console, which shouldn’t be as hard as on the NES Mini. SNES games take up more space than NES games, so in the same space that you could fit hundreds of NES games you could fit a few SNES games.
3. Include the original controller ports
The NES Classic, instead of just letting users plug their normal NES controllers in, had the controller ports found on some of their newer consoles, like the Wii. This meant that you either had to buy the infamously short-cabled NES Classic controllers, or go 3rd party, potentially losing the retro Nintendo charm. If the SNES Mini would just allow normal SNES controllers to be plugged in, everyone would be happy. Wii users can just go cry in the corner if it makes them feel better, but I really need those SNES ports. If they don’t want to include the original controller ports, then fine. They should at least
4. Manufacture controllers with longer cords/ no cords
While wireless controllers would kind of take away the charm of the system, they need to find some way to allow people to be sitting more than a meter away from the screen. Sure, it works perfectly if the NES Classic is a part of a desktop set up, but there were definitely some people who had the couch in mind, sometimes needing to be 3 or more meters away from the screen. Of course, some would not appreciate having a 10 foot long cord across the length of the floor, but that is a risk they would have to take. Of course, the alternative would be to have bluetooth or some other sort of wireless solution. The problem with this would be that the charm of the original controller may disappear. While the NES Classic’s controller was an exact replica, they would have to make some changes in size and other factors to accommodate for the wireless. Some 3rd party developers created wireless adapters for the NES Classic paired with their own wireless NES controller replicas. This was an okay solution, but fans would much rather see Nintendo, a more trustworthy first party, manufacturing these kind of accessories.
5. Plan to sell the console for at least a year
As we all know at this point, the NES Classic was discontinued after less than half a year. This is fine, especially considering that the device wasn’t even expected to last that long in Nintendo’s eyes. But now that they do know the market and they do know that people are going to want to buy it, they need to plan for the console to be out for a year, more if possible. The Atari Flashback and Sega Genesis Classic consoles have been out for a long time, though they did not see the same sales that Nintendo have experienced. This goes hand in hand with my first point, which was that they need to be producing a lot more of the SNES Classic than the NES Classic. They were severely under stocked, leaving many customers frustrated. They need this one to be manufactured and sold for much longer than the NES Classic Edition if they want to keep fans happy. That way, once the initial hype has died down, people can actually buy the console in stores instead of having to resort to buying it for hundreds of bucks off of eBay. Nintendo can’t just sell this as a novelty holiday item or a stocking stuffer this time, they need to know that everyone is going to want it, probably many more than the NES Classic Edition.
So those are my thoughts. What do you think Nintendo needs to change to make the SNES a painless success?