Nintendo has just filed a fascinating new set of trademarks for multiple controllers. Among them is the Nintendo Switch controller, which isn't out of the ordinary, but the rest of the controller trademarks all have to do with Classic Edition consoles. Well, most of them. The three other filings are for 'SNES controller,' 'NES controller,' and 'Nintendo 64 Controller.' Two out of those three retro systems have known Classic Edition counterparts, and the third... Well, we think it could be on the way.
The image above accompanied the trademark filing, which was otherwise filled with some legal jargon: "Consumer video game apparatus; Parts and accessories for consumer video game apparatus; Controllers and joysticks for consumer video game apparatus; Cases for controllers for consumer video game apparatus; Protective films for controller of consumer video game apparatus; Arcade video game machines..." So forth and so on. They say the word "apparatus" at least six more times, you're not missing much.
It does seem strange to us that Nintendo would do this out of the blue, unless it was planning on releasing some kind of N64 controller made for the Virtual Console, but then, we've had N64 games on multiple Nintendo consoles in the past with no sign of an N64 controller -- regular Wii / Wii U / Switch controllers would work perfectly fine for those games.
No, we think this is for something different. How likely is a Nintendo 64 Classic Edition? We could see why it makes perfect sense, and also why it'd be pretty difficult and unlikely.
It makes sense because Classic consoles now have a proven track record
On one hand, we can see Nintendo branching out eventually with a Nintendo 64 Classic Edition because the NES Classic did tremendously well, and the Super NES Classic has already driven unprecedented levels of hype. We can't pre-order them yet here in the US, but elsewhere in the world pre-orders are long gone. This thing is going to be just as successful as its predecessor, and Nintendo definitely picked up on the pattern here. We love retro games.
When the NES Classic came out, everyone talked about what they'd want in a SNES Classic. Now that the SNES Classic is happening, we all speculate about what we'd want to see in an N64 Classic, and it just seems like the next logical step.
There are a few hangups, though, and some things that you might not be considering.prevnext
An N64 Classic would be expensive
A Nintendo 64 Classic Edition would be more costly to produce, and more expensive for consumers. The Nintendo 64 has a very unique architecture, which makes it difficult to emulate. It's not like Nintendo could toss in the same boards they used in the NES Classic and call it a day; for optimum performance, upscaling, and added features, we'd need a more powerful box. Nothing extraordinary by modern standards, of course, but powerful enough to drive up the cost of production.
Additionally, N64 games are going to be worth more in Nintendo's eyes. They cost more than SNES or NES games on the Virtual Console service, and so an N64 pre-loaded with 20 or so games would very likely cost in excess of $100 or even $150. We saw a little price jump between the NES Classic and SNES Classic, and there would in all likelihood be a much bigger jump up to the N64 classic.prevnext