I shouldn’t be surprised. I shouldn’t be disappointed. This is Nintendo. This is what they do. This is what they will always do.
Nintendo announced yesterday, as we all know, that they are releasing a new mini-NES console, pre-loaded with 30 classic games. Naturally, I was stoked. Most people were stoked. Many people still are stoked. I, however, am now thoroughly not stoked.
According to a follow-up report by Jason Schreier, Nintendo has confirmed that the console will not connect to the internet, thus making it impossible for additional games to come to it in the future. (Also, the cartridge slot doesn’t open, but that seemed obvious from the get-go. I mean... look at the picture...)
Now, for $60 bucks, I certainly won’t argue against this being a bargain. In fact, its a downright steal. However, I simply cannot wrap my head around why, in Mario’s name, they would limit both themselves, and the gamers, when they have such a potentially massive opportunity to change the backwards compatibility game forever!
Doesn’t Nintendo have anybody over there, presumably with some authority, who understands the current gaming landscape? Someone to say: “Hey guys, what if we manufactured a cheap NES system that connects to the internet, with virtually the entire NES catalogue available for purchase? We could charge a clean $100 for it. Yeah, I know... good idea, right?!”
Yes, hypothetical Nintendo employee with some level of authority! That is a good idea! I, for one, would gladly fork over one hundred big ones for an NES that could download NES games. While taking my hard-earned cash, Nintendo would also be winning me back.
But noooooo! That is not how Nintendo works! Nintendo does what Nintendo wants to do! And Nintendo doesn’t want to give us all the NES games (licensing issues aside, etc.) Nintendo only wants to give us thirty. Nintendo doesn’t want to let us connect to the internet (what year are we in?!). Nintendo wants to keep us offline. Nintendo doesn’t want to make logical business decisions in the home console space. Nintendo wants to keep doing things their own way, regardless of how much profit is left on the table. Nin-ten-do! Nin-ten-do!!
Honestly, what is going on over there? Is it really so difficult to launch a mini-NES — followed by a mini-SNES, and mini-N64 — which opens up, via the glorious power of the internet, the vast majority of games from its catalogue? And — I know this might be getting a bit too crazy for Nintendo — have it connect to a network, where gamers could potentially earn achievements/trophies, share experiences, stream... download content?! It is that impossible to create a unified platform?! Is that really too much to ask, in the year 2016?!
Nintendo, once again, has failed me. They have failed their fans. They have failed gamers. They simply cannot manufacture a legitimate piece of hardware — capable of connecting to the internet and opening up their storied history to a new generation of gamers. They can only create a toy, with thirty classics (true classics, at least) pre-loaded. What a massive, massive disappointment! Nintendo, you have pushed me even further away, and given me even less faith in your future.
What do you think? Am I blowing this out of proportion, or do you agree that Nintendo is blowing a massive opportunity? Can you honestly say that you prefer this NES Classic Mini to one that, for an extra $20-$40, has a minimal hard-drive and connects to the internet? (I mean, how can they keep doing this?!) Tweet @Shasdam and let me know in the comments!
Until next time, remember to never get too excited about anything Nintendo does in the hardware space.
Adam lives in Budapest, where he studies the Comparative History of Central, Eastern and Southeastern Europe, while also privately teaching English to businesses and individuals. He’s a pretty hardcore Sony fanboy, but remembers fondly his Nintendo roots. He can be reached @Shasdam.