The past week has seen a few big announcements from Nintendo surrounding the company’s back catalogue of video games. First, Nintendo stated that they wouldn’t be giving the world a Virtual Console on the Switch, and now, it’s been announced that the NES Classic Mini is returning to production.
I can’t help but suspect that these two points are connected somehow. As if someone at Nintendo has realized that they can make more money by forcing fans to buy 20 or 30 retro games bundled together with some cheap hardware, than they ever would by allowing these games to release on the Switch.
The NES Classic Mini proved phenomenally popular during its very short initial production run. It was clear that Nintendo didn’t fully anticipate just how eager gamers were for this kind of small nostalgic games system. Stock shortages drove up scalper prices, meaning that many hardcore fans never actually got to see a NES Classic in real life.
Now, the device is returning, in larger part because of just how popular it proved upon its initial release.
Here’s the thing, though: you shouldn’t buy one.
(Supposing you can actually find one, that is.)
Nintendo’s business practices here are a little shady to say the least. The company has created demand by artificially limiting their stock, and now they’re going to reap the rewards as they throw the doors open for many more fans to get their hands on the device.
This is manipulative and cruel, and it shows how little Nintendo really cares for its most loyal fans.
Vote With Your Wallet
By rushing out to buy a NES Classic, you’re completely acquiescing to Nintendo’s mind-games, and all you’re left with is a hunk of plastic that plays a few games you wouldn’t have bought under any other circumstances.
Let’s face the truth: many of the games that come bundled with the NES Classic are a bit crap.
Sure, there’s “Super Mario Bros”, “The Legend of Zelda”, and “Megaman”. But there’s also stuff like “Balloon Fight” and “Ice Climbers” that nobody would ever want to purchase if it weren’t rolled into a big collection.
I’d argue that if you’re going for one of these consoles, the SNES Classic is the far superior choice anyway, as you can spend more than ten minutes with any of the games without getting bored or developing a headache.
Additionally, it’s important to remember that every purchase of the NES Classic is more proof to Nintendo that they can make more money with bundled nostalgia hardware than they can by releasing these retro games on the Switch.
Last week I wrote about how it’s for the best that we won’t get retro games on Nintendo’s latest, greatest system. If I may point out one flaw in my own argument, it’s the GameCube era titles.
Many fans are eager to play games like “Luigi’s Mansion” and “Chibi Robo” on a portable device.
Personally, I’d rather see Nintendo release their GameCube library on the Switch, than see them release a GameCube Classic Mini in a couple of years’ time.
Based on current trends, though, I know which of these options will make the company more money, and I can suspect which direction they’ll be eager to take.