Considering the Nintendo 64 is a twenty-year-old console, the title of this piece may seem odd. However, I personally think there is a potential future for the N64's hardware and software. We are currently in an important period for the console – 2016 and 2017 mark its twentieth birthday, depending on where you are in the world – and we have already seen a wave of nostalgia from retro gamers celebrating this landmark back in June, the anniversary of its Japanese release.
And although not a renowned success when it was Nintendo's lead console, the N64's popularity has endured well into the twenty-first century: prices of original games continue to increase, 3DS remakes have sold well, and speed runners continue to set new records with the likes of Ocarina of Time and Super Mario 64.
Therefore, I believe, if Nintendo wanted to, there's space in the retro market to further utilise the Nintendo 64 for financial gain. Let's take a look at what I feel are some of Nintendo's options:
1. N64 Classic Mini
The recently-revealed NES Classic Mini looks to be a winner this Christmas so it only makes financial sense to extend it to more of its past consoles. Obviously, it's more likely a SNES Classic Mini would come first but a N64 version in 2018 would be very popular in the mainstream market because it had some instantly memorable games such as Super Mario 64 and Mario Kart 64. In fact, I've previously predicted thirty games I think would be on it. Check out my thirty here and see if you agree.
2. N64 Replay for NX
Rare Replay for Xbox One was successful and had people reliving classic games from all past eras, including N64 games such as Conker's Bad Fur Day. Nintendo could do their own similar release for NX early in the console's lifespan for the retro market. It could have exclusively N64 titles or include some classics in a multi-era release, the same as Rare. Either way, we think it'd be a hit.
3. More HD Remasters
Wind Waker and Twilight Princess have been successful HD remakes for the Wii U so why couldn't the Wii U or NX play host to some N64 HD remakes? Super Mario 64 would be a top candidate for this treatment but then Nintendo could surprise everyone with a Wave Race 64 revamp or 1080 Snowboarding in HD. Remakes are proving successful so it's quite obvious a N64 one would do well.
4. N64 Sequels for NX?
The N64 had so many great games that we never got a sequel for. With the NX's supposed handheld capabilities, this could be the perfect console to revive some long-lost IPs or spin-offs. Examples include Body Harvest, Mischief Makers, Rocket: Robot on Wheels, Pokemon Snap and Pilotwings 64.
5. Long Overdue Re-Releases
The Wii, Wii U and 3DS have hosted re-releases of many a good N64 game along with Microsoft's consoles that have played host to some Rare games. However, there are too many N64 games that haven't had a re-release for one reason or another.
Some companies need to get their act together and collaborate for the benefit of the consumer. The two Bond games, GoldenEye 007 and TWINE, are prime examples of great N64 experiences that cannot get a re-release at the moment. This could help see a revived interest in the N64 library.
Plenty of retro gamers and publications celebrated the N64's 20th anniversary back in June. However, Nintendo themselves have not marked in occasion in any worthwhile way. With further anniversaries in November (the US release date) and March (Europe) coming up, it would be fitting for Nintendo to acknowledge a revolutionary console in its history in at least one of the ways we've outlined.
What else could be done with the N64 in the future? Comment below or tweet your ideas using the hashtag #N64Memories