Nintendo feigned surprise in 2016 when people flooded the internet with complaints about the limited supply of NES Classic consoles. The company ended production after giving everyone a taste of retro goodness, and it didn’t sit well. Nintendo came back with more NES units and the SNES Classic Edition. The stage seemed set for the Nintendo 64 classic, but don’t hold your breath. Nintendo of America CEO Reggie Fils-Aimé says the company has no plans to release that device.
The NES Classic was the must-have holiday gift in 2016 with unopened units going for hundreds of dollars above the $ 60 retail price. The device came with a set of 30 built-in games, and it was tiny compared with the original hardware. Gamers and modders quickly embraced the device, playing the included games and hacking the firmware to install more of them. The SNES Classic came along in 2017 with 21 games, including the never-before-released Star Fox 2. It was a little more expensive at $ 80, but it still flew off shelves.
According to Fils-Aimé, those consoles were intended as a limited-run — one-off devices that do not dictate Nintendo’s strategy going forward. Maybe Nintendo thought it would be able to get away with just releasing the NES Classic for a few months that first time and moving on to its long-awaited subscription service, but I don’t believe that. Reggie Fils-Aimé says that Nintendo wants to focus on its subscription service.
With the Launch of Switch Online several months ago, gamers got access to an all-in-one classic game platform that included a few dozen NES titles. Fils-Aimé’s statement could be read to suggest that games from other Nintendo consoles will come to the subscription service soon. That doesn’t help you right now, though.
Nintendo has been cracking down on ROM sites lately, securing a $ 12 million settlement against the owners of two popular sites. This has led to some other sites to remove Nintendo ROMs lest they become the next target.
Even if Nintendo released an N64 Classic, it might not be what you really want. Some of the most popular games on the system like Goldeneye, Banjo-Kazooie, and Donkey Kong 64 were developed in partnership with Rare, which was acquired by Microsoft in 2002. It’s unlikely Nintendo would be able to license those games for a reasonable amount of money. If you want to play Nintendo 64 games legally right now, you’ll just have to find a working 20-year-old console.
Now read: The PlayStation Classic Lacks a Number of Games We Were Hoping for, Everything You Need to Know About Nintendo Switch Online, and Nintendo Deletes Switch Cloud Saves if Your Subscription Lapses