Could NES-Style Cartridges Make A Comeback?

Could NES-Style Cartridges Make A Comeback?

If you’ve been to a shopping mall within the last few years—and I suspect that you have—you’ve probably come across one of those classic gaming kiosks. They’re usually heavily stocked with overpriced nostalgia in the form of NES, SNES and Genesis cartridges. And even though I’m fully aware that I tend to shell out more money at these places than I should be comfortable with, sometimes I can’t help myself.

And I’m not the only one. I can’t keep these kiosks in business by myself, so the market for nostalgic gaming obviously exists.

But yesterday, Game Informer ‘s Andy Reiner brought up an interesting question on Twitter; is it possible for NES-style cartridges to make a comeback?

In his tweet, Reiner qualified his question by saying, “If vinyl records can make a comeback, how about NES cartridges?”

Now, I’m not sure that I’d agree with Reiner on the vinyl bit. There’s definitely a market for vinyl, but it’s incredibly small. In fact, it must be significantly smaller than the classical console market, considering that there are no vinyl record kiosks near my mall’s food court. (That counts as real evidence, right?)

But, as long as people like me are willing to shell out a few bucks on an NES cart, the potential exists for a cartridge comeback. Plus a slew of third-party manufactures have released throwback systems that play NES, SNES, and Genesis carts. And both SEGA and Atari have released all-in-one systems that come with a pre-installed collection of games. The real question is whether or not Nintendo would jump on board.

Probably not.

Nintendo, after all, has their hands pretty full with four successful systems and has no real need to throw time and money into an outdated piece of hardware. That kind of behavior is reserved for developers like SEGA and Atari, who are trying to squeeze every last dime out of their formerly popular products.

Could NES-Style Cartridges Make A Comeback?

But Nintendo has never been shy about paying homage to the past. (Have you played the most recent Super Mario Bros. title? It’s basically Super Mario Bros. 3: The Sequel.) So, I wouldn’t rule it out.

However—and this is the worst part—there’s probably very little chance that Nintendo would launch a cart-based Mario or Zelda title. The market is just way too small to justify the expense, and I certainly wouldn’t be able to buy enough copies to make it worth their while. (Though I’d probably try.) Plus, the development tools on the NES are far different that those on the Wii, Wii U, DS, or 3DS. So, they’d have to retrain their devs to use 20-year-old tech in order to make what is essentially a novelty title.

So, as much as I would like to see a new Mario title released on the NES, I’m not crossing my fingers.

Just kidding. They’re totally crossed.

Josh Engen
News Director
Date: December 4, 2012

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