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3 more ways Nintendo could mine my childhood

Commentary: Mini NES? Heck, Nintendo could do even better.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Nintendo is a company making nostalgia. The mini NES Classic Edition, available this week, just might just be the first step.

Nintendo's always celebrated its huge back catalog of franchise characters, but the NES Classic goes to another degree: it's a throwback box set of NES games. But you know it won't be the last.

In addition to next year's Nintendo Switch console/handheld tablet, which I'm sure will be packed with retro gaming options, I expect the mini NES to be the first of a series of novelty collector's items from Nintendo.

Oddly, I'm OK with that. I've used most of Nintendo's game systems, and I've said goodbye to a lot of games that I now regret not having. If I can get my hands on some retro fun and have it come in one instant-gratification self-contained package, why not?

So, if you're getting ready to buy a mini NES, prepare for these in the future (I hope):


Game Boy Micro could be reborn, and I'd be happy.

Scott Stein/CNET

Game Boy Micro Collection: Nintendo has made so many Game Boy handhelds, it's high time they re-released a throwback handheld with lots of games installed. Maybe an original Game Boy, but I'd suggest revisiting the Game Boy Micro. I found one in my office last week that still works, and it's amazing how tiny and fun the system still is. Pack 20 great Game Boy Advance ($68 at Amazon) games on it (like Advance Wars, Metroid Fusion, Pokemon Ruby/Sapphire and WarioWare, Inc.: Mega Microgame$!), and Nintendo could just pull the money out of my pocket.

Mini SNES: The Super Nintendo Entertainment System debuted in 1990. It may not have the instantly iconic reputation as the original NES, but it had far better games like Super Mario World, Super Metroid, F-Zero, Pilotwings, The Legend of Zelda: A Link To The Past and Super Mario Kart. This is the system you'd want to play for hours and hours. And, come on, Sega did this years ago with the Genesis Classic all-in-one console. This is easy.

Mini N64. Nintendo's revolutionary 3D graphics on the Nintendo 64, which debuted in 1996, blew people's minds. N64 games have been available on the Nintendo 3DS ($140 at Amazon) in card and downloadable form, as well as on the Wii and Wii U ($145 at Amazon) Virtual Console. Super Mario 64, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Mario Kart 64 and Star Fox 64...just make it happen. It could be a tiny box, and then maybe include shrunken-down versions of those bizarre triple-pronged N64 controllers.

Or, just release these games on mobile. The option to have these games playable on iOS or Android, like most classic games already are, feels long overdue. Sega's done a killer job with mobile ports of the original Sonic games. Nintendo's already got two feet into the mobile game world with the already-released Miitomo, is indirectly involved with Pokemon Go and even has its flagship Super Mario franchise hopping into a mobile game in December. There's always room for more.

Now playing: Watch this: Nintendo Classic Edition, hands-on: the Mini NES we always...