Nintendo, flush from the success of its new Pokémon Go mobile game, will soon be releasing a smaller version of its original Nintendo Entertainment System, hoping to draw nostalgic gamers back to the worlds of Donkey Kong and Pac-Man while introducing younger generations to old favourites.
The NES Classic Edition is a mini replica of the company’s first console, which was released in the US in 1985 and became an instant hit.
The original device revived in-home gaming and housed some of Nintendo’s most iconic titles including Super Mario Bros and The Legend of Zelda.
Just as Pokémon Go brought together players who were familiar with the role-playing game on Nintendo’s Game Boy device from 1996 with a new generation of kids, the NES also seeks to capitalise on nostalgia.
“We wanted to give fans of all ages the opportunity to revisit Nintendo’s original system and rediscover why they fell in love with Nintendo in the first place,” said Reggie Fils-Aime, Nintendo of America president and chief operating officer, in a statement.
The palm-sized grey box connects directly to the TV via an HDMI cable and comes with 30 classic games built in. The device will be introduced in stores on 11 November at a suggested retail price of US$59,99 (about R850 at the time of writing), according to Nintendo.
The company may be on to something with its “back to the future” strategy. A limited release of Pokémon Go shot Nintendo stock to an all-time high this week, rising 25% in Japan on Monday and bringing gains this year to 51%.
The app takes the well-known world of Pokémon and incorporates augmented reality, sending users to catch Pokémon in their own backyards and beyond.
The game already has people spending more time on it than they devote to Snapchat or WhatsApp, and is poised to overtake Twitter in the number of daily active users, according to data from SimilarWeb.
Fans responded to the news about the NES on social media with lots of exclamation points. Alyssa Menes said on Twitter: “Mini NES looks awesome! I would totally get one.” Anna Hullum said: “!!!!! I need 4 of these STAT”
Still, there was at least one voice of scepticism. Nintendostar tweeted: “I don’t know how to feel about this. It’s cool that the NES is coming back, but it looks like a toaster.” — (c) 2016 Bloomberg LP