Nintendo has already revealed plans to bring back the NES Classic and SNES Classic systems in 2018, giving eager players the chance to snag one of the consoles after they quickly disappeared from shelves the first time around, but it looks like a third system could be joining them: The Nintendo 64 Classic.
A trademark application for the N64, filed by Nintendo and translated by the site Japanese Nintendo, includes information on game software, controllers, and the console. Though trademark applications are sometimes filed without a company planning to make use of them for a final product, the timing of this filing raises some eyebrows. E3 is only a few weeks away, and if Nintendo was waiting for an event to announce the plug-and-play system, it’s almost certainly its Nintendo Direct presentation that week.
We covered an almost identical story in July 2017, when Nintendo filed similar trademark applications in Europe. This was prior to the release of the SNES Classic, making it unlikely that Nintendo ever had any intention of releasing another console in 2017.
Fans have wasted no time in creating their own “Classic” systems while they wait for Nintendo to release official versions. YouTube personality “Nintendrew” recently created a functional Nintendo 64 Classic using a Raspberry Pi single-board computer, emulator software, and a 3D-printed case. The result looks almost as great as the real Nintendo 64, and with the ability to play more than 900 games with Bluetooth controllers, it could be more functional than Nintendo’s own system.
The Nintendo 64’s game library isn’t quite as acclaimed as the SNES or the NES, but it still has plenty of great titles to include on a hypothetical plug-and-play system. Early 3D games Super Mario 64 and The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time nearly perfected the genre before many other developers had even attempted to tackle it, and Star Fox 64 added a fresh coat of paint to one of the most promising games on the Super Nintendo. Plenty of classic sports games also hit the console, including Mario Tennis, Mario Golf, and the original Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater, and Pokémon Stadium allowed trainers to see their Game Boy characters up on the big screen for the first time with impressive visual effects.