Video games have come a very long way since they first went mainstream in the 19070s, but the Next Generation and New Generation of high-definition gaming culture would not exist today without those early consoles and games.
And those early video game consoles and cartridges are a big business on their own. People collect them—for nostalgia—like baseball cards or coins. Trading and selling old-school video games—retro games, as they are called—can actually fetch a pretty penny.
For example, the critical and artistic smash Nintendo 64 hit “The Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time” could fetch about $25 right now (twice the value of five years ago). However, more sought-after games—like Nintendo’s “Earthbound”—can actually bring in hundreds of thousands of dollars (if in its original box).
According to Video Games Price Charting website owner JJ Hendricks the retro gaming market could be valued at roughly $200 million.
And its not just about collecting; some people are trading and buying retro games and systems because they miss not only the simple gameplay and blocky graphics, but they miss the cartridges as well.
Well, it seems that Nintendo is trying to tap into this nostalgia. Rumors are now circulating the market suggesting that Nintendo wants to go back to the old school cartridges; but not the same type of cartridges used in previous generations.
Advances in flash memory production have made cartridge media much closer to competing with the cost of optical discs used in gaming systems today (aka Blu-Ray). This means that not only could Nintendo develop game cartridges for its new system (codename: NX), but that these cartridges could be designed for both the home system and for a mobile system as well.
Optical drives are large and consume a lot of power but this is the industry standard today. However, Sony has found success with flash-based game cards in its Playstation Vita.
While much of this is still great speculation, the idea behind it could excite gamers at every level of engagement. Nintendo never tries to compete with Microsoft and Playstation, owning its quirky—and very loyal—niche market with pride. But this move could help to transform the industry yet again.