As we all know, there has been a continuing trend of re-releasing classic games for the current systems. However, I’ve had an idea pop in my head about companies such as Sega and Nintendo re-releasing not only their older games but also the machines that originally played the classic gems.
I’m sure this idea is a bit ahead of its time, but if the retrogaming market takes off like I believe it will over the next 5 to 10 years, this could be a profitable idea for a niche market. Retro collecting is already taking off in a big way over in Japan, and it’s only a matter of time until the market grows in the US, Europe, Australia, and elsewhere.
There are a few ways this idea could be worked out:
The first option could be a limited “anniversary edition” console that is, at its core, the same as its original counterpart. I’m sure these would be a big hit with the hardcore collectors that pay big money for rare consoles on eBay. It may have an updated paint job, or other accents. It may have updated sound and video outputs to offer better connections with the latest displays and AV recievers.
A second option would be to offer redesigned systems that are designed to be intergrated into a home theatre system. The only problem with this idea is that it will be competing with products such as HTPCs (Home Theatre PCs) and modded XBox’s that have been set up to play ROMs, ISOs, and discs. But I know for a fact that there are many classic gamers that would enjoy an updated console that will play their old carts and discs instead of an emulator that plays ROMs. With this setup, there is also the opportunity to include the guts from multiple systems. Imagine an official Sega-produced system that beautifully integrates the Genesis/Megadrive, Sega CD/Mega CD, 32, Saturn, and Dreamcast into one sleek, black box. (This could be a professional version of a project like this)
Controllers for these systems could be USB controllers much like the Saturn controller that Sega issued not too long ago. They could offer controllers that are exact replicas of the originals but with a USB interface. A USB adapter could also be so that gamers can use their existing controllers if they so desire. However the ultimate feature for me would be replica controllers with a wireless interface. I’m addicted to wireless controllers like the Nintendo Wavebird and Logitech’s XBox and PS2 controllers and would be incredibly in love with wireless retro controllers. (See these wireless Nintendo controllers for an example).
As flash memory prices are plummeting, it may also be a nice idea to have 256MB or so to store game saves. No more filling up the Sega CD’s or Saturn’s onboard memory or juggling Dreamcast VMUs for game saves 🙂 This idea, of course, takes a cue from the XBox’s hard drive feature. The only challege in this is have the system catch game saves and re-direct them to the flash memory instead of the system’s native game-saving mechanism.
My one final idea may be a little over-ambitious, but it would be great if some online capabilities could be offered. For games that offer multiplayer (especially Saturn Multitap games), the system could connect to other players on a designated server to join in on a game instead of players using additional controlers on your machine. This is similar to the Kaillera system that certain emulators use for multiplayer.
What this comes down to is giving classic game collectors a way to elegantly integrate their gaming collection into a modern home theatre setup and offering the luxuries that modern consoles offer.