Nintendo files for N64 patent in Japan - is this the first sign of the N64 Mini?

After the highly successful launches of the SNES Classic Mini and Nintendo Classic Mini: NES, the N64 Classic Mini isn’t an if, it’s a when.

That when may be fast approaching as Nintendo Ltd., the main Japanese branch of Nintendo, has just applied for a trademark in Japan for ‘N64’. 

There could be a number of plausible reasons for this - Nintendo may very well be sitting on the name for sometime down the road - but, seeing as how "video game program, controller for game machine, joystick for video game machine, TV game machine" were all mentioned in the filing, it’s more than likely Nintendo could have an N64 Mini ready to unveil in the next few months. 

The filing in Japan follows a filing Nintendo put in with the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) in October of last year that patents the N64’s trademark trident controller design.  

It’s not all GoldenEyes and Rainbow Sixes 

The hitch with the N64 Mini that Nintendo would have to renegotiate some licenses with Rare (now owned by Microsoft) to secure some of the console’s best games. Rare was responsible for GoldenEye, Banjo-Kazooie and Conker’s Bad Fur Day - all of which helped make the system a success for slightly more mature gamers. 

Nintendo isn’t without first-party hits of its own on the N64, but pushing forward without the support of a major player like Rare could definitely pose some issues. 

That said, considering Nintendo’s E3 Digital Keynote - Nintendo's big unveiling at E3 2018 - is just a few weeks away, we won’t have to wait long to find out the fate of Nintendo’s most difficult mini project to date. 


Nick Pino

Nick Pino is Managing Editor, TV and AV for TechRadar's sister site, Tom's Guide. Previously, he was the Senior Editor of Home Entertainment at TechRadar, covering TVs, headphones, speakers, video games, VR and streaming devices. He's also written for GamesRadar+, Official Xbox Magazine, PC Gamer and other outlets over the last decade, and he has a degree in computer science he's not using if anyone wants it.