Where Nintendo 64s Go To Die
If you're an avid thrift store shopper, you may have noticed that Nintendo 64s are cheap and plentiful these days. They're usually incomplete and with busted controllers, but that's not surprising from a thrift store console that's more that ten years old. I figured the only place I'd see an N64 (besides my closet) would be thrift stores and collector's shops. I never expected to see one in a hotel room in Florida last week.
In my modest little hotel room, perched atop the TV was that unmistakable shape of an N64 controller. Atop the controller was a disinfecting wet-nap - which is just all kinds of weird. Ignoring that, I recalled that I'd seen these specially branded LodgeNet controllers before at hotels. You can used the wired controller to dial up channels, order movies, or pay an exorbitant $7 an hour to play decade-old games in your room.
I like classic games (even recent classics), and they picked some honeys for the N64 experience according to the on-screen interactive menu, but it felt weird to have this system still in play today. Any kid who might be interested in playing some games would likely turn up their nose at a system that's two generations behind. Besides, they would have packed their portable DS or PSP for the trip. Add to that the high cost, and I can see a scenario where perhaps barely anyone has ordered a game in their room in months or years.
In doing a bit of homework, LodgeNet has been doing this a long time. They had a special SNES setup for hotel rooms as well as more recent Game Cube titles. The special controller is only designed to work with their system, so there's no point in stealing it - though many collectors seem to have braved the $29.95 room charge for the chance to add an unusual, and unusually outmoded, game controller to their collection.
I guess that even Nintendo 64s dream of going to Florida to retire.