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TheStreet Open House

4 Pop Culture Classics That Beat Their Replacements

NEW YORK ( MainStreet) -- If loyal customers don't want a new version of your product, it doesn't mean they've fallen out of love with the item that lured them in in the first place.  

Coca-Cola learned this the hard way after introducing New Coke in the 1980s. Pro sports teams and their apparel sponsors practically invented the term "throwback" by padding merchandise revenue with high-priced remakes of old-school jerseys. Even car makers such as Ford (F), GM (GM) and Chrysler managed to keep muscle cars brawny during recent panics at the pump with vintage-style versions of the Mustang, Chevy Camaro and Dodge Charger.  

Just as Hasbro (HAS) still mines its Generation X fan base with anniversary edition releases of classic Transformers, G.I. Joe and My Little Pony toys, other industries are making a killing off recent nostalgia and tried-and-true business plans. We took a quick tour around the pop culture landscape and found four examples of original-recipe offerings that are either more popular with the new generation or outpacing its growth. They're not all as pricey or rare as fine wine, but they've all gotten better with age:  

Current: Nintendo Wii
Classic: Nintendo anything else  

It's been a tough couple of years for Nintendo after standing atop the video game industry for much of the late 2000s. Sales of its Nintendo Wii were hurt by price wars with Microsoft's (MSFT) Xbox 360 and Sony's (SNE) PlayStation 3, wounded when those systems mimicked or improved upon its trademark motion controls and nearly wiped out when Nintendo announced plans for its new Wii U console last year.  

Those flagging sales helped Nintendo post its first ever annual loss in April and put the company roughly $500 million in the red for fiscal 2011. Mario and company continued getting stomped in July, when Nintendo reported a $220 million quarterly loss that was preferable only to the $326.5 million loss it took during the same time last year.  

While Nintendo seems all too willing to bid farewell to the console once considered a wonder in dorm rooms and assisted-living facilities alike, the generations that grew up on Nintendo's older systems aren't willing to let them go so easily. Despite a virtual arcade that allowed Wii users to download games from its classic systems for less than $5 a pop, gamers who'd already shelled out for those titles in their youth weren't all so willing to do so again. Sites such as ThinkGeek began selling $50 third-party consoles that could play Nintendo Entertainment System and Super Nintendo games. Independent sellers such as J.J. Hendricks, owner of Englewood, Colo.-based JJGames, still make a living refurbishing old NES, SNES, Nintendo 64 and Gamecube games and consoles and sell forgotten favorites such as Konami's Zombies Ate My Neighbors and Taito's Bubble Bobble 2 for well over their original value.  

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