I can't speak for everyone, but I for one dreamed of making Nintendo games when I was a kid. And making a homebrew title sounds like a lot of fun and all, but getting that official endorsement would make that dream so much more real.
Sounds to me like this "approval" is more about getting confirmation from some sort of "authority" figure. Kind of like a teacher giving you a star sticker and pat on the shoulder, saying "good job kid!"
But the problem is that this authority doesn't exist. Or rather, they could under any normal circumstances not care less about people who for inexplicable reasons are wanting to pitch them a game for a video game system they stopped supporting generations ago. Because the authority is not a school teacher, but a business. And in business, everything needs to have business value... and you'd be hard-pressed to find any in NES homebrew, outside of crowdfunding campaigns specifically targeting a niche market of retro gamers.
And frankly speaking, to most people in this world, the "I want a big corporation to give me their badge of recommendation for my effort to make a game for a system they discontinued more than 30 years ago" is more in the realm of something you need counseling for.
I know that sounds harsh, and I don't want to make it sound like it's wrong to have a "weirdo hobby" by any means. But my point is that's what the whole thing looks at once you step outside the niche homebrew community and into the world of big corporations where things need to make business sense.
There is an option though if you're looking for that affirmation: Joe of NESMaker fame hosts annual competitions for games made with NESMaker. Some entries from last year were actually quite good games I really enjoyed. And last year he even managed to get Howards Phillips from NOA to judge the competition entries:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_cont ... e=emb_logo
That's probably as close as anyone can get to getting an "approval" from a veteran who at least played a major role in Nintendo's history - the guy reportedly had quite a lot to say about which games ended up going outside Japan back in the day. And it's actually really cute to see people who just recently started their dream of making a game for their childhood video console get that sort of validation from an old NOA figure, and I commend Joe for making it happen.
And as for Joe himself, you gotta admit that whatever criticism people throw at him in other threads, he does play the part of being an authority figure for nesdev newcomers really well. And encouragement of his followers/customers plays no small part in that.
So that's possibly a route if you are really in need of that positive feedback. You'd obviously have to use Joe's software though... but if you really need to have a figure of authority give you that fuzzy feeling that you've done well, then I honestly think that's the way to go. You might also find the community of newcomers to nesdev homebrewers using NESMaker to be a bit more enthusiastic about a lot of things (crazy licensing pursuits included) than the more-knowledgeable-but-also-more-cynical-bunch over here...
Maybe you didn't see what was going on with the Atari before the NES came around, but that market crash was very real. It wasn't some scheme to keep people under control, it was a plan to make selling games viable.
Indeed, I was too young to see it. And what's more: the videogame crash was mostly a US-only thing. In Europe, the gaming market was more diverse, with the NES being just one of many consoles / computers used for gaming at the time.
But sure, there is certainly an argument to be made that the stricter quality control had a positive effect for customers who only had boxart to go on. But I think (independent) game magazine reviews could manage that just as well - and there were no shortage of those in European countries either. Word of mouth among schoolkids plays a good part as well.
And yeah, with my non-american perspective I do struggle with the old "Nintendo saved the videogame industry" cliche. Especially when the business reasons for doing so had IMHO much less to do with maintaining quality, and more with abuse of Power...
Also, blackmail is a strong claim. Do you have anything to back that up?
I thought it was common knowledge that stores which sold unlicensed games (Color Dreams etc) would risk having supply shortages, as Nintendo controlled all the distribution. Here's an old random article touching on the subject - where a federal court actually did rule in Nintendo's favor: https://nintendotimes.com/1990/03/17/re ... ndo-games/
It's not controversial to bring it up, and you can argue either side. And call it what you want - I'm choosing a candid wording.
Another funny story is that IIRC (from sources I can't be arsed to look up at the moment) as soon as Color Dreams switched focus to making christian-themed games, Nintendo were less inclined to fight - possibly to keep their image public image in the bible belt I've been told. Not that anyone cared much for those games anyhow...
But at the end of the day, it was a business practice that kept them very successful for many years, that's also impossible to deny.