Nintendo NES Classic Mini: The hype train keeps on chugging

There’s nothing I love more than seeing people rekindle their love with the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) or people experiencing it for the first time. The NES was released in 1985 following the success of the Famicom in Japan in 1983. The console launched with titles such as Super Mario Bros. and Duck Hunt which would go on to be well associated with the console. 30+ years later we see a console old and new with 30 ‘classic’ games on it. You’d think I would be over the moon…is all what it seems?

Nintendo don’t half know how to force retro onto us as they remaster there games or transport them onto each console one way or another. This can turn people away from the big N as they are still riding on the same old titles…then again HD remasters on modern consoles is practically the same. It is an easy money making ordeal as people loved the NES and giving people the opportunity to play it in an ‘easier’ way is appetising. I can see this leading the way for other retro inspirations. We have also seen a Mega Drive replica brought into stores but this was not made by Sega. So…

What is the new ‘NES Classic Mini’?

Well it is a new usb console with HDMI input and 720p playback. Oh yeah it also looks like a NES but smaller than your average large phone. The console comes with one NES controller replica which indeed looks exactly like the original in every shape and form besides one little tiny baby thing…the lead is so so short, a lot shorter than the original. You will have to bring your TV a hell of a lot more forward or push your sofa in the opposite direction if you want that chilled out feeling. The console only comes with one controller and to get another you will have to pay out. You cannot connect an old NES controller due to them both having different inputs.

You can play the games on the console in three different formats which include CRT and 4:3 as well as your more modern picture. The gameplay is nice and is a decent move-on from the Wii U which will no doubt have more ease when playing as less buttons and less space. My personal favourite is the CRT due to its authentic original feel of NES gameplay like an original vinyl making that crisp sound as it starts playing. The console features 30 games that Nintendo deems ‘classic’ which are by majority, their titles. This is understandable due to ownage rights and the amount that it would cost to pay companies for such games.

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This does leave a bit of disappointment that I cannot play DuckTales or any other classic Capcom Disney titles or even Batman or Warner Bros. titles. We could spend hours debating what should and shouldn’t be on the console. A couple we could debate is that we have Castlevania II: Simon’s Quest but not many sequels for other games and there is Super C and not Contra or the first Double Dragon. We have Bubble Bobble, Dr. Mario and Pacman but we have no Tetris…which was a phenomenal game on the system.

What else do we have that’s abscent? Jackal, Ice Hockey and TMNT as a couple. Battletoads is liscenced under Rare for Microsoft so that is written off. However, at the end of the day the list that we do have has some impressive games. It leaves open the question that if they released a second would it just be full of sequels to Castlevania and Mega Man series’. This idea then makes it seem that the next format we will have will probably be (hopefully) a Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES) model. Maybe we could just get a console full of some god awful NES titles.

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The possibilities of modern gaming and the amount of NES titles on the Wii U Virtual Console leave further questions to why there aren’t more than 30 titles on the console. The idea of usb support is obvious as to why such adding of games would not be done to Nintendo because who knows what roms and hacks would be added, and we couldn’t possibly have that. Not like it ever stopped anyone on the original NES.

I think the most bizzare event in this is that for a console that has been retailing just over £50, why now it is sold out are people desperately paying hundreds of pounds/dollars (highest I’ve seen £200 in UK) for this machine? It’s going to be back in the shops soon so why are people so desperate to grab something which content you can play be many other means? We have Wii U, GameBoy Advance, the originals and emulators. It is easy to be patient and obtain these games many other way. For me personally it is nice to want one, but, as a collector I’m not going to rush out to buy it. At the end of the day there’s a lot of extortinate selling of items online whenever there’s something everything wants.

When it comes to the NES you’re going to get different types of people. If you’re a collector obviously you will want this console for said purpose but, also you will most likely have an original NES so can collect the other games you desire. If you’re wanting to get into retro titles and more into retro gaming, or get a child into it, then this is to be honest…perfect. It has some of Nintendo’s best of the best and for its price it is too good to miss.

With less complaining what do you get with this console? You are greeted with a screen that has Mario and Luigi and remnants of other games. You have taken to a menu which has a reel of all thirty titles and some options including which format you want to play in. It’s very Nintendo and very chilled and simplistic. What is a big feature is that after playing the games you are given FOUR not THREE, FOUR game saves. We’re moving up in the world and this is good if you have a few people in your household wanting to play the console. The original NES didn’t have save files so this is another sweet taste of modern freedom.

One of the best parts however and I really mean this, is that with games like Startropics and I guess The Legend of Zelda these days is that you need the manual to play them. Well the console has a QR code that you can scan onto your phone and download the manuals onto there. It’s those little gems that make everything better.

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What’s most important is that it plays well and it has many great games on it whether there’s disadvantages to the system, peripherals or exploitation from other sellers.

Finally, if you played the NES 25-30 something years ago and want to play specific games from your childhood, then I suggest getting a retro console that caters for multiple consoles and at a cheaper price for its content. Such examples are the Retron5 where you can play most retro titles from the NES onwards and then choose what you want. (Not sponsored)

If you love Nintendo and collecting then this is the console for you because it’s another gem for your collection. With its HDMI output and great framerates it ain’t bad at all. It is important that both American and Europe did get some different titles to Japan. If you’re wanting to get into retro gaming or want to get your child into your beloved games, then this is the perfect start as it is simple and straightforward and there are enough save files for all the family. To be fair with its price and when it comes back in stock it’s not like it would cost so much to buy two.

From someone in my position as a collector it isn’t something I would run out and buy because I also have the Wii U and Nintendo still needs to make its money on its eShop so obviously there are other virtual games. There are some things that could be improved and once again with Nintendo marketing could have been handheld better. Just make more, extend that controller and don’t make people feel ripped off. It’s a nice idea and opens up many windows for the future of bringing retro back to our homes.