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NES and SNES Classic: A Tale of Two Mini-Consoles

/ Sep 7th, 2017 No Comments

NES and SNES Classic

The recent resurgence of classic gaming has seen all manner of companies try to fan the flames of nostalgia, so it was unsurprising to see Nintendo join the foray. After all, Nintendo is synonymous for starting that fire in the first place and naturally have claim to its kindling.

Two of the company’s latest ventures in this regard come in the form of the NES Classic Edition and SNES Classic Edition, miniature plug-and-play versions of the Nintendo Entertainment System and the Super Nintendo. Unlike the originals they’re based upon, the two don’t break new ground except where controversy’s concerned.

Gamestop has tried to take advantage of SNES Classic Edition pre-orders for their own gain.

The SNES Classic has yet to be released, but pre-orders for it have been nothing short of nightmarish due to Nintendo’s incompetence to better ensure proper distribution. This has resulted in everything from Wal-Mart canceling pre-orders despite allowing customers to make them online to the underhanded tactics of Gamestop to squeeze out more money from players via forced bundling.

Then there’s the NES Classic Edition. The console also suffered pre-order woes, and is still very elusive to own due to the limited supply that were produced. Nintendo simply discontinued it this year rather than putting in any effort to keep it in circulation. The move has made the little console not only harder to find, but also more expensive than the initial $59.99 price tag.

Only The Classics

Such problems surrounding these mini-revivals of two iconic consoles are just the tip of the iceberg, though. There’s the two systems themselves that should also be addressed. They both technically leave a lot to be desired and, in turn, have to make you wonder why you would ante up the money they demand you pay to make them your personal property.

Yes, there’s an amazing selection of games on each one. The SNES Classic, for instance, includes Final Fantasy VI, Super Mario World and F-Zero, to name just a few. It’ll even include the release of Star Fox 2, a game finally finished after having been cancelled during development just before the release of the Nintendo 64.
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Star Fox 2 is the holy grail among the games included with the SNES Classic Edition.

But a stellar built-in games library doesn’t justify having to pay $60 and $80 for a sensationalized plug-and-play console that lacks the features that made the original SNES a terrific achievement. For starters, there’s no way to add or play any other games on the mini-console beyond those already included. You’re in effect not paying for a fully fledged console; you’re just paying for games.

Beyond the NES Classic and SNES Classic

If you want to enjoy the full experience of owning and playing games on an actual console, you could buy the actual NES and SNES. However, the demand for the Classic Editions of both consoles is causing prices to skyrocket on the aftermarket, and it is also impacting the price of used versions of the original consoles.

There is another other option: purchase an unofficial console capable of playing NES and SNES. While that may seem a sketchy route, you’d be investing in an industry that is producing far more amazing reproductions of classic consoles than Nintendo currently is. You just need to know where to look.
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Look at the RetroN for example. It’s an unofficial console that, unlike the NES Classic, remains in production. It may not contain any built-in games but it makes up for it with a bevy of features, including HD output, high quality sound, programmable wireless controllers with Bluetooth technology, no region lockout and, more importantly, the ability to put in actual game cartridges. You can also use Sega Genesis and Game Boy cartridges.

You’re effectively buying an NES system designed with the 21st century in mind and worthy of its price tag, which, depending on the model you choose, ranges from $69.99 to $159.99. It’s not the only high-quality unofficial console out there but it’s inarguably set the bar for retro gaming.

It speaks volumes that creators of unofficial consoles can produce such amazing resurrections and with such incredible enhancements to their cartridge-based consoles. The fact Nintendo hasn’t followed suit is unbelievably absurd. The company has failed to make an effort in trying to one-up such incredible features or at bare minimum have their miniature consoles better emulate the physical features of their parents.

See that cartridge slot? Kind of a big deal.

It’s a dropped ball that Sega, another company synonymous with classic gaming, has picked up on. The company has granted a license to producer AtGames for the Sega Flashback. Not only does the plug-and-play console have 80 built-in games, but it also allows you to insert Sega Genesis cartridges.

While the console itself isn’t an ideal choice to enjoy the entire Sega Genesis game library due to technical limitations, the ability to use cartridges shows that its developers, in comparison with Nintendo, understand the desire of players to expand their collection of games beyond the built-in library. As such, they have provided a classic means to do so, which adds to the overall nostalgia experience.

The list of such problems goes on, but these issues alone show that the SNES Classic and NES Classic are two reflective embodiments of how radically out of touch, negligent and money hungry Nintendo has become. That attitude isn’t likely to alter soon, even after the release of the palm-sized SNES Classic this month. Its success won’t at all stunt how its creator now values quantity over quality and, even worse, views gamers as little more than animate dollar signs.

To put it bluntly: the Nintendo of today isn’t the Nintendo of yesterday.


Jonathan Anson

Jonathan Anson

Jonathan has been a lover of video games since his father brought home a Windows 95 computer. When he's not doing that he indulges in his other passion: writing. Jonathan holds an AA degree in Journalism from Saddleback College in Southern California.
Jonathan Anson
Jonathan Anson

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