One of the reasons why this review is late is because we weren’t able to get one, and apparently, neither did anybody else.
But now that we do have one, we’ll let you know whether it’s worth it.
What Is It?
The original Nintendo Entertainment System released in North America in 1985, and it was a godsend for gamers at the time and it also what led to the rebirth of gaming industry. While both Nintendo and gamers in general are in a much different spot than they were over 30 years ago, there’s no denying the nostalgia and appreciation for the original games on the system that paved the way for what gaming would eventually become.
So here’s the NES Classic Edition, a miniature USB-powered version of the original NES that comes packed with 30 of the best games that transcended the gaming landscape all for $60, a fraction of what it costs to download all these games on the Virtual Console–that is, if you could actually get your hands on one.
Why Should I Care?
Nintendo has used nostalgia as a marketing ploy for years, and it isn’t in the least bit surprising because of the fact that they’ve been in the business longer than virtually everybody. The NES Classic Edition is an exact replica of the original NES, and the controller is literally a carbon copy of the original NES controller, with the exception of connection port and jack, which is the same input you see on the bottom of a Wii Remote.
People will be quick to scoff at the fact that you can’t buy or add your own software to play on the platform, but the 30 games that come installed are probably the best games on the console. Here’s the list of all the games you can play:
- Balloon Fight
- Bubble Bobble
- Castlevania II: Simon’s Quest
- Donkey Kong
- Donkey Kong Jr.
- Double Dragon II: The Revenge
- Dr. Mario
- Final Fantasy
- Ghosts’n Goblins
- Ice Climber
- Kid Icarus
- Kirby’s Adventure
- Mario Bros.
- Mega Man 2
- Ninja Gaiden
- Punch-Out! Featuring Mr. Dream
- Super C
- Super Mario Bros.
- Super Mario Bros. 2
- Super Mario Bros. 3
- Tecmo Bowl
- The Legend of Zelda
- Zelda II: The Adventure of Link
Not only does it include all these great titles, but you also have different resolutions to play these games on. Since you connect the console to your TV via HDMI, it outputs in high-definition. In the home menu (which you can access with the reset button), you can also set it to 4:3 mode to mimic the proportions of old TV’s, and you can even set it to “true-pixel” mode to see the games with their undistorted visuals. Lastly, you can set games to CRT mode to see everything on a fuzzy filter to make your games resemble the look of a cheap TV. Who remembers seeing that awkward line of nothing on the left side of the screen when playing Super Mario Bros. 3? It’s back… just because!
Speaking of things that are back, so are cords. As nitpicky a problem as it is, the short length of the cord (just under two feet) just doesn’t fly this generation. Nintendo has recommended using a long HDMI cord, or extension cords for the controller, but that’s obviously another expense. In fact, the controllers themselves are also seeing a nationwide shortage as stores haven’t been receiving controllers to go along with their very small shipments of the NES Classic Edition itself. You can use the Wii’s Classic Controller as a replacement, but it just doesn’t feel the same.
As an advocate for retro gaming, the fact that the cord is short wouldn’t normally bother me. However, my main bone to pick is with the input lag between button presses and the animation you see on the screen. Maybe I was too young to know any better, but I don’t remember this much of an input delay with the controls back in the NES heyday. I even have an original fully functioning NES, and I can confirm that there definitely is noticeably longer input lag, and this is incredibly disappointing for a developer and publisher that’s known for tight and responsive controls. Games like Dr. Mario and Super Mario Bros. are muscle memory for me, but if Mario isn’t jumping at the exact time you’re pressing A, it saddens the experience.
What Makes It Worth My Time And Money?
Control issues aside, this is something very real that we dealt with as children. A good number those of who played the NES back then are older now with children of their own, and the primary value to this system in my opinion is the ability to show these games to younger generations. We live in a world where the days of the GameCube, Xbox, and PlayStation 2 are considered retro consoles, and it’s our duty as gamers to make sure these classics are never forgotten. So when’s a better time than the holidays?
The other feature that makes this awesome is the ability to have save states virtually anywhere in-game. One of the greatest things about the progression of gaming is no longer having to leave a console on anymore when you have an errand to run. I remember getting to level six in Ninja Gaiden before my mom would tell me to go to bed, so I would just leave a piece of paper on top of the NES to block the red light and then come back to it after doing my homework the next day.
The NES Classic Edition does what it’s supposed to do, and it gets the job done well. Sure, it has some annoyances here and there, but what you get for the price you’re paying (as long as you’re getting it at retail) really makes the NES Classic Edition a no-brainer for any gaming fan old and new.