There’s no doubt about it, retro is in. Whether it be movie reboots, retro themed merchandise or indie game immitations everybody wants a piece of the nostalgia pie. Despite the growing love for all things nostalgia however it was to the surprise of many when nintendo announced the upcoming release of the “NES Classic”, a modern spin on the company’s legendary groundbreaking console.
With its sleek, 80’s look and miniaturised design this new NES is a classic for the modern gamer coming with 30 pre-installed games hand picked from some of nintendo’s most famous franchises. Headliners such as The Legend of Zelda, Super Mario Bros. 3 and Mega Man 2 and backed up with solid era favorites such as Tecmo Bowl, Gradius and Ghosts ‘n Goblins alongside titles less well known to modern gamers such as Startropics and Balloon fight. Rounding out the collection are several North American and Japanese exclusives such as Final Fantasy and Super C which have previously been unavailable to the many parts of the world outside of handheld and virtual consoles.
Backing up a solid line of games is a range of display options from 4:3 scale to CRT scan line imitation completing the retro experience. a built-in save feature is also included significantly lowering the difficulty of game such as Ghost ‘n Goblins and Castlevania which makes the more accessible to the casual crowd. The save files are only limited to four slots however so players will need to be mindful when playing through multiple games at once.
In comparison to the original the NES Classic plays very well with none of the input lag or slowdown that can be found in other emulation consoles currently in the market. The controller is robust and while slightly smaller than the original just as pleasant to hold and use. Unlike the original NES the classic also runs games at the intended 60htz giving many PAL players the chance to experience these retro games and their soundtracks at full speed.
In spite of the console’s functionality some design aspects to leave a little to be desired with both the HDMI and controller cables being shorter than comfortable and the lack of an AC adapter included with the purchase. These decisions while unfortunate are not entirely unexpected from Nintendo given they did the same thing with the New 3DS so I find it hard to hold it against them.
The NES classic is a solid choice for anybody looking for a physical retro gaming experience without entering the second hand market. It’s compact, affordable and sure to please even the most discerning gamer. I give it an 8/10.
Chris Senz is a gaming writer and contributor to PN2