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While Nintendo focuses on their next console, the Switch, their big holiday release is a return to the 80s. Fans get a chance to play with power again with the NES Classic Edition. The problem is that Nintendo has done it again not shipping enough units to satisfy the high demand. The tiny NES sold out in minutes once it was up at online retailers. Folks like me waited again at stores early in the morning just to grab one reliving the amiibo fiasco. Despite those problems on that end, Nintendo did deliver on the quality of the NES Classic Edition. The 30 games included are a who’s who of the NES era and it feels great to play through the classics either again or for the first time.
The NES Classic Edition is literally a tiny Nintendo. You can hold it with one hand and easy to bring it around to other houses. The NES controller included is how you remember it in terms of playing with it. These new ones however use a connector similar to the Wiimote and the controller cord is absurdly small. That is the console’s biggest issue ever since it was first announced. I often have to have it sitting on the floor than on a typical shelf just to play. At least the HDMI and USB cables have decent length though. There’s 3rd party extension cables for the controllers if you want to play it on a normal setting. Nintendo didn’t have the modern audience in mind that have HDTV setups and we’re seated farther away than the TV than the 80s.
I do love the interface of this NES once you boot it up. It’s simple to navigate through the games list, deal with save states and have attract screens on as if you’re at an arcade or mall kiosk looking around. There’s also three filters to choose from: regular 4:3, pixel perfect and CRT. The CRT filter tries to recreate the 80s, but it does look ugly today. Pixel perfect mode was the most I played with that was also used in the 3DS Virtual Console releases. Regular 4:3 also plays fine especially if you played the Wii/Wii U VC versions of these games. If you seen comparison shots of these versions of the games with the VC versions, it’s night and day in terms of color quality.
The games list is indeed a mix of greatest hits of both 1st and 3rd party games for the NES. There’s the obvious ones from the three Super Mario Bros. games, the two Zeldas, Punch-Out!! and Metroid. Then you got awesome 3rd party classics like Mega Man 2, Ninja Gaiden, Castlevania and Tecmo Bowl. NES ports of arcade games such as Galaga and Pac-Man are also in, but their original iterations are vastly superior. I also love the diversity of the collection of games in the NES Classic Edition. Final Fantasy and StarTropics are longer games especially for the RPG crowd. Sure, some notable NES games missed the cut, but there’s the chance of another mini NES with different games.
Most of the games hold up today while others remain some of the hardest games of all-time. With the addition of save states on the NES Classic Edition, you can cheese your way through those hard games like you would on an emulator. Ninja Gaiden, Super C, Castlevania and Ghosts’n Goblins are possible to beat now, but damn there’s still some cheap stuff to deal with in these games. Despite that, it’s nice that save states are there by pressing the reset button in case you have to take care of something else. It depends on your nostalgia how much you still enjoy these games at the end of the day. Perhaps you might find a new appreciation for some you never played yet till now too.
Is the NES Classic Edition worth getting if you’re able to find one this holiday season? If you still have the original carts that are in good shape or their Virtual Console versions, then it’s not worth the $59.99. However, this is a more convenient way to play these games instead of blowing through carts or deal with digital stores. It’s literally a tiny Nintendo you can carry around and that novelty is cool alone. The absurdly small controller cord is my biggest issue with this console. Plus I don’t see myself spending more on extra controllers or even third party extension cables. The NES Classic Edition is nice to have around if you need a break from modern games wanting to scratch that nostalgic itch again.