For those who don’t know, Nintendo has announced this fall that they are releasing the NES Mini, which contains thirty original NES games and is modeled after the original US model Nintendo Entertainment System. It is built much as a plug-and-play unit with detachable controllers, and will retail for $59.99 USD.
This release is a change for Nintendo, who usually only re-sells their retro titles via their e-shops on their consoles. While priced significantly higher than your typical plug and play considering the lack of cartridge slot (the At-Games Sega Genesis console retailed for $49.99, and included a cart slot for Genesis titles), the system still holds considerably more value than purchasing the games separately on the e-shop. Purchasing the e-shop versions will set you back over $100. This is not only cheaper, but is also hardware based, and with more authentic controllers than what you would use if playing these retro titles on a new console. Also, if you still have your old console and all the games in the list that this unit contains, it’s still worth a purchase considering the fact the NES Classic Mini has HDMI output, which will give the games sharper detail.
However, there are also a few faults. Being a typical plug and play style system, there is no way to add additional games to the console. No cart slot means you can’t enjoy your original NES titles on this system. The game selection is incredibly strong, but also has some gaping holes. For example, Ninja Gaiden 2 and Mega Man 2 are included, but not the previous or later games in the respective series. This leaves the door wide open for a second version of the system, but fans would enjoy being able to play the entirety of classic game series on the unit instead of only experiencing parts of it. Also, no games that required accessories other than an NES controller are available. The NES Zapper had a great life on the original system, and a follow-up to this unit that featured a Zapper and at least five or ten of the best Zapper supported games would likely be a system seller. Being able to play those zapper games on your HDTV (something that can’t be done using your original Nintendo hardware) would be spectacular.
Overall, this is a unit that, even though there are flaws, is still worth purchasing. It looks to be a quality release, and if it sells well enough, Nintendo may release a follow up with more features for the retro NES fan that clamors for new hardware.