Super NES Classic Edition revives one of gaming’s greatest consoles: EW review
When Nintendo released the NES Classic Edition last year, a tiny plug-and-play replica of their first console loaded with 30 games, they woefully underestimated consumer demand, as it was nearly impossible to keep on store shelves. Let’s hope they have a better production and distribution plan for the Super NES Classic Edition (out Friday for $79.99), because it’s even more amazing. The 16-bit Super Nintendo is one of the greatest consoles of all time, and it’s packed with bonafide classic games that have aged much better than their 8-bit predecessors. While the NES Classic was a nostalgic look at video games’ early years, the Super NES Classic is a master class in video game design featuring some of the best games ever created.
The mini SNES comes packaged with two controllers, an AC adapter, and an HDMI cable, and it’s as plug-and-play simple as it gets. The interface is clear and straightforward; you simply scroll through a list of 20 games and choose which one to launch. Each game supports four save slots, and the new rewind feature lets you scrub back through your last playthrough about a minute should you wish to retry a jump you missed or a boss who defeated you without wasting a life or a continue. Unfortunately, the save and rewind features are tied to the console’s reset button, which means you have to get up and physically flip the switch, as there’s no such button on the controller itself. And once again, the controller cord is just way too short.
Although the SNES controller cords are two feet longer than the NES Classic’s, it’s still far too short to play at a reasonable distance from modern-day TVs. So you’re either left sitting on the floor in front of your TV and really reliving your childhood, or you have to buy an extension cable or wireless alternative. It’s kind of baffling why they couldn’t create an even longer cord, as that was the biggest complaint against the NES Classic (aside from not being able to actually find one). And would it have killed them to put a reset button on the controller itself?
But that all falls away once you start perusing the games this little beast is housing. Super Mario World. The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past. Super Metroid. Yoshi’s Island. Street Fighter II: Turbo. These are some of the greatest games ever crafted, and the rest of the roster features groundbreaking titles like Super Mario Kart and F-Zero, JRPG classics Secret of Mana and Earthbound, and action games Mega Man X and Contra III: The Alien Wars. Virtually every genre is accounted for, meaning there’s something for everyone. It even includes a bonus 21st game, the never-released Star Fox 2, which was slated for a 1995 release but was canceled because of the impending launch of the Nintendo 64.
If you’re a longtime Nintendo fan, chances are you’ve played a lot of these games before, multiple times. Many were made available on the Wii’s Virtual Console, or the Wii U’s Virtual Console, or the 3DS’s Virtual Console… But so far, Nintendo has announced no plans to launch Virtual Console on their current Switch hardware and is instead focusing on these mini compilations. The downside is you can’t play these games on the go, but they’re also considerably cheaper than the Virtual Console’s $8 per game price. And if Nintendo does eventually launch Virtual Console on Switch, good luck convincing yourself not to buy these games yet again. The company is matched only by Disney in its ability to continually resell its properties time and again.
But it’s a nostalgic treat to hold an exact replica of the original controller, and there are so many deep, fantastic games included that it’s almost overwhelming. Assuming Nintendo makes enough to meet demand and you can actually get your hands on one, plug it in and prepare to relive one of gaming’s greatest systems with some of the best games of all time — they’re worth replaying again and again.