The 16-bit throwback is SNES classic Nintendo: an amazing compromised gaming experience
Last November, just in advance of the holiday shopping crush, Nintendo released a much-anticipated new console without making nearly enough units available. Making the matters worse, this was simply the latest in the company’s long history of failing to properly account for demand or if you prefer the more sinister explanation, manufacturing scarcity to garner headlines and create buzz for that must-have holiday gift.
Nostalgia is not a precious commodity, but it is a powerful one all the same. Few publishers are better at harnessing that power than Nintendo, which over the last 30 years has found ways to innovate on console design like Mario and Zelda.
Last year, the company launched the NES Classic, an all-in-one trip down memory lane. The adorable tiny box housed some of the most memorable games of Nintendo’s first home console.
The new SNES Classic, which launches this Friday, continuing the tradition with near-perfect renditions of the company’s greatest hits from the 16-bit generation. For $79.99 you get a time capsule of 21 Classic experience both expansive and frenetic. It is far from perfect, most if not all of our issues are identical to those in the NES Classic — but even its flaws serve as a reminder of an important, highly transitional era in gaming.
Measuring roughly 5,25 x 4,25 x 1.5 inches, the SNES Classic is approximately one-seventh the size of the original Super Nintendo — seriously, it is pretty hilarious to compare the both of them side by side. Nintendo has, unsurprisingly, done an amazing work in re-creating the original look. Perhaps a bit too well — whereas North America gets the classic, greyish industrial look, Europe, and Japan get the objectively prettier “Super Famicom” design that we have been envious of since 1990. It was released on the 21st anniversary of the Nintendo 64’s release in North America.
What’s changed in this: The eject button no longer depressed, the cartridge flap no longer flaps and all the ports have been overhauled. And on back it’s just an HDMI-out for video and micro-USB for power; on the front, a cover with etchings of the original SNES controller ports hides the new inputs, which matches that of both the NES Classic Controller ports hides the new inputs, which match that of both the NES Classic Controller and the Wii Remote extension port.
The controller is identical to the original SNES gamepad, down to the clickiness of the face buttons. The only differences are the color of the ‘L’ and ‘R’ letters on the shoulder buttons and the cord, which measures just over 4.5 feet in length– a distance far too short for many living room setups. While NES Classic Controller’s cable, which was just about 30 inches in length, but it’s still annoying.
Thought the SNES Classic offers largely the same experience as its predecessor, Nintendo has taken the time to improve its menu system from last year’s model, giving it a more 16-bit aesthetic and adding in a few new tricks. It has the ability to suspend a game at any point and pick up later and works largely in the same way. If you want to take a break to do some other work, hit the reset switch on the console, then press down on the D-pad to pick between four save slots per game.
The 21 titles of the games in the SNES Classic represent not only some of the best games of the generation but arguably some of the best of all time.
- Contra 3: The Alien Wars
- Donley Kong Country
- Final Fantasy 6
- Kirby’s Dream Course
- Kirby Super Star
- The Legend of Zelda
- Mega Man X
- Secret of Mana
- Star Fox
- Star Fox 2
- Street Fighter 2 Turbo
- SSuper Castlevania 4
- Suoer Ghoul’s and Ghosts
- Super Mario Kart
- Super Mario RPG: The Legend of the Seven Stars
- Super Mario World
- Super Mario World 2
- Super Mario Metroid
- Super Punch-Out!!
So we are not out of the woods yet, but I’m hopeful that Nintendo’s strategy for the SNES Classic has absorbed the anger of its most passionate fans. So, the SNES Classic Edition relaunches in 2018, and so many of you never did find one.