Title: Nintendo Classic Mini
Platform(s): Nintendo Entertainment System
Release Date: November 11th, 2016
Price: £49.99 – £100+ (if you’re lucky enough)
Game modes: Single Player/Multiplayer
Activities/Collectables: Actually finding one to purchase.
Like all Nintendo products, it doesn’t come with a plug but most USB chargers will do.
Time played: 15+ Hours (many of those spent on Castlevania and Ninja Gaiden)
Extra notes: Played using the supplied controller and Wii Classic controller.
Who is it for?:
Nintendo and retro fans.
Who isn’t it for?:
Haters, scalpers and anyone who doesn’t like games made back when they provided a challenge.
Limitless. 30+ games each with hours of replayability from single to multiplayer experiences.
By Thom Farquhar – Nintendo is a company that, for the most part, listens to its fans. Do you want to be able to play your last gen games on your current console? They’ll put that option in. Do you want to play older games on the go? The eShop has you covered (for a price). Do you want a new 2D Metroid game? Nice try, have to keep waiting for that one.
So it comes as a bit of a surprise that Nintendo would release a stand-alone micro console of their original masterpiece, the Nintendo Entertainment System (or NES for short as I’m not typing that out every time), packed with 30 classic games when they already have so many other outlets for purchasing their titles. That’s not to say this isn’t a brilliant little bit of kit because it is but makes me wonder why they didn’t do this sooner.
For the price of £49.99 if you can find one new (if not add £50+ trying to buy one off online auction sites) you get inside the box the console, one controller that has one of the shortest cables ever attached to a pad, a HDMI cable and a power cable which is just a USB lead. Like Nintendo’s 3DS lineup it doesn’t come with a plug to power the console, but most standard USB chargers will do the trick. Once it’s all plugged in you’re ready to play some of gaming’s great and not so great games from yesteryear, as long as you don’t mind sitting 3ft away from the TV that is.
While I can’t fault Nintendo on the design of the console, UI or packaging, the length of the controller lead is frankly perplexing. I’m old enough to remember sitting inches away from a TV not because the lead was short but because I was a child and the television was only 15 inches big. This is probably my only real gripe with the whole thing as it meant either sitting close enough to burn the game over screen from Ninja Gaiden into my retina or setting up a series of long cables across my living room so I could sit on my sofa.
In some cases, length counts for something!
Apart from the controller issue the rest of the experience is excellent. There’s a wide range of games from fan favourites to games from other developers. While I own a fair few of the titles included, it’s nice not to have to dust off a cartridge and hope my NES can last long enough to complete Castlevania before it starts glitching out. The full list includes;
Balloon Fight – Original release date: 1984
Bubble Bobble – Original release date: 1986
Castlevania – Original release date: September 26, 1986
Castlevania II: Simon’s Quest – Original release date: August 28, 1987
Donkey Kong – Original release date: July 9, 1981
Donkey Kong Jr. – Original release date: 1982
Double Dragon II: The Revenge – Original release date: December 1988
Dr Mario – Original release date: 1990
Excitebike – Original release date: November 30, 1984
Final Fantasy – Original release date: December 18, 1987
Galaga – Original release date: 1981
Ghosts N’ Goblins – Original release date: September 19, 1985
Gradius – Original release date: May 29, 1985
Ice Climber – Original release date: January 30, 1985
Kid Icarus – Original release date: December 19, 1986
Kirby’s Adventure – Original release date: March 23, 1993
Mega Man 2 – Original release date: December 24, 1988
Metroid – Original release date: August 6, 1986
Ninja Gaiden – Original release date: December 9, 1988
Pac-Man – Original release date: May 22, 1980
Punch-Out!! Featuring Mr Dream – Original release date: 1987
StarTropics – Original release date: December 1, 1990
Super Contra – Original release date: January 8, 1988
Super Mario Bros. – Original release date: September 13, 1985
Super Mario Bros. 2 – Original release date: 1988
Super Mario Bros. 3 – Original release date: October 23, 1988
Tecmo Bowl – Original release date: 1987
The Legend of Zelda – Original release date: February 21, 1986
Zelda II: The Adventure of Link – Original release date: January 14, 1987
Standouts like Mario 3 and Zelda are always going to be welcomed in a collection but Final Fantasy, Ninja Gaiden, Mega Man 2 and Castlevania made this an instant preorder for myself. Overall the choice of games is amazing, and there’s not one included that seems out of place or a wasted spot. The menu to select each game is well laid out and has that typical Nintendo charm as it’s all displayed in 8-Bit form but in glorious HD. You can choose to sort the games how you wish to view them and even change how they look while you play them, ranging from a CRT filter to pixel perfect outputs. There’s even little easter eggs if you leave the console alone such as Mario and Luigi selecting different games and backgrounds which are a nice touch.
The games play exactly how you remember them. I haven’t noticed any difference than playing with my regular NES other than the quality of the picture displayed. With the added bonus of up to 4 save states per game, it also means those harder games that have no password or cheat option can finally be beaten without having to grind through earlier levels. For games like Ninja Gaiden, this is a godsend. The controller, for as much as the cable length is annoying, feels exactly like an original pad and the ability to use other controllers like the Wii Classic controller mean you can use any extra pads you have dotted around to play multiplayer games.
If you don’t already own a NES this is a perfect way of replaying these classic gems without the need to spend hundreds on single cartridges of the most popular titles. That’s assuming you can find one in stock and not have to resort to online auction sites where the price has spiked up considerably. The length of the controller cable is frustrating so either grab your favourite bean bag or purchase a lengthy HDMI cable to alleviate those troubles. While there are other ways of playing these games for a lot less if you’re a collector of retro games and a Nintendo fan you won’t be disappointed if you do end up paying over the retail price for this gem.
Nintendo fans you won't be disappointed!
• A cute little box that can easily fit next to any setup and provide endless hours of entertainment, as long as you don't mind sitting next to the TV • Great selection of games to keep all types of gamers happy • The inclusion of save states makes troublesome games without passwords approachable •