NES Classic Edition – Is it worth it?

The NES Classic, also known as the Nintendo Classic Mini and the NES Classic Edition, is once again available (at time of writing). As you can guess, this isn’t the first time Nintendo has sold this device, and it was rather popular in earlier runs. This review should help you decide whether you want to get yourself one of these rather good-looking “consoles” or skip it.

Here’s some things to note about the NES Classic Edition:

  • There are two versions of the device. One is styled after the original Famicom, and one after the NES. The only major difference is eight exclusive games for each regional release (along with 22 shared).
  • The device is not a replica NES/Famicom interior-wise, and does not run the physical games. It’s a small system that emulates roms, though you can technically play your other NES games on it (more on this later).

Capabilities

  • Made by Nintendo
  • Costs $59.99. May be available for less, but beware bootlegs, as prior runs were limited. They’re definitely on the market.
  • While the cartridge-related features are nonexistent, the device is a peerless replica of the original NES in appearance.
  • This extends to the user interface, which is styled after the games of the era.
  • Comes with an HDMI cable, AC adapter and a replica NES controller – note that the microphone (if any, depending on the version) is non-functional.
  • Comes with 30 games, some of which are region exclusive.
  • Allows you to use savestates, alleviating some frustration if you’re new to the NES scene.
  • Has 512 MB of flash storage and 256 MB of DDR3 memory.

Why you should consider the NES Classic

There’s a plethora of good things about this device. It’s easy to use and the controller is very responsive. The provided games include classics that even those who don’t have memories of the NES can appreciate (indeed, one may compare these to modern games and find much correlation).

The device supports eight languages, though the games don’t follow suit.

By buying the NES classic, you are also buying the games it comes with. This makes the device go from somewhat overpriced to completely reasonable if we were to price the games at, say, 1$ each and factor that in.

That’s a pretty good deal, and some of the games are fairly long (Final Fantasy, The Legend of Zelde, Metroid…). Speaking of the games, the selection was made with a fair amount of wisdom and holds titles you’re sure to recognize even if you’ve never played them.

Anyone who had a NES will find the Classic to be a lovely throwback to the original, be it its accurate appearance or emulation which lacks noticeable issues.

Lastly, the Classic can be modified to run other NES roms, and even games for other consoles. This may interest you if you already own the games in question (be it physically or on another device), since this gives you the rights to emulate them (And the Classic uses an emulator).

If you’re a collector or already purchased NES games digitally before (such as on the Switch), you may rest assured that the Classic is capable of playing them, though it’ll take you a bit of hacking to enable such features.

Tutorials are easily available online.

What might dissuade you

While the NES Classic’s controller is perfectly responsive, its cable is also extremely short and it has no wireless capabilities. Unless you plan to buy a separate controller, you may find setting up the device comfortably a chore, especially since it needs to be plugged in to display as well.

The Classic is definitely an accessory first and a gaming device second. With more and more NES games being available on the Switch, it may be a wiser purchase than the Classic if it holds no sentimental value to you.

The selection of games it comes with is rather small. Firstly, you should look into the region differences before buying.

Even with that in mind, getting more games on the Classic has to be done through hacking and you have to own the games to legally play them.

Nintendo could’ve easily sold additional games or bundles for the Classic, but they don’t. Bummer.

Conclusion

The NES Classic is a good deal and a nifty device. It looks great and does exactly what it says it does. Its capabilities can be vastly expanded with some tweaking, but ultimately it lacks support (mainly in that you cannot buy additional games directly) that could’ve pushed it from a good purchase to a great one. The controller’s low range is also annoying.

It’s an easy way to get your hands on a whole bunch of NES games without bothering with collecting them physically, but it’s also somewhat overshadowed by the Switch. Overall, The Classic is still worth buying for most.