It's slightly ironic that the author says this, since there is absolutely nothing analog about NES controllers -- they're nothing more than a shift register internally. By contrast, modern controllers do in fact have analog input mechanisms (although they are of course communicated with digitally).
It seems to me that "analog" and "digital" have lost their true meanings over time, and come to mean nothing more than "old technology" and "new technology" over time.
Great article, by the way!
At the opposite end are USB (especially micro), HDMI, 1394 and other dainty connectors that feel like they would break (and they do) if you don't take utmost care in mating them.
That being said, I don't think it's a feeling unique to "old" connectors; besides the mains plugs mentioned above, modern industrial, military, and avionics equipment connectors remain equally satisfying to mate. It's just that most consumer equipment has sacrificed robustness for compactness and cost.
All the Pong (and clone) controllers I've come across were analog. But the Fairchild Channel F's controllers were digital.
This means you can use the authentic controller to play the full Wii Virtual Console catalog, which covers many games not included with the NES Classic.
There's a very handy calculator here
If you put in the diameter of a 10AWG wire (2.588mm), and a current of 1A, it gives a drift velocity of 5.026cm/h.
For 20mA in a 20AWG wire (0.812mm), that reduces to 1.02cm/h.
Drift velocity is absolutely irrelevant to the propagation delay, which is on the order of magnitude of the speed of light.
I love when HN users give such simple, real world analogies that are so easy to visualize or relate to. For those of us from completely different fields, it really does nail down the concept. always appreciated :)
RetroPie and other hw apps would be fun to set up, but it's just so easy with emulator and roms that anyone can do it within a few mins.
If you want the nostalgia, just download the emulator and roms and plug in a $5 usb controller. It'll be over soon and it's back to the PS4 or XBOX...
Emulators are much harder to play than the original console because milliseconds matter! Maybe not so much for puzzle games (like the Zelda franchise) but certainly for action titles...
I don't know much about this "RetroPie", but it sounds like a raspberry pi, probably running an emulator on Linux. That's not hardware.
On NES hardware, your controller had a very real, physical connection to logic gates on the CPU (which happened to have a very real, physical connection to the electrons being shot towards your face by your TV!)
When using an old Nintendo, (or SNES, or N64, but only for SOME games) you got to experience your own limitations. The machine was faster than you, it never got hand cramps, etc. But it clearly wasn't smarter, it wasn't BETTER. People had beaten these games... So could you. You just have to try harder! You'd find yourself doing funny little things like holding the controller differently and trying to just shake your button finger, not actually raise and lower it, to fire as fast as possible...
When you finally did beat a game, you beat the exact same game, the same experience that other players faced, down to the millisecond.
0: Sure, there is some skill, but quite frequently the goal is to unlock some door or get some item. I never had any trouble playing Zelda games on emulators.
 fix street fighter/punch out character name mixup
Oddly enough, we might get the necessary stack enhancements for lower input latency thanks to VR development, since in VR it's associated with vertigo and motion sickness. It would be pretty funny if a VR headset turned out to be the best display for old-school 2D games.
Found the source of 90~% of the latency.
I guess that Nintendo has thoroughly tested it...
For Super Mario Bros 1-3 and Zelda alone this is worth the price. And now here is your chance to get that console you never got back in the day.
It might be more expensive than playing ROMs if you already have a computer, already have a controller(s) and already have something set up in the living room. But I don't have that already and it would take me longer to figure how to do it well than it would take me to earn $70 at my day job despite my proficiency at pirating and already having several ROMS.
This is the intelligent way to fight piracy. Release often, with high quality and cheap.
Many good examples of this: Netflix, Steam, and now Nintendo :-)
Hmm. Isn't this also an argument to support Nintendo now? When I was young I would buy CDs even though I had the mp3s already.
I'm not bashing Nintendo's IP rights, just the notion that ROMS are inherently illegal/immoral.
I'm not taking a side, just saying it's debatable for sure.
Edit: downvotes aplenty, perhaps someone could tell me how I could play two player Double Dragon 2 legally until this device came out?
But more generally, the person who started this thread appeared to be suggesting emulation as an alternative to this device. So in context, your comment reads as meaning, "Even though this device is out now, it's still OK to download the games illegally rather than pay for them because there wasn't a legal avenue to get the games before this device came out," which doesn't make very much sense unless you're just looking to punish Nintendo or something.
It's been ten years since I tried to play Double Dragon 2, the landscape has clearly changed lots more than it did in the fifteen since the console went out of fashion.
Also emulators need better CRT emulation. Crisp and/or bilinear interpolated pixels look nothing like the original games.
It hit me hard in the nostalgia feels to see that again.
"Never heard of this one. Doesn’t look very good IMHO."
HAH! Definitely laughed out loud. Great collection of games.
Aside from that it is a great value proposition. A lot of games, good hardware, and updated to work via standard HDMI/USB.
I'm hoping that if this is a runaway success that Nintendo will consider doing a SNES, N64, and Gamecube version.
What gets interesting is what games do they put on the SNES? I would dearly love to see stuff like FF 3/6 and CT on there, SMW... god building a list of 30 such games would take hours to trim down.
Took me ten minutes. Although if I knew it weren't super unlikely, I would sneak Uniracers and EVO: Search for Eden onto this list. Also, yes I know there are a ton more great games for SNES. It was an awesome system. But these seem like good candidates.
* Chrono Trigger
* Donkey Kong Country
* Donkey Kong Country 2
* Final Fight
* Final Fantasy 2
* Final Fantasy 3
* Harvest Moon
* Illusion of Gaia
* Legend of Zelda: Link to the Past
* Mega Man X
* Killer Instinct
* NBA Jam
* Secret of Mana
* Sim City
* Star Fox
* Super Street Fighter 2 Turbo
* Super Castlevania IV
* Super Ghouls n' Ghosts
* Super Mario Kart
* Super Mario World
* Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island
* Super Metroid
* Super Punch-Out!!!
* Super R-Type 3
* Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 4: Turtles in Time
* Tetris Attack
* Zombies Ate My Neighbors
As much as I must admit I have a moral obligation to complete every one that you mentioned (except Chrono Triger, did finish that one), I think it'd be good to include some types of games. What about, say, Earthworm Jim, MegaMan X2 or X3, or one of the Mortal Kombat titles?
I have to agree with GP, this is kinda hard.
Again, I'm not saying my list is definitive and there are no other worthy contenders. It was mainly something I put together based on the games included in the NES Classic, what was really popular, what would likely not be too hard to get the rights to include, and my own personal preferences to a degree.
Also, many would argue the SNES was when JRPGs were at their height and the main thing that differentiated the platform compared to the Genesis.
> Also, many would argue the SNES was when JRPGs were at their height and the main thing that differentiated the platform compared to the Genesis.
This, I can't argue with. Now that I think about it, a lot of the SNES titles I've played were JRPGs.
Otherwise, the list really needs another sports game. Choosing the right title is tough since so many sports games are relics of their time. But a few hold up well to this day. Ken Griffey Jr. Presents MLB (the original, not the sequel, Winning Run) and NHL 94 are good candidates.
The NES Classics system is not designed with later downloads in mind, and I'm not sure why they would release a followup system that still looks like the NES, so I really tried to make the list comprehensive so it could be released in one go like the first.
If it were based only on personal preferences, I'd probably have dropped about 10 of these games and replaced them with others. Lemmings, Earth Defense Force, Batman Returns, Metal Warriors, King of Dragons, Secret of Evermore, and a couple other games probably would have been added otherwise. Actually, King of Dragons probably should replace Final Fight.
wait I forgot Ninja Warriors, Metal Warriors, Super Turrican (and Turrican 2), Skyblazer, Rendering Ranger R2, Hagane, Actraiser, the rest of the Mega Man X series, the Bomberman series, Captain Commando.
Crap, I think we're nearing 60.
Hagane is super rare and virtually unknown in the US except as an underappreciated gem in Youtube videos.
Thing is, Konami have swallowed Hudson Soft, and then dragged it into the ocean after they've left the games market. So many classic IPs from the 80's and 90's.
Unrelated: a cinema nearby has a Japanese turbo cabinet that im dying to purchase. :)
Finding 30 games is easy, for me getting it to be the optimal 30 games would be harder. But then my super ideal never happen dream list would include stuff like Final Fantasy 5 and Seitken Sendetsu 3 (sequel to Secret of Mana that never got an official english translation during the SNES era if ever).
That's not a SNES game. There is Street Fighter II, Street Fighter II Turbo, Super Street Fighter II and Street Fighter Alpha 2.
I bought a console for this game and never even looked at the other titles nor care too. I spent who knows how much on just controllers. I selected my couch with smash bros in mind.
And then I found out you weren't: https://i.imgur.com/ZnqrGPF.jpg
Oh, yes they do.
Born in the late 80's
Probably makes things a lot more difficult though.
I'm not much of a gamer anymore, but I recently fired up my Wii to play some old SNES games and I found the wii classic controller's cable length fairly annoying and that's simply tethered to the wireless Wii remote! I can't imagine playing with the Nintendo classic console pretty much in my lap.
Other than that, I really wish they had included the original Contra.
The only way I would be on board with this is if it shipped with every NES title Nintendo currently owns the rights to, and also had the capability to install the full catalogs of other companies, such as Square Enix / Taito, Tengen, Bandai Namco, or any of the other successor companies to the original NES game developers.
Sell the complete NES catalog--or as close to it as the lawyers can work out--just one last, final time, and keep that same device on the market years into the future, and I will consider buying it. Otherwise, this is yet another iteration of re-buying the original NES games on a different console platform. Not falling for that, Nintendo.
The review touts "only $2 per game!" but in today's market, $2 will get you far superior games from studios and developers that need it today to buy their top ramen noodles for the day after tomorrow. The original Legend of Zelda just isn't that great of a game, and I already bought it once. I'd rather buy something new (to me) through Steam, GOG, or Humble.
The only thing that could be better is if they were to just sell all the games bundled up in one application on GOG or Steam. I'd much rather have the option to play them on my laptop than be tethered to a TV all the time.
It was only relatively recently that you could run a high-fidelity (bit-perfect, cycle-by-cycle actual emulation of the underlying hardware) emulator of an N64 on a PC. E.g. Project64 required a Pentium 4 with 1GB RAM and a GeForce 9000 in order to emulate a 94MHz R4300i and its vector coprocessor. (And I'm not sure how many shortcuts Project64 takes.)
Anyway, it might be that the hardware is overkill because they want to use it for other platforms, or it could just be that they're doing very high-fidelity emulation and are just beating the performance problems into submission with transistors.
Super Mario 1
Super Mario 2
Super Mario 3
Super Mario RPG
Super Mario World
Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past
Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
Kirby's Dreamland 3
You can't beat the feel of a genuine, 20 year old controller!
They also make them for pretty much every controller you could want - Even Wiiport to USB which means you could plug these NES Classic controllers into the PC to use with emulators directly.
I wish these all worked with Steam Link though :(
Every supplier in my area has sold out multiple times already.
I wonder who will carry these? I live in a small town that ironically has 2 Game Stops so I should be able to snag on on 11/11 if they are carrying it.
I don't know why there's no pre-orders, but that may be the reason.
What a shame :( I wonder how much extra money it would have cost them for the licensing.
I remember spending $65.99 of my allowance for Super Mario 3.
Don't let anyone tell you that games are expensive these days.
I'd argue that today's games are both less expensive and contain a wider array of content. Just look at all the stuff you get with something like GTA 5.
Wow - but I can see that it will be cheap.
Just checked: Amazon (in Germany) knows of this thing, but says it is not available. Does not list a price, either. :-(
I do use emulation, but they are making an effort to sell the games.
This is the same problem faced by other media during the transition to digital... The NES Classic isn't upgradable, can't add games, won't do SNES, nevermind N64. Similar efforts to play these old classics on 3DS would have cost $100 for the console and then $30+ per game for games I've already purchased, which are 30 years old.
There may be a time in the future when there is an all-in solution to this problem, and at that point I might support the purchase of a 1st-Party solution, like I have with the rest of my media and hardware over time. I still avoid almost every digital-only, non-transferable purchase for the same reason, however.
Drastically overstating the price of virtual console games. For example, http://www.nintendo.com/games/detail/super-mario-bros-3-3ds
Ocarina of Time is 10 dollars on virtual console.
The 3ds remake might be $30, but it is an updated version of the game. OoT is also < 20 years old, not 30.
I understand the desire to support the company, and I'm not knocking it for those who are happy to throw $60 at it and dive back into their childhoods. It's a fantastic nostalgic product, looks great, and I have no doubt it will be a huge success. The product they are selling just doesn't meet my desire for a full NES-SNES-N64 retrospective.
I am all for supporting developers, hell I made a homebrew nes game and earned some money with it. But this thing is useless compared to what retropie does.
I would consider buying a second hand one just to use its case / controllers though.
30 games? Pfff.
I have to agree that FF7/FF9 was a huge adjustment from a graphics perspective. The 3D-ish characters are ugly and the camera angle/distance makes certain areas feel like guiding ants around. I doubt I will continue with FF9...I may just pick up the Dragon Warrior (Quest) games instead.
The SNES era really stands out to me as the high-water mark for JRPGs
I'd have to put the high-water mark at the PS2. The PS1 era was confused, but they mostly figured things out again for the PS2.
That said, the genre remains alive and well anyhow. Once everybody but Square accepted that you don't need to try to make every single one a graphical extravaganza, they picked back up again. (I don't know what I'd call the flagship series nowadays but I can tell you it is not Final Fantasy anymore.)
> The SNES era really stands out to me as the high-water mark for JRPGs
A lot of the earliest 3D games feel like they're closer to the "2600" end of the spectrum for their generation. Of course there are outliers like Mario 64 that have aged much better. Mario in particular doesn't get totally let down by controls the way a lot of other early full-3d-world games do.
Developers got a hang of things pretty quickly, though. The jump in quality from the stack-of-cubes characters in FF7 to something approaching recognizable humans in FF8 is pretty stark, and they improved further from there for 9.
Luckily, there's more to great games like the FF series than once-photorealistic now-aged 3D graphics.
The gamepad I'm using works in emulation station, but doesn't work when I'm in the ROM. apparently it's due to thi issue: https://github.com/RetroPie/RetroPie-Setup/issues/564
I still haven't fixed it because I can't bring myself to screw around debugging a linux system after a long day of coding.
So, I have no doubts that many people can and should use a retropie. But, my childhood gaming experiences didn't involve the location of the RetroArchs/config folder, and I'd really rather my attempt to relive that experience as an adult didn't, either.
It did however play PS1 games using a RPi 2 almost perfectly using the original 240p resolution of the games.
Plenty of people have moved on to better technology and more sophisticated games, but let's not assume every player would get bored of these true classics.
I wish they would have put Contra instead of Super C, and Life Force (simultaneous two-player) instead of Gradius :(
It's funny how some consoles or eras of gaming have aged better than others. I think the best Dreamcast and N64 games hold up pretty well despite being from roughly the same early 3D era. Maybe it's just the old '95% of everything is crap' rule.
At the risk of insulting some people's nostalgia, I never thought the PS1 looked good. I was in my late teens at the time and didn't have any consoles, but I remember seeing the commercials on TV. Problem is, the PS1 could theoretically do 3D, but it didn't really do it very well, so a lot of games would do 15fps in order to put more graphics on the screen. But they still didn't look very good, and even back then I could tell that 15fps wasn't really enough to play a game.
It is true that it looked better at the time than it does now, but even at the time a lot of us were underwhelmed.
I'd love to see someone rip the firmware out of this thing and see what FLIRT can see. It would be pretty ironic if they sold the same emulators that they've been against for years.
In 2016, HDMI is a much better choice. Leaving it out would be strange, and saving the cost of outputting analog is worth it.
Really? When I think of Nintendo I think of "The Legend of Zelda".