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Review: The NES Classic Edition and all 30 games on it (techcrunch.com)
337 points by clbrook on Nov 8, 2016 | hide | past | web | favorite | 230 comments

> The controller ports aren’t as satisfyingly analog-feeling as the old ones, but that’s really not a big deal.

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.

I knew when I wrote it that someone would point this out — the feeling in the old connectors was like plugging in, for example, a multi-head RCA connector or something. It felt like putting a plug in a socket, connecting two analog devices like a speaker and amp - and unlike putting in a USB micro connector or DVI cable. But your point stands :)

I think what you're saying is definitely indicative of what I was trying to get at: that analog is more of a "feeling" and less of a technical term nowadays. I didn't mean to vilify you for that; I think it's a fairly widespread phenomenon, and you just happened to illustrate my point well :P

Great article, by the way!

I know that feeling, I would describe it as "robust". A chunky, solid feeling. But I would classify DVI and VGA the same, along with parallel ports, DIN (but not mini-DIN), and basically all mains power connectors.

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.

To me "analog" vs. "digital" was analogous to "continuous" vs. "discrete". I would never have called an NES controller "analog".

Agreed, especially because analog controllers have been common in video games since forever. Apple 2's joysticks were pretty much all analog. Was Pong analog? (I'm pretty sure the Atari 2600 paddle controllers were not analog, they're more like mouse wheel). The Atari 7800 had analog joysticks.

The 2600 had paddles & "driving controllers". The former were potentiometers, the latter used quadrature encoding like a mouse.

All the Pong (and clone) controllers I've come across were analog. But the Fairchild Channel F's controllers were digital.

Analog (as in continuous) was the holy grail back then. I was blown away the first time I got to try a real analog stick for a flight sim.

I've got a bit of an industrial control logic background and that's my go-to framework as well :)

I assume he was referring to the mechanical resistance while connection the plug to the port.

I think you misunderstood. He's talking about the feel of plugging in the controller. "The controller ports aren't as satisfyingly analog-feeling."

They forgot to mention one nice detail - the included controller can also be paired with a Wii or Wii U by plugging it into a Wii Remotes nunchuck port.

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.

I am assuming that's why the cable is so short. If it was long enough to connect it to the console, it would be awkwardly long when connecting it to a controller you place next to you.

I'd take awkwardly long over awkwardly short any day, the excess can be coiled and tied. If the WiiMote paired with the NES Classic then it wouldn't be so much of an issue. Keeping the cords short because they can be used with a controller that neither comes or works with the system is a bit misguided.

If only there were a way to make a short cable longer when needed. If they ever invent it I'll be able to mow my whole lawn.

There is one. Time to mow the lawn before the rest of the leaves fall.


How many of these can be used in sequence?

Quite a bit, each foot does add latency tho, if you switch from a 3 foot cable to a 10-12 one it can actually be noticeable.

What nonsense, an extra 9ft of cable is ~14ns (given it's completely passive). A human would struggle to detect 14ms (6 orders of magnitude difference) and it'll be completely swamped by polling latency.

Gamers' lack of understanding of the speed of data along a copper wire has made a lot of money for accessory manufacturers

Would you please calculate the drift velocity and the propagation velocity of the wave and the interrupt delay on the loop sense?

Before people waste time with these calculations can you explain how they relate to signals on a wire? You have mixed up some phenomena while reading up on electronics.

1A current in a standard 10 gauge wire has a drift velocity of 23m/s, the wave propagation is dependant on quite a few other factors. The SNES controller is on a 20mA loop, with short to ground IIRC and the wire is likely to be 18 or 20 gauge, the velocity is still not nearly as high as you think, since the loop is interrupted you also have a delay on the sense line. Overall a 30ft cable adds about 2-3ms of latency to the controller...

Drift velocity is irrelevant. Changes in the electric field propagate at nearly the speed of light. The fact that it's happening in a wire slows it down a little bit, but it's still measured in nanoseconds, not milliseconds.

You are off by several orders of magnitude.

There's a very handy calculator here http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/electric/miccur.h...

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.

Drift velocity is unrelated to signal propagation. Otherwise it'd take entire days for packets to cross the country to get to you, which is clearly not the case. If we want to take an analogy, signal propagation is like a sound wave in the electromagnetic field inside the conductor; in real air, the speed of sound is clearly faster than the wind.

> in real air, the speed of sound is clearly faster than the wind

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 :)

True, I'll add this.

Can you pair a Wii controller to it to act as a controller extender?

As much as I want to support Nintendo, I have to admit I've been playing NES and SNES with roms on the computer since early 2000s. My parents wouldn't buy me any game consoles or handheld devices so the computer was the only way to go.

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...

I've always had lower end hardware than my peers (still do, except at work!) so maybe you had a different experience than I did... But here goes my experience:

Emulators are much harder to play than the original console because milliseconds matter! Maybe not so much for puzzle games (like the Zelda franchise)[0] 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.

One thing to consider is this NES Classic Edition appears to be an emulator. It consists of an ARM processor and some flash memory, so it's not going to get you that cycle accurate emulation any better than the current leading emulators (other than any improvements brought about by internal knowledge held by Nintendo).

someone has torn it apart. IIRC it's a custom board, but yeah, it's just emulation.

The controller you use can make a difference in perceived responsiveness, too. If I plug an xbox 360 controller in to my Lakka box, I can't get past Piston Hondo in Punch Out (inaccurate dpad) and run off of ledges constantly in Mario (dpad issues again, plus too-slow switching between A and B buttons). Feels like it's lagging, but my PS3 controller, even over Bluetooth, eliminates the problem. Even do fine at High Speed, which is very latency-sensitive.

[edit] fix street fighter/punch out character name mixup

The main disconnect is how much buffering/pipelining there is of inputs and outputs on modern platforms. This affects native games just as much as emulators, but most people don't complain because they're used to it. Modern systems driving LCD TVs routinely hit total input latency of 5+ frames.

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.

Great points. Yeh, I was more of an RPG enthusiast. Dragonball, Pokemon etc. when I did play action games, I didn't notice too much but I'm sure you're right, there probably was delay. I didn't have controllers back then anyway. I always just used the keyboard...

After I wrote that, I found out that by my definition, this new NES is "not hardware", either. Hmm...

I guess that Nintendo has thoroughly tested it...

It is easy to ROM is but the appeal here the look, retro style and the controller. On top of that the ease for most people not wanting to setup anything.

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.

Also the cost. Many times when a product is re-released the company putting it out tries to get every penny they can from you. This could have cost double the price and many would still buy it, but it costs about the launch price of a single AAA title. If you this thing with an extra controller that is like $70 before tax. I have spent more than that on a decent mouse.

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.

>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 :-)

> I have to admit I've been playing NES and SNES with roms on the computer since early 2000s. My parents wouldn't buy me any game consoles or handheld devices so the computer was the only way to go.

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've played them all with emulators (and on my original NES when I was a kid), but I'm still irrationally excited about this.

Same here. It's very, very hard to find controllers that feel right. I've been trying with SNES controllers for years, the knockoffs have terrible button feel. I'd pay much more than $60 for a 100% solid SNES version of this.

I'm hoping that someone will figure out how to hack it, because why not! and if not, I'd still be happy to own it as is.

haha..I was definitely excited..I still am.

Some people have more respect for intellectual property rights than others.

And some people still have the cartridges laying around in boxes from 1980s and aren't in the mood to lug all that stuff out, let alone re-purchase what they already own.


I'm not bashing Nintendo's IP rights, just the notion that ROMS are inherently illegal/immoral.

It's questionable however for those who own the games they have ROMs for. If you bought and paid for them, but prefer to play them on the PC are you really harming them by playing it on a different media?

I'm not taking a side, just saying it's debatable for sure.

Some of us that don't have respect for intellectual property rights certainly understand the concept of "plausible deniability", and how it applies to an ARM system running an emulator for 30 NES roms. :)

What rights? They don't make the consoles or games anymore.

The article is literally about them making a console with these games right now.

After 25 years of them not being available, and nobody saw this coming.

Edit: downvotes aplenty, perhaps someone could tell me how I could play two player Double Dragon 2 legally until this device came out?

Many (most? all?) of these titles have been available under Virtual Console or ported to a handheld for a long time now.

Double Dragon 2 is available for the Nintendo 3DS, Wii and Wii U.

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 was intended to be more like "if you can't get hold of a game in any other way, ROMs are an invaluable resource". I didn't realise that Nintendo had such an array of old games available on new consoles.

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.

The existence of the NES Classic Edition says otherwise.

They still sell the games on the Virtual Consoles of the Wii U and the 3DS.

I agree and have re-played many favorite games on emulators. Unfortunately music / rhythm games are generally unplayable on emulators because of the added latency.

Also emulators need better CRT emulation. Crisp and/or bilinear interpolated pixels look nothing like the original games.

I've spent a solid week trying to get RetroPie to reliably work with my setup, and then decided it's just not worth the effort. I would take this over the RetroPie any time of the day.

I wonder if the author of the article realizes that "protips", while being an internet meme today, arose as nuggets of gameplay advice from GamePro magazine, some for these very games.

It hit me hard in the nostalgia feels to see that again.

I was thinking of the little bits that used to show up in Nintendo Power and manuals and stuff, but looking back on them it was always "Power tips"!

My mom bought be a four year subscription to Gamepro in the early 90s. I always read the protips first. Still read captions before anything else to this day. You took me on a nostalgia trip. Thank you.

In my experience, most small things like this that people do are very intentional.

"pro-tips" appears as a phrase in this 1970 golf magazine


But in gaming culture and all of the references you will see in this thread the phrase originated from PC Gamer as they used those words for their gaming tips.

Try again: Gamepro Magazine[0]. The "Protip" was their intellectual property.

0. http://knowyourmeme.com/memes/protip

Ugh, yeah, GamePro, sorry. I got my magazines mixed up. I wish I could edit my post.

The term caught on among gamers in the early 2000s, and eventually spread everywhere else.

IIRC, it got revived as a meme due to the popularity of a parody image with a laughably inane "tip", something like "to defeat the boss, shoot at it until it dies".

Best review of The Legend of Zelda in the last 30 years:

"Never heard of this one. Doesn’t look very good IMHO."

HAH! Definitely laughed out loud. Great collection of games.

Only negative thing I've read about this is that the controllers need a longer cable (yes, you can buy extension cables but they're $10 per controller, on a $60 system that is pricey).

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.

If this does even half as well as I expect, they would be insane not to do an SNES one. N64 and Gamecube are more interesting as, while both platforms had some good games, 1) the controllers were absurd, and 2) they don't have the same nostalgia feel with a wider audience that the first 2 Nintendo consoles do.

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.

> What gets interesting is what games do they put on the SNES? ...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 * Earthbound * F-Zero * 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 * Pilotwings * 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

That list seems a bit weighted towards JRPGs, though many are well known, and it seems like the SNES had several to choose from.

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.

I had Mortal Kombat 2 on there until right at the end. I considered the ones you mentioned. Earthworm Jim seems more like a Genesis game to me, and I didn't think Capcom would be too keen on giving Nintendo all their Mega Man games, considering they like to repackage and resell them about once every couple of years.

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.

I was going to argue that if one was going to include an MMX game, it might as well be X3, because it had a different ending than then Saturn/PSX port that more people have played. However, doing some searching, I can't find any evidence for that now. Oh well, any of them would do -- all three were good.

> 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.

It's incredibly hard to narrow down to 30. The above list is missing Super Mario RPG even though it's weighted towards JRPGs.

The problem with this list is that it's too complete. It's got most of the classics covered. For Nintendo, I imagine that's a problem for this kind of product because (1) it gives them less room to create follow-up bundles and (2) it gives players nothing new to discover, just a bunch of stuff they've already played. Therefore, I think your gut is correct regarding games like Uniracers and EVO. I would add a few other obscure titles to the mix too, like Kirby's Dream Course or Rock 'N Roll Racing.

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.

Debated adding Rock'N Roll Racing. I played it a ton back then.

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.

A list like this without Axelay, Contra and Cybernator is missing three of the greatest SNES games of all time.

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.

I love Metal Warriors, I just don't think it's high profile enough that Nintendo would likely include it. Cybernator would be more likely. I considered Axelay and ActRaiser but never really played those games so didn't have a strong opinion on them.

Hagane is super rare and virtually unknown in the US except as an underappreciated gem in Youtube videos.

Axelay is IMHO the single greatest shmup on the SNES by a large margin. It's a visual-audio masterpiece. It's not a tough as nails R-Type game, but more of an amazing experience. It was never deeply popular, but I recommend it as one of the top-10 SNES games whenever I'm asked.

You missed a Bomberman game in your list. We used to play Super Bomberman 5 (?) on an emulator and we had tons of fun.

While (relatively)lots of attention has been given to Saturn Bomberman, Bomberman 5 is a grossly underrated game especially in the battle mode. Emulation let us look at an entirely undiscovered world of games that never left the Japanese market.

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.

I did have a Super Bomberman game on there originally. I just never owned any for SNES so I didn't really know which one was the best. I mostly played them on Gameboy.

In case you missed MMO version http://bombermine.com/.

I would replace super street 2 fighter turbo with street fighter turbo 2. Both excellent games but the non-super version had a bigger impact. Or the regular SF2: the world warrior would work. Though its a little bit slow to play without turbo speed.

I played a loooot more Turbo (It was one of the games I received with the system on my birthday), but figured the extra fighters made the Super the one Capcom would most likely add.

If they go with most impact then turbo would be it. If my player count then super.

Unrelated: a cinema nearby has a Japanese turbo cabinet that im dying to purchase. :)

The fact you included Tetris attack makes me automatically really like you.

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).

Tetris Attack is one of my favorite games ever, and coincidentally helped get me my first job in the video game industry. I was asked what my favorite game was, and I said "Right now, probably Tetris Attack." I didn't realize I was speaking to people who used to work for Bulletproof Software, and worked on Tetris for Gameboy.

Tetris for gameboy is secretly my favorite multiplayer gaming experience of all time.

> Super Street Fighter II Turbo

That's not a SNES game. There is Street Fighter II, Street Fighter II Turbo, Super Street Fighter II and Street Fighter Alpha 2.

You're right. I originally had just Turbo on there, then decided to switch it to Super Street Fighter 2. Guess I was mistaken about Turbo also being part of that title.

I like those choices, especially Harvest Moon.

Personally would add Puyo Puyo and Kriby's Dream Course

People still love the Gamecube controllers for Smash Brothers that 1) Nintendo still makes new Gamecube controllers [0], and 2) they created a port to allow you to play Wii U with old Gamecube controllers [1].

[0] https://store.nintendo.com/ng3/us/po/browse/productDetailCol... [1] https://store.nintendo.com/ng3/us/po/browse/productDetailCol...

Smash players are crazy :). I don't know that I've heard of anyone else who uses those.

Am smash player, can confirm... crazy.

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.

I don't think you can use them with other things.

I thought you were wrong.

And then I found out you weren't: https://i.imgur.com/ZnqrGPF.jpg

> they don't have the same nostalgia feel with a wider audience that the first 2 Nintendo consoles do.

Oh, yes they do.

Sincerely, Born in the late 80's

I'm older but N64 and GC are my first consoles because my parents could never afford a console for us (we had pong though!) so N64 was my first when I was working.

I'd like to see one where you can buy packs of games. Shooter pack, square RPG pack, Nintendo classics pack, etc...

Probably makes things a lot more difficult though.

yeah one with an SD cart system or the like would be even better, but I would totally take another thing like this as the fallback.

It's really unfortunate about the controller cables. The length is roughly the same as the Wii classic controller.

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.

It might prove cheaper to extend the power/HDMI cables and bring the console closer instead... Though that still means sitting close to the other player, who you may or may not want to hit with a controller at some point in the game :)

There are only so many times that I will repurchase the same old games for the sake of nostalgia. This isn't like re-buying the white album again because the record vinyl wore out. Nor is it re-buying Thriller because the cassette tape broke. This is more akin to that time you bought Beauty and the Beast on Blu-Ray when you already bought it on DVD and on VHS.

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.

I've never purchased most these games because they weren't previously available to me at a reasonable price. (SMS as a kid, remakes for GBA were expensive, etc. etc.) For me, this product is pretty darned attractive. I tend to enjoy classic games more than most modern ones, and it gives me a much-desired way to play retro games without pirating them, at a pretty darn decent price.

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.

They say that is running linux because they found some GPL licenses on the legal notice, but that notice didn't say anything about linux.

Thanks for clarifying that.

How long until someone figures out how to load retropi or another os onto it?

Wonder if it uses a 3rd party or inhouse emulator.

I hope this sells well as I would love to see a SNES/Famicon Classic Edition. That was the console of my childhood :)

The NES Classics hardware is such massive overkill for NES emulation that I suspect they designed the platform to be reused in a future SNES Classic.


Interesting. I knew it would be good enough to do SNES games but I am quite surprised it is actually more powerful than the 3DS and Wii. Then again the Wii is 10 years old so yeah it makes sense. Wow that 10 years went fast.

There can be a lot of emulation overhead, depending on how the emulation is done. So the fact that the hardware is more powerful than the Wii doesn't mean you could successfully do a high-fidelity Wii emulator on it.

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.

This thing has better hardware specs than the 3DS and the Wii. It'd be nice if this sold well and they then offered a SNES controller + games, then N64, and so on, so the only games it can't run are on the Wii U or Switch. (Edit: beaten to it.. ah well.)

Fwiw, if you buy a Wii for $50 at GameStop, you can connect to the internet over wifi and buy many NES, SNES, GameCube, and N64 games for it and play them natively on the Wii. Here are some games we downloaded for our kids and all play together:

    Super Metroid
    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
    Sonic 3
    Kirby's Dreamland 3

Yeah I have a handful for my favourite SNES games from the Wii Virtual Console. But my Wii has long been retired to a storage cupboard. Plus I would like a proper SNES controller for that authentic feel :) I keep thinking about doing a RetroPi and get a USB SNES controller but it isn't a priority for me really. Would be nice to be able to support Nintendo with a £50 SNES Classic next year though!

You can get a SNES to USB adapter on Amazon/eBay for not much, plug and play pretty much, just need to map it to your emulator.

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 :(

I wanted this for Christmas.

Every supplier in my area has sold out multiple times already.

It'd be neat to see emulators of this quality on the Switch, which looks like it's going to be a fantastic console. OTOH, quite a bit more expensive for the consumer!

What I find odd is that no retailer seems to have pre-orders. Game Stop says "Unavailable" and the same on Amazon. Nintendo doesn't have it listed to pre-order on its site either.

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.

Nintendo has been burned on preorders many times before, with many scalpers getting chunks of the inventory. Even some unscrupulous distributors are clearly putting inventory up on ebay for 3 times the price of retail.

I don't know why there's no pre-orders, but that may be the reason.

Isn't restricting supply standard operating procedure for Nintendo? I want to think that I read about that with the original NES and SNES in Console Wars, but I could be mistaken.

Same with the Wii when it first came out. Couldn't get one for months and finally I gave up.

And bizarrely, they don't charge a premium at launch.

Everywhere seems to have sold out their preorder allocation, you need a time machine to go back to July when it was first announced to place an order I think...

Oh wow I didn't realize that is when pre-orders were. Maybe I will get lucky at a local store on 11/11.

I don't recall it being available for pre-order when I looked. Because I had definitely planned to do that.

I called my local Game Stop and they said they will have stock. First come, first serve.

The first time this was announced, I was excited to pick one up. From the article comments, I read about RetroPie. Since I had a raspberry pi lying around, I loaded it with BerryBoot and put RetroPie on it. A 20 year old Playstation to USB controller adapter just worked on RetroPie. We used an old xbox controller for the second controller and have had a ton of fun playing old SNES 2 player games. For the people not willing to put in that much work, this system will work perfectly.

I have a feeling this thing is going to be the tickle me elmo of 2016

Suppressed supply has long been in Nintendo's playbook

An astounding inability to get a product to market in any sort of reasonable numbers.

Back in the day it was intentional.

don't encourage the scalpers

Seems more of a warning to people that are late to Christmas shopping. Very likely this will be on eBay for $100 if short supply from Nintendo.

Nintendo seems to do nothing BUT short-supply their hardware, based on their history with amiibo, the gamecube controller accessory, the original wii, pokewalkers...

There are already a lot of completed "presale" sales on eBay for $125-$189.

*resource allocators


I wonder how much it would cost for the entire NES catalog, or even if they would be able to do that (b/c of licensing issues). I feel like if I bought this thing I would think about some game from my childhood and it wouldn't be included.

> Notice something about the title? Yeah, it isn’t Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!! The game is exactly the same, but you fight a palette-swapped Tyson at the end — they made him white and changed his name to Mr. Dream. Sad, really, but how often did you even get that far? Turns out this is a great party game.

What a shame :( I wonder how much extra money it would have cost them for the licensing.

The NES did have Punch Out cartridges with Mr Dream. Mike Tyson was only part of a 3-year licensing deal Nintendo decided not to renew[1]. So all cartridges sold after 1990 had Mr Dream. Also, it wasn't just a palette swap (but it was similar) [2][3]

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Punch-Out!!_(NES)#Punch-Out.21... [2] https://static1.squarespace.com/static/50d0fc0ae4b0c75e54db0... [3] http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/db528cfd3fffe07...

I don't think it's a license issue, it was more of that Mike Tyson criminal convictions that caused Nintendo to replace him when they re released the game.

It's both. The licence expired and Nintendo didn't renew for obvious reasons. Also the game was rereleased for the nes as punch out in 1990, so it's still an authentic original nes game.

Ah ok, guess that makes sense.

He was removed from the game because Nintendo didn't want to really be associated with him after the rape case conviction in the early 90s.

I'm pretty sure I remember getting that far. We even figured out how to actually win. I don't remember now how we got the knowledge - this was waaay before the internet and in a third world country.

Good times.

$60. $60!

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 distinctly remember that getting 'Strider' for Sega Genesis as a birthday present had to count as the entire gift from my parents because of its $80 price tag. And that's in 1990 dollars!

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. I thought the increase from $50-60 a few years ago was crazy. I had no idea prices back then were higher.

Looks like it is Allwinner R16 SoC - Quad A7 + MAli 400.


Wow - but I can see that it will be cheap.

This is something I look forward to purchasing all in (System, 2 controllers, cable extenders) for $30 in the Fall of 2017, because it doesn't look like a DRM/lock-in type system and I get a hunch these will pop up on CraigsList with regularity in the not too distant future. $60 + $10 + $20 for extension controllers adds up to me (that's 24 sets of guitar strings at 3 for $10 deal prices) but I'm not mentioning this to complain about their pricing model. I think it'll do great. Hence my eager anticipation to get one eventually.

What does DRM have to do with future / second hand pricing?

Oh man, when I was ten, the neighbor's kids had an NES, and we spent entire weekends in front of it. It did eventually die down when we discovered AD&D, but still - we spent a lot of time playing Mario Bros, Zelda, etc. The wave of nostalgia hitting me is irresistible.

Just checked: Amazon (in Germany) knows of this thing, but says it is not available. Does not list a price, either. :-(

Techcrunch must have had a pre-release version for the review…the release date is 11 November (10 November for Australia/Japan). EU pricing is reportedly €59.95.

Amazon (in the US) sold out of all of it's Preorders within hours of the preorder launch a few months back.

The release of this actually prompted me to finally build a hardware emulator using Raspberry Pi and RetroPie. For about the same price, you can get a box and controller that will run Everything from N64 and PS1 down to the old school Ataris and NES games. Not a bad project and all the necessary kit is available on Amazon...

Plus you get added bonus of not giving the money to the people who made the games.

I do use emulation, but they are making an effort to sell the games.

I get it. It's a compromise, since I owned all those original systems back in the day.

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.

> $30+ per game

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.

At reply limit, but costs are all over the place... I was initially looking at N64 games in my scan, which is where I got the $30 for Ocarina of Time. Point stands, having a fully expandable/upgradable multi-system solution would cost far to much to be reasonable - especially considering this is paying for a medium shift on items I've already purchased.

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.

They are running out of stock and nobody can buy it now even if they want to. Copyright infringement reflects unmet demand as opposed to "lost sales".

Good luck getting your hands on one. Nintendo appears to be botching the supply chain (as usual!). Stores know this will be one of the hottest products of the season but my contacts tell me they are getting very little information on when they will get more after the first day sellout and how many.

I mentioned this above, but I wonder if they are trying to stymie scalpers.

People bashing retropie and says that this is a replacement for it but that is not true. It has only 30 games, no way of buying new games and (probably?) no controller support. If new nes had all this it would be an insta-buy for me but currently it is just a bad console.

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.

What I did was buy a for $80 bucks the original console. $20 for a new pin so games played right away, and got a 150 in 1 cartridge.

30 games? Pfff.

The timing couldn't be better. My daughter is turning 7 just before Xmas and this is going under the tree!

Cool that your daughter is willing to play retro games (I assume), I tried to get my teenage nephews to play FF7 and as soon as they saw the blocky graphics they noped the f out. Sigh.

The funny thing is, FF7 (and other early 3d games) aged far worse than early 2d games. There's a resurgence in indie platformers in the style of 2d games, while most of the 3d games from the N64/Playstation era just look outdated.

As someone too young to have played FF7 when it first came out, I recently tried to play the PC port, but I just couldn't get used to the graphics... I don't know of any other famous game that's that ugly. Anything sprite-based looks just fine to me, and when it comes to 3D, even Nintendo's N64 classics, while they take some getting used to, aren't as absurdly blocky-looking as FF7. Maybe I'll try again some time, but I suspect I'll end up waiting for the remake.

I actually have just, over the past few months, been playing all the Final Fantasy/Square games that I never experienced. I played them in the following order: FF4 (USA FF2), FF6 (USA FF3), Secret of Mana, Chrono Trigger, FF5, and FF7. I just started FF9.

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

"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.)

I really wish jRPG developers would just give up on expensive 3D graphics and go the way of Ni no Kuni and Saga Frontier 2. Suits the genre perfectly.

For old SNES-era RPGs, if you haven't already played them, I'd also suggest Earthbound and Seiken Densetsu 3. (And, in a completely different style, Super Mario RPG; it's Nintendo/Square, and it feels very Square-ish.)

> The SNES era really stands out to me as the high-water mark for JRPGs


Yeah, I'm the same. It's a shame since I hear it's a great game, but the graphics turn me off. I still play earlier 2d RPGs (chrono trigger, earthbound, etc.) and PS2 era 3d RPGs (shin megami tensei, suikoden), but I never play PS1 era games.

The NES and SNES eras have a pretty significant enduring appeal and are in the middle of a pretty lengthy resurgence, but you don't see nearly as much mainstream nostalgia for the previous 2D generation, like the Atari 2600. The graphics are just a little too primitive for most people, I think.

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.

It actually looks like the PS1/Quake-era kinda style might be coming in as a smaller trend. You've got games like Devil Daggers[1] and shaders like this: https://github.com/dsoft20/psx_retroshader

[1] http://store.steampowered.com/app/422970

I agree; that's what's rough about 3D graphics that tries to be photorealistic and the uncanny valley. When it's released, it's the best thing ever, but it ages far worse than stylized animation. Cell shading seems to hold up well IMO.

Luckily, there's more to great games like the FF series than once-photorealistic now-aged 3D graphics.

IMO sprites have aged better than early 3D.

It doesn't have Faxanadu! Am I the only one missing it? Btw, a lot of games were unknown to me. I used to play Zelda II, which is a REALLY good game and the Marios, but I hardly remember the others. Maybe I have to blame the Italian importer at the time...

Balloon Fight was likely included because it was programmed by the late Nintendo CEO, Satoru Iwata.

Would anybody else much rather get a raspberry pi and $30 in supplies to make it themself?

I think it's nice to have a Thing That Just Works once in a while. I never use consoles (my ps4 sits unused) because every time I turn it on, I have to mess with updates and stuff. I just want to turn something on, play it for 10 minutes, and stop. This will be perfect for me.

I recently did this. I bought a case, a controller, an SD card, and other stuff detailed in Jeff Atwood's Retropie blog post. I hooked all this up to my TV, installed retropie, FTP'd ROMs over, and...

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.

I too recently went down this route, while my experience with Retropie was relatively smooth, I'd would recommend also giving Recalbox and Lakka a try, I feel they're a bit more polished atm (at the cost of limited configuration). Recalbox uses EmulationStation simular to Retropie, while Lakka uses libretro. I settled on Recalbox.

Yeah I tried doing a whole RetroPie route about a year and a half ago using wireless Xbox 360 controllers. Remapping controls for different consoles was a huge pain in the ass at the time. I'm sure it has improved since then, but I don't have the patience right now in case it doesn't work as smoothly as I would like.

It did however play PS1 games using a RPi 2 almost perfectly using the original 240p resolution of the games.

No. This looks cool, is ready to use and apparently hassle-free. Plus I don't have to pirate the games.

It'll come out to the same cost when you factor in the controller. This seems sturdier, includes all the games (legally), and can be easily resold when you inevitably get bored and realize you purchased a 30 year old console system.

Too pessimistic. Some people, such as myself, haven't stopped playing these games since the 80s. I can beat SMB easily within ten minutes, but I still get a lot of enjoyment every run. (To say nothing of the other fantastic titles!)

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 have a RetroPi setup with a ton of games that plays great... I'll still be picking one of these up on the 11th.

No. It's in impulse buy territory, Just Works, is legal, and doesn't require an investment of my time doing something that's, frankly, just paint-by-numbers (in that it's not a particularly interesting project).

Insta-buy, just wish the cords for the controllers were a bit longer but I guess they kept it real. Only real bummer is no Contra (they have the sequel), Metal Gear, Cobra Triangle or Blaster Master, maybe next batch.

I begged them to add blaster master and bionic commando but no!

> Only real bummer is no Contra (they have the sequel)

I wish they would have put Contra instead of Super C, and Life Force (simultaneous two-player) instead of Gradius :(

Or even better, Probotector and Probotector II: Return of the Evil Forces (the European and Australian versions of Contra and Super C that replaced the main dude-bros with robotic soldiers)! :)

I had the original cartridge of this Zelda, which I played a lot without realizing it was already a pretty famous game (with the SNES sequence already out). A friend of mine lost the cartridge. I forgive him now.

The fact is that no one would ever buy a "Playstation Classic".

I would for sure! Tekken, Metal Gear Solid, Wipeout, Resident Evil, Castlevania, Final Fantasy, TOCA, Colin McRae, Soul Blade, Tomb Raider, Legacy of Kain, Crash Bandicoot, Chrono Cross, Quake 2, Red Alert, Street Fighter Alpha, Tony Hawks, Spyro, Driver, Gran Turismo.

I'd be interested in Metal Gear Solid and Symphony of the Night but little else.

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.

The Dreamcast is significantly more powerful than a PS1. It's much closer to the PS2. IIRC it's actually better than a PS2 on a couple of specific specs, though the PS2 is generally more powerful.

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.

N64 games, apart from a few select titles, are rough. That entire console generation does not hold up well.

Digimon, yugioh and tekken. Would buy instantly for three digit sums.

Why? I would buy it.

Anyone know if the emulator in this allows the -1 world trick in super Mario Bros? I have the wii u vc version but that doesn't...

From everything I've heard, it's a bit-for-bit emulation, so probably?

So Nintendo is presumably just packaging some kind of modified FOSS emulator with their games?


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.

Apparently, NERD aka Nintendo European Research and Development developed a new emulator.


its not new, it has same audio distortion as the wii one

I'd presume they use the virtual console codebase, not a FOSS emulator.

It's funny that the NES Classic has an HDMI output, and the Wii has a composite video output.

The Wii came with a composite cable for maximum compatibility and component video for high quality. In 2006, many people still had CRTs with no HDMI and there's not a whole lot of visible difference between component and hdmi.

In 2016, HDMI is a much better choice. Leaving it out would be strange, and saving the cost of outputting analog is worth it.

At this point it's cheaper to have just HDMI output rather than some sort of composite/component. Plus, the Wii couldn't achieve anything above 480p/576i... this has upscaling to 1080p for the "highest quality pixels" as well as its CRT shader mode.

if they released this with the entire NES library on it I would pay more.

Seems quite a bit larger than it needs to be.

I wish someone would also do this for C64.

I have no luck pre-ordering one in Europe

there goes my winter.


We've banned this account.

I can't tell if the part under "The Legend of Zelda" is sarcasm or I'm really that old:

"Never heard of this one. Doesn’t look very good IMHO."

Really? When I think of Nintendo I think of "The Legend of Zelda".

It was sarcasm. It is the most recognizable game title in the world. His ProTip for Zelda II is a reference to a fluke character name [0]. The author definitely knows the original, The Legend of Zelda, and gave it that review as acknowledgement that Zelda needs no review.

[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I_am_Error

You can rest assured it is sarcasm.

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