Nintendo just unveiled an unexpected new piece of hardware to be released this year, the “Nintendo Classic Mini: Nintendo Entertainment System” (or “Nintendo Entertainment System: NES Classic Edition ” in the US). This new device which appeared out of the blue is a Nintendo made plug and play games system, which will emulate the original Nintendo Entertainment System, and is preloaded with thirty games!
Nintendo of America president and COO, Reggie Fils-Aime said:
We wanted to give fans of all ages the opportunity to revisit Nintendo’s original system and rediscover why they fell in love with Nintendo in the first place. The Nintendo Entertainment System: NES Classic Edition is ideal for anyone who remembers playing the NES, or who wants to pass on those nostalgic memories to the next generation of gamers.
I want to start by saying that I understand that there is an inherent concern when it comes to plug and play devices. They are often times made unofficially, or licenced out to companies that place low price over quality. However, we’re not talking about some counterfitters workshop from the deepest darkest jungles of Silicon Valley, this is official hardware, produced by Nintendo themselves. They aren’t cloning the technology and hoping it works.
The new take on the old system will connect to your TV via and up to date HDMI cable, and comes packaged with a single NES controller, (controllers will also be sold separately) which connects directly to the Nintendo Classic Mini, and uses the same connection as the Wii-motes, making it compatible with the Wii and Wii U. Being that it’s the same connector, other Nintendo classic controllers that have been previously released for the Wii and Wii U are compatible with this new device.
One potential downside, is that this console doesn’t come with a power cable in the box, though the European version does come with a USB cable, which I can only assume is designed to be plugged into a USB wall charger, rather than the back of your Wii U.
Being more of a plug and play style device, there are no cartridges with this system, and sadly the cartridge slot doesn’t open. When questioned by Kotaku, Nintendo confirmed that there are is no way load additional games onto the device, stating:
The console is a standalone device, so it cannot connect to the internet or any external storage devices. The 30 games included with the system were chosen to provide a wide variety of top-quality, long-lasting game-play experiences.
These games are:
- Balloon Fight
- BUBBLE BOBBLE
- Castlevania II: Simon’s Quest
- Donkey Kong
- Donkey Kong Jr.
- DOUBLE DRAGON II: THE REVENGE
- Dr. Mario
- FINAL FANTASY
- GHOSTS ‘N GOBLINS
- Ice Climber
- Kid Icarus
- Kirby’s Adventure
- Mario Bros.
- MEGA MAN 2
- NINJA GAIDEN
- Punch-Out!! Featuring Mr. Dream
- SUPER C
- Super Mario Bros.
- Super Mario Bros. 2
- Super Mario Bros. 3
- TECMO BOWL
- The Legend of Zelda
- Zelda II: The Adventure of Link
While these are certainly a wide assortment of quality games, I honestly I think this is a major mistake by Nintendo. Look, I understand what they want from this device, a simple plug an play system that showcases the best of a bygone era in a way that catches your nostalgia, and it’s worked. My preorder is down! However it strikes me as too insular seeing as the Virtual Console is a thing that exists. In the lead up to shifting console generations, where there are a lot of questions as to whether Virtual Console will even be supported on the NX, releasing a cheap, dedicated Virtual Console system to the public may have been the confidence booster we needed that our money spent on the VC games was not wasted.
The device is coming in at a rather reasonably prices $99.99 AU ($59.99 US). Now that may sound like a lot for a plug and play device, but if you ignore the hardware and focus on just the games themselves, you the full price of the console and divide it across the 30 games, and you are looking at individual games that cost $3.33 AU (or $2 US). That is currently nearly half the price of buying the same games on the Nintendo eShop. Now reintroduce the hardware, and this is a spectacular deal! I already own a number of the games on this list, and it still works out a better deal than buying them on the eShop.
Additionally, the controllers will be available to purchase separately if you want a second player controller in the NES style, or if you just want to get a more retro feel while playing your virtual console games on the Wii U. These are currently looking to be price very cheaply at only $19.95 AU ($9.99 US).
The Nintendo Classic Mini: Nintendo Entertainment System, will be available November 10th in Australia, and November 11th everywhere else.
If this product does well, I’d like to look forward to seeing other similar releases, like a sequel to this one in the style of a Famicom, or alternate colours with different games loaded, maybe a “yellowed plastic” edition. I’d alsy be very welcoming of an SNES plug and play device. If this new direction for mini preloaded, classic games consoles continues on with a number variants across the video gaming generations, this could very well be a licence for Nintendo to print money!