Unless you’ve just woken up or have been spending today hiding under a proverbial rock, you’d be well aware that today Nintendo announced, to absolutely no-one’s surprise, their successor to the NES Mini. The slightly awkwardly named Nintendo Classic Mini: Super Nintendo Entertainment System will be released in Australia and New Zealand on September 30th with a suggested retail price of AU$119.95. Pre-orders can already be made at the respective websites of JB Hi-Fi and EB Games, with JB taking a $1 deposit and EB taking $30. The The Nintendo USB AC Adapter (SRP AU$19.95, sold separately) will also launch on the same date, and although Nintendo suggests it’s ‘required’ to play the system, any old USB power supply should also work.
Not to put too fine a point on it, the 21 built in games for the system is quite a stellar (albeit a little slim) collection. Ranging from triple-A first party titles to a smattering of third party gems, it’s hard to think of a better collection. As a bonus, the never released Star Fox 2 will be included. Yes it’s possible to play leaked, incomplete, and fan-subbed versions of this title, but it will be the first time it has ever been officially playable and (presumably) complete.
Here’s the full list of games:
There’s not a single dud amongst this lot, especially if you grew up as a gamer in the 90s. Every game is highly rated in most circles. Sure, an argument could be made for other SNES games that should have been pre-loaded onto the SNES mini. And Super Bomberman, as pointed out by Lifehacker, seems like an obvious exclusion. No-one will ever be entirely happy with this sort of release, and with the hundreds if not thousands of hours of potential gameplay built in (RPG’s aplenty), the value proposition is high on this one. Kudos to Nintendo for including a second controller in the package too, as well as longer controller cables than the NES Mini. On the flip-side, 21 games could be considered a bit miserly given the size of flash based storage these days (see below about the Genesis and Atari Flashbacks), and the need to purchase an external USB power brick is annoying. Still, Nintendo could’ve probably got away with charging double and the SNES Mini would’ve still marched out the door of every retailer. To purchase a SNES, every game on the list, a converter for Super Mario RPG (which was never released in Australia), and a decent HDMI upscaler might not leave much change out of $1000 in the current retro market.
Yes, consoles or a Raspberry Pi or a computer loaded with any number of appropriate emulators can run these games and many more. Legalities aside, that’s not the point. The fact that Nintendo (and others, see below) can see the value in releasing products like this demonstrates that retro gaming is alive and well and, cynicism aside, profitable. If this is your thing, and it’s a lot of peoples’ thing judging by the reactions online today, each purchase won’t only ensure hours of fun, it’ll send a message that interest in retro gaming transcends the modern gamer – it’s in a lot of people’s DNA. I’d expect many more retro themed products from more companies in the near future.
The elephant in the room is the fiasco that was the lack of supply of the NES Mini, and the resultant scalping. I’m sure the attention was initially good press for Nintendo, but even they became defensive once it became obvious that they couldn’t meet demand. To this day, the cancelling of the product still baffles me. To their credit, Nintendo have already jumped on the front foot with this one, releasing an official statement already:
We aren’t providing specific numbers, but we will produce significantly more units of Super NES Classic Edition than we did of NES Classic Edition. Super Nintendo Entertainment System: Super NES Classic Edition is currently planned to ship from Sept. 29 until the end of calendar year 2017. At this time, we have nothing to announce regarding any possible shipments beyond this year.
This. Is. Good. Until the end of the year anyway.
I’m not at all surprised about the generally positive reactions to this device. I am a little baffled, however, about the more muted response to the recent announcements of the Sega Genesis Flashback and the Atari Flashback 8, both released and distributed by AtGames. In case you missed it, here’s a summary of what was announced (thanks to AtariAge):
- Atari Flashback 8 Gold – 120 games, two 2.4ghz wireless controllers, legacy controller ports, 720p HDMI output, scan line filtering, and a save/pause/rewind feature.
- Atari Flashback 8 Gold Activision Edition – 130 games, including 39 Activision classics, two 2.4ghz wireless controllers, legacy controller ports, authentic paddle controllers, 720p HDMI output, scan line filtering, and a save/pause/rewind feature.
- Atari Flashback 8 Classic Game Console – 105 games, two wired controllers, two legacy controller ports, composite video out.
- Atari Flashback Portable Game Player – 70 built-in games, SD card slot to add more games, built-in rechargeable battery, high resolution 2.8” display, TV output.
- Sega Genesis Flashback – design reminiscent of the original console, 85 built-in games, integrated cartridge port that plays almost all Sega Genesis and Mega Drive cartridges, two 2.4ghz wireless controllers, two legacy controller ports, 720p HDMI output, scan line filtering, and a save/pause/rewind feature.
- Classic (Sega) Game Console – 81 games, two wired controllers, two legacy controller ports, composite video out.
- Ultimate Portable (Sega) Game Player – 85 built-in 16-bit Sega Genesis and Mega Drive games, SD card slot to add more games, built-in rechargeable battery, save game support, high resolution 2.8” display, TV output.
Wow! The highlights there are definitely the Sega Genesis Flashback with 85 built in games (see what they did there Nintendo?), HDMI output, and a cartridge port for your own games. Of the built in games 42 are Genesis / Mega Drive games including classics such as Mortal Kombat I, II, III, the Sonic series, Golden Axe I, II, III (II is horrible though), the Shining Force series, and Phantasy Star IV. The non-Sega games look like generic muck unfortunately (click here for the full list). Hopefully the poor controllers and sound problems from previous iterations of AtGames Sega consoles have been remedied. The Atari Flashback 8 Gold Activision Edition (are they only up to 8? It seems like AtGames releases a new Atari Flashback every few weeks) also looks like a great purchase for those who are into the early 8-bit games. Unfortunately, each of the Atari consoles includes games that aren’t on the other versions (comparison lists can be found in this MS Excel file or on this PDF document), which means even the Gold Activision Edition is missing some games. Hopefully future iterations of both the Atari and Sega home consoles will also include SD card slots like the portable consoles.
I haven’t heard about an official Australian release date for these consoles, but you can pre-order the Mega Drive Flashback from EB Games for a not unreasonable $149.95. The pre-order link includes a legit looking Mega Drive logo on the box, so fingers crossed the other AtGames consoles also arrive in Australia at some point in time soon.
So there you have it. Lots of ‘new’ retro hardware will be available to us in the next few months. And I haven’t even touched on the POLYMEGA or the Hyperkin Retron 77 or the already infamous AtariBox yet (some news about that more accurate than most media outlets’ speculation soon enough). We’ll have reviews and opinion about some of these retro consoles as soon as they’re in our hands.