The SNES Classic is finally arriving later this week (on Friday, September 29th, to be exact), but Nintendo did us a solid and sent one over early and they completely turned our weekend into a '90s retrofest instead.
From Super Mario World to F-Zero, Nintendo’s coffers seem to be overflowing with retro gaming goodies that they eagerly want to get back into the hands of fans. Here are our favorite first impressions of life with the SNES Classic.
1. It’s simple.
We have distinct memories of opening the Super Nintendo we got for Christmas in 1990 at 7am but not playing it until damn near noon, largely because setup required parents to have an engineering degree. Not the case with the SNES Classic. One HDMI wire into the TV, one Micro-USB connection for power and you’re up and running flawlessly. Just like the NES Classic, setup is a complete no-brainer here.
2. It’s tiny.
The SNES Classic has a slightly larger, squarer footprint than the NES Classic, but it’s also shorter. Either way, it barely takes up any space in your home entertainment center and probably wouldn’t be noticeable at all if it wasn’t a beautiful, instantly-recognizable little piece of nostalgia.
Nearly identical to the original, the power button still has that satisfying click when you turn it on. The reset button slides just like we remembered (now it brings you back to the main game-selection menu of the SNES Classic instead of actually resetting your game) but the eject button is there only for show since you won’t be plugging cartridges into this one any time soon. Still, the aesthetic is perfectly captured, and there’s no mistaking the SNES Classic for anything but the awesome piece of gaming history that it is.
3. It’s got perfect controllers.
We’re genuinely in awe of how exactly Nintendo has recreated the SNES controllers. Build quality is outstanding, size and shape feel great in your hand. The controller ports on the SNES Classic are actually hidden behind a plate that flips down. These controllers use the same u-shaped ports that the NES Classic uses (SNES Classic controllers can be used with the NES Classic and vice versa).
The end result is that the SNES Classic actually looks a little discombobulated when you’re playing it, but it’s easy to overlook that when the games are this good.
4. It’s got games.
While we’re not trying to review the games included in the SNES Classic, there’s not one of them that feels like a throwaway inclusion — looking at you Balloon Fight on NES Classic. Instead, the SNES Classic is brimming with the games that defined the early '90s, and even includes Starfox 2, a game that was never released and a highlight of our time with the SNES Classic so far.
Nintendo wisely chose to include two controllers in the box this time around. That’s a huge bonus that first time you fire up MarioKart and start itching to relive some Battle Mode. We chose to play in the “pixel-perfect” display mode, to see our favorite SNES games faithfully recreated the way we remembered, but no amount of dedication to that recreation can change the fact that playing a 25 year old game on a 4K 55” TV will look completely different from our memories of Zelda: A Link to the Past on a family living room’s 36” tube TV. Don’t mistake that for a complaint. 4K displays feel like they were made for 16-bit graphics after a weekend with the SNES Classic
5. It’s going to be in stock.
Well, at least that’s what Nintendo says this time. The Japanese game maker is notorious for coming up short on supply when you consider the skyrocketing demand for their systems. Still, Ninty has gone on record as saying they’ll be producing more SNES Classics for this holiday than they did NES Classics in their entire run last year, and that’s leaving us hopeful for a holiday season where anyone who wants one of these little retro recreations can have one.
Time will tell if Ninty makes good on that promise with this Friday’s launch likely to be indicative of the SNES Classic’s overall availability. We do know this; after spending a weekend with it, we’re expecting demand for Nintendo’s retro offerings to stay insane during the SNES Classic’s life cycle and beyond. Anyone up for an N64 Classic next?