Welcome to NES Classic Review, a website dedicated to the Nintendo NES Classic Edition. Here, we take a in-depth look at this groundbreaking console emulator – The NES Classic Edition.
Featuring 30 classic games from the original Nintendo Entertainment System, this faithful recreation brings the 80’s nostalgia back home, and it fits in the palm of your hand! Anyone alive in the early 80’s will instantly appreciate what this small device has to offer – and it’s going to be a hit with anyone who has a love for Nintendo.
Read on for the full review of the Nintendo Classic Edition…
Firstly, let’s look at the device itself. It’s super tiny, about the same size as an original NES cartridge, and fits into the palm of your hand. Seriously, it’s smaller then you think. In terms of looks, it’s a beautiful recreation of the original Nintendo Entertainment System.
Unlike the original thou, there’s no moving parts, and so that cartridge slot isn’t real. Still thou, it’s very cute, and everyone will remark on how it looks just like a shrunk down version of the original NES.
On the outside of the tiny box lies the same two buttons that were on the original NES – Power & Reset. Obviously the power button controls power – you hit it and the NES instantly turns on. The reset button has a entirely new functionality, which we go into below…
Once you’re turned on, there’s a once-off language selection which is skipped once selected – the next time you turn on, it goes straight to the game menu.
The Game Menu
The menu is fresh and responsive, but still has that nostalgic 80’s feel to it. Nintendo have put a lot of effort into making the game selection menu user friendly – and it’s quite pleasant to use.
Using left and right, you can scroll through the selection of 30 games. This may seem to be time intensive but it’s actually very quick, and it gives you a chance to explore games you may not have played before. Once selected the game loads almost instantly.
Accessing the settings menu is very easily – just hit ‘up’ on the controller. Here, you’ll find display options, again the language selection (that’s first shown when starting up, in case you decide to learn another language), demo / screensaver and auto shutdown options.
There’s also a link to download the original game manuals – unfortunately they’re not included within the NES Classic Edition console.
Hitting ‘down’ on the gamepad brings up the suspect menu, which deserves it’s own section, so read on…
The Games List
There are 30 games on the NES Classic Mini, and here they are in alphabetical order :
Castlevania II: Simon’s Quest
Donkey Kong Jr.
Double Dragon II: The Revenge
Legend OF Zelda
Mega Man 2
Punch-Out! Featuring Mr. Dream
Super Mario Bros.
Super Mario Bros. 2
Super Mario Bros. 3
Zelda II: The Adventure of Link
Control Issues & Short Cables
The controllers for the NES Classic look and feel identical to the original, although the buttons have a slightly different feel – perhaps a little stiffer. Hard to compare to a 30 year old machine that’s had a lot of wear and tear.
These controllers have the same connectors as the Wii & Wii U, so you could use them on these as well, which is a extra bonus!
Unfortunately, Nintendo seem to have dropped the ball on this. The included controller’s cable is simply too short. It measures at around 60cm, which means you need to have the actual NES Classic next to you when gaming. This could be an intentional move from Nintendo, as you really need the console nearby so you can access the reset button.
It is perplexing however, why Nintendo haven’t give us some extra length. Unless you like looking at your big screen TV in super close up mode, you’re going to want to invest an a longer HDMI and USB Power cable, so you can bring the NES Classic closer to you, yet far enough away so you can enjoy the retro game goodness without ruining your eyes!
Nintendo have ‘hit the home run’ with the emulation on the NES Classic. It’s crisp, clear, colors are nice and saturated, and there’s no weird graphical or gaming issues that are so common with emulators.
Controls are responsive, there’s no lag or buffering, and the sound is indistinguishable from the original (perhaps a little better considering it’s lo longer running thru a RF converter and coming out a small TV speaker)
You won’t find any attempt to make the 30 games look any ‘better’ then they originally were : There’s no frame interpolation or smoothing done at all – but the games still look great. All the nuances in the original games are here – from the small graphical glitches to the slow downs that used to occur when things get hectic (Remember when Galaga used to slow down?)
Reset / Suspend / Save
A new addition, different from the original NES Console, is the functionality of the reset button. Hitting reset will bring you back to the game menu we mentioned earlier. Cool right? Expected – Yes! However what is especially cool, is the ability to save game states.
Jumping back to the game menu via reset presents you with a screenshot of your game – sitting there, frozen in emulated time. Hitting the down button on the controller brings up the suspend menu. You’ve got four slots for each game, where you can store different game states.
This is a great edition for getting past tough levels, as you can continually go back to exactly where you froze the game – high score and all! One thing to note is that this is a system-wide function, so if you have a game that can save it’s own state, such as Zelda or Super Mario Bros 3, you’re best picking one method and sticking with it.
Warm & Fuzzies…
Part of the 80’s nostalgia surrounding the Nintendo Entertainment System was the memory of sitting around a TV, and sitting close to the screen to get the best view on the action. If you can remember, back then TV’s were typically no bigger then 12-15 inches, and completely analogue.
The original NES connected to the TV via a RF (Radio Frequency) modulator, and sometimes the tuning needed messing with, to get the TV tuned in properly.
Nintendo have taken this unique aspect of retro gaming and recreated it as a selectable mode within the NES Classic – called ‘CRT Filter’. Switch it on, and you’ll instantly get that same warm and fuzzy picture that you’ll have grown to love. There’s three modes to choose from:
- CRT Filter – Makes the picture look fuzzy, soft, and puts scan lines through it.
- 4:3 – Stretches the image so that it fits within a 4:3 ratio. Doesn’t look bad at all, but it does introduce some blurring.
- Pixel Perfect : Displays the screen with square pixels, which gives you the cleanest picture, at the price of the picture looking a bit squashed.
Overall, we prefer the 4:3 Mode. The Pixel Perfect mode looks a bit too clinical and narrowed, whilst the CRT Filter is overdone and looks like crap!
Is It Worth Buying?
The NES Mini offers really good value, and it’s price point is very attractive. If you’re looking for a gift for that special someone, then they’re guaranteed to love it. For around $2 per game, you’re getting a faithful recreation of a classic gaming console, in a visually appealing package.
As for the games, they are wonderful to play again, with the emulation being crisp and clean, the added save state functionality is an added bonus, and it all comes in a tiny box that easily connects to your current setup with ease.
That being said, you’re probably best adding a few things to your purchase :
Extra Controller : $10 US. As the NES Classic Mini only comes with one controller – you’re going to want to purchase a second so you can play with your friends
Controller Extension Cable : The very small length of the controller cable could be a big downer for some people, depending on their home theatre / flat screen TV setup. If you want some length with room to move, we advise you buy a extension cable
Long HDMI Cable : Even with a controller extension cable, you want easy access to the NES Classic’s reset button, so you can jump straight back into the games menu, and save game states.
We recommend you invest in a longish (5 meters) HDMI Cable so you can run the NES Classic on your table, or wherever is close to you, but gives you enough distance between your eyes and your large flat screen TV.
Carrying Case : You can find a case made just for the NES Classic, which holds the console and two controllers. Click here for more information.
Where to Buy, and How Much?
Demand for the NES Classic is HUGE, and right now they’re hard to come buy. Amazon are sold out, and so are many stores around the country, and around the world. Your best bet is to try eBay. You have two options:
Good luck! We know you’re going to enjoy the NES Classic – it’s simply the best hardware emulation we’ve seen of the original Nintendo Entertainment System we’ve seen, period!