Nintendo announces the NES Classic Edition but do they understand retro gaming?
The NES Classic Edition comes with a decent array of games but also some glaring omissions.
At the end of last week, Nintendo unveiled a new console. Sadly it wasn't the highly-anticipated new NX - which is currently surrounded by a whirlwind of rumours. Instead, Nintendo announced a brand new mini version of the much-loved NES called the NES Classic Edition, which comes complete with some of the all-time greatest NES games. The machine will launch on November the 11th 2016 priced at a reasonable $60 but even at that price it might not be worth it.
It's fairly awesome that Nintendo has decided to revive the NES for retro gaming fans. You can expect to play greats such as Super Mario 1, 2, and 3, Metroid, The Legend of Zelda and Zelda II: The Adventure of Link, Castlevania, Castlevania II, Final Fantasy, Kid Icarus and more. These are games which defined a generation, if not their respective genres. In fact, there's not a single bad game on the 30-title strong NES Classic Edition games list. The console also comes with a classic NES controller.
There are some drawbacks, though. The NES Classic Edition has no internet connectivity or even a cartridge slot to support original NES titles, meaning there's no way to expand your collection beyond the 30 built in games. This seems quite restrained for a company that offered retro gaming fans a colossal array of classic games from no less than seven different consoles like the NES, SNES, Megadrive and Master System on some of their latest devices.
Nintendo seems to have dialled back their commitment to retro gaming. The Wii U's virtual console only offers games from classic Nintendo platforms and although this has been expanded to include the titles from the Gameboy, Gameboy Colour, and Gameboy Advance they seem to have forgotten at least some of the passion for classic gaming that was so apparent in the Wii's virtual console. In some ways this new mini NES reflects this.
SEGA a long time ago licensed out the Megadrive circuitry to numerous manufacturers resulting in a glut of Megadrive copies hitting the market all with a range of built-in hit (and miss) games. Some of these even offer a cartridge slot to allow folks who still have Megadrive cartridges to play those too.
The absence of a cartridge slot in the NES Classic Edition and no internet connectivity to allow the purchase of more NES classics from the Wii U virtual console is a bit of disappointment. It makes this new mini console seem like more of a gift item, than a new console allowing players to revisit the glory days of console gaming. Even so a NES with 30 classic games for $60 is still a fairly good deal, we'd just like to see Nintendo recognise the audience out there who'd love to revisit the games they grew up with.