Last year, seemingly as a fun holiday stopgap in the absence of the then still-upcoming Switch hardware, Nintendo released the NES Classic Edition throwback console. And the entire world went crazy. Now, a mere 10 months later, our Benevolent Mustachioed Overlords have favored us with a second delightful retro mini console, the Super NES Classic Edition.
Here’s what you need to know about it.
What Is the Super NES Classic Edition?
Properly referred to as the Nintendo Classic Mini: Super Nintendo Entertainment System—a name so long and convoluted that it’s virtually assured to never be used in the polite conversation—the Super NES Classic Edition is a small-scale, solid-state reproduction of Nintendo’s much beloved 16-bit console. Built with but a sole purpose in mind, to emulate 21 gaming classics, it accomplishes its goal beautifully.
Super NES Classic Edition Components
Everything you need to take a trip back to the 1990s is included right in the box:
- Super NES Classic Edition console
- 2x Super NES Classic Edition controllers
- Nintendo-branded HDMI cable
- USB-to-USB-micro power cable
- Nintendo-branded USB-to-AC converter
The Super NES Classic is an adorable recreation of the original console in miniature. It’s so small! It is smaller than small! It is what would be referred to here in the Deep South as tee-ninecy!!!
The controllers, on the other hand, feel just like the originals—only, y’know, without decades of wear and tear. The shoulder buttons are nicely springy, the face buttons and d-pad smooth without being slippery, and even the rubberized Start and Select feel solid and substantial.
And, on the off chance you’ve forgotten the list of included games:
- Contra III: The Alien Wars
- Donkey Kong Country
- Final Fantasy III
- Kirby Super Star
- Kirby’s Dream Course
- The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past
- Mega Man X
- Secret of Mana
- Star Fox
- Star Fox 2
- Street Fighter II Turbo: Hyper Fighting
- Super Castlevania IV
- Super Ghouls ‘n Ghosts
- Super Mario Kart
- Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars
- Super Mario World
- Super Metroid
- Super Punch-Out!!
- Yoshi’s Island
Setup and Operation of the Super NES Classic Edition
At, perhaps, a quarter of the size of the original hardware, the SNES Classic eschews its (now antiquated) traditional ports and connectors. On the back, there are simply connections for the included micro USB and HDMI cables. On the front, behind a flip-down edifice of its original controller ports, are two of Nintendo’s Wii/Wii U-era connector inputs, much the same as last year’s NES Classic.
This makes setup a breeze. And, yes, it means the extension cables you used on your painfully short NES Classic controllers will also work on the Super NES Classic Edition. Though, this time, thankfully, it’s slightly less of an issue.
All the cabling—the USB, HDMI, and both controllers—measures at around 5-feet. That’s not perfect, mind you, but it definitely beats those 30-inch controller cables on the previous model.
You use the purple Power slider on the console itself to turn on your SNES Classic, and you’ll be asked to choose your system language the first time you power it up. Navigating the menu is a breeze, with easy sorting of the games by release date, publisher, number of supported players, alphabetically, and so on.
You can also change your language options, display mode (4:3, CRT mode, or Perfect Pixel), and scan a QR code for game manuals—also just like the NES Classic.
The save state system works the same, too; just push the Reset toggle to return to the system menu, and drop your save into one of four slots (per game). This is also where you access the new Rewind feature, letting you rewind gameplay back up to about a minute, and then select a more precise point within that timeline from which to resume. Sadly, there’s still no way to do this from the included controllers, so you—or, much more likely, your kids—will have to make that long walk to do the dirty deed.
Oh, and there’s also a grey Eject button on the system, but that one’s just for show.
There are even a couple of cool extras that it’s easy to miss. Since these games don’t exactly stretch to fit your flatscreen, there is a Frame feature that allows you to select from multiple borders to dress up all that empty space. The SNES Classic even does something interesting when you’re not actively playing; while it normally cycles through stock demo footage, you can substitute gameplay from your own Suspend Points–which is a nice touch.
Why You Should Get the Super NES Classic Edition
I never owned a Super Nintendo back in the day, but I had friends and family that did and I’ve since amassed a collection of both authentic retro hardware and more modern clone systems. That said, if you ever played the SNES, especially as an era-appropriate child or teen, you realize the magic inherent in that 16-bit architecture.
From the frenetic action of Contra III and F-ZERO to the laid back swagger of Kirby’s Dream Course, the selection of curated games hits many—though certainly not all—high points from Nintendo’s golden age. Some games, clearly, have aged better than others. For example, my children stood in shock and disbelief when presented with 1992’s original Super Mario Kart, with its flattened sprites, simplistic courses, and more streamlined driving mechanic. But revisiting a game like Super Metroid, especially after so recently experiencing the contemporary perfection that is Samus Returns, can’t help but bring a smile to your face as you realize how much of the franchises’ skeletal framework, that core Nintendo DNA, dates back to these decades-old titles.
Super Ghouls ‘n Ghosts is still punishingly hard, EarthBound and Final Fantasy III still seem undeniably epic, and Super Mario RPG, as dated as it now looks, still has all the heart and humor that you remember. Obviously, the big draw here is the previously unreleased Star Fox 2, which, interestingly enough, is initially unavailable; you’ll need to beat the first level of Star Fox to unlock it.
Likely none of the games look as archaic as the Star Fox entries—though Donkey Kong Country‘s limited-palette shading can get a little cringy—but the inclusion of both serves to remind you what a technological leap forward the original entry truly was and reveals how much hard work the team behind the development of its sequel put into pushing the limited horsepower of the hardware into new dimensions of electronic entertainment. Only to have it shelved. Until now.
I tend to think of 16-bit games as the original benchmark for both immersive adventure and grueling difficulty, and the games of the Super NES Classic Edition really drive that home. Trust me; you’ll get a lot of use out of that Rewind function, especially in precision titles like Mega Man X. And thanks to depth and quality of the system’s emulation, games like Secret of Mana and Super Mario World still shine with both their inherent brilliance and the intoxicating power of good, ol’ fashioned nostalgia.
Super NES Classic Edition Price & Availability
The Super NES Classic Edition hits store shelves this Friday, September 29th, and, while pre-orders have been rather hard to come by, Nintendo of America claims to have increased inventory and President Reggie Fils-Aime urges you not to pay above the $79.99 MSRP.
Good luck in your search, and, should we receive re-stock updates or similar information, we’ll be sure to keep the GeekDad audience posted!
Disclosure: GeekDad received a copy of this hardware for review purposes.