Mini NES Classic Edition Review: The Good, The Bad, And The Annoying

Patrick Frye

The Mini NES Classic Edition console is set to hit in a couple of months, and some lucky people have gotten their hands on it. Generally, you get what Nintendo was offering, but it doesn’t appear they’re making it better for the average gamer.

What Nintendo appears to be focusing on is simply preserving the look and feel of playing the original games with the original controller. There are no options to expand the library of games, though with old-school hits like Super Mario Bros. 3, The Legend of Zelda (and its infamous dungeon-shuffle second quest), Metroid, and Final Fantasy, you’ll be spending plenty of time revisiting and mastering these titles all over again.

Of course, many of the games are also available as ports on the Wii U Virtual Console, but you’ll probably pay more than $60 for all of them. Many gamers might have already mastered these titles that way, though, so it might not be worth it to them.

Probably the most exciting reason to buy the Mini NES Classic Edition, even if you’re a Virtual Console master, is the chance to convert the graphics to CRT mode (with the scan lines so it looks like the original games), the original aspect ratio of 4:3, or Pixel Perfect mode. The latter of these makes each pixel a perfect and clean square, so these games will look even better on your 60-inch Ultra HDTV. No more bleeding colors mean the visuals will be the best they’ve ever been, thanks to the HDMI cable connection.

The Verge says that one of the big drawbacks will possibly be Nintendo’s tendency to produce their merchandise with a minimal supply, so it could be well into 2017 before you actually see one in stock on a store shelf. They’re not even allowing pre-orders, it seems, since Amazon has it listed by Nintendo (since July 31), but it hasn’t been available since it showed up. Not allowing pre-orders might be Nintendo’s way of letting people actually buy the Mini NES Classic Edition the day it’s released. Otherwise, it could be sold out into next year.

There are four save states for each game, even if the game didn’t originally have a save function. However, using them to save anything means hitting Reset on the console, since there is no “Home” function on the controller. Those who played the original Legend of Zelda might remember doing something similar just to ensure their save files didn’t get corrupted after playing the game.

Kotaku also says that the controller wires are incredibly short, meaning there won’t be any sitting on the couch 10 feet away unless the console happens to be sitting next to you. With the save state function the way it is, you’ll probably want the console next to you anyway. Unless you have a food tray or some kind of table nearby, this could lead to the Mini NES Classic Edition overheating.

Be prepared to buy a tray table and an HDMI cable extension for this purpose.

With 30 games to choose from, mostly first-party classics, you might find one feature of the Mini NES Classic Edition especially useful. The menu allows you to filter the games by type, so if you’re in the mood for action, you won’t be having to skip Final Fantasy and Dr. Mario along the way.

The short controller cord and the need to keep the console near you to save the games could sour your experience, but the improved visuals and interface might just be worth the $60 to snag a Mini NES Classic Edition on November 11.

[Featured Image by Nintendo]