Nostalgia in a box: The Super Nintendo Classic Mini reviewed

|     Tobias Hanraths     |

THE same pale grey, the same colourful buttons and the familiar stiff D-pad: the new Super Nintendo Classic Mini remains true to the original console of 1992, down to the subtlest detail.

But there are a few exceptions: You don’t need to buy the games; they are already installed. The replica is also decidedly smaller and lighter than the original. And the white of the console and controllers is not quite as yellow as in most original Super Nintendos still in play.

Nevertheless, for gamers who were already crouching over their consoles in the 1990s, the reproduction is a real time machine.

Compared to the NES Classic Mini, the miniature version of the 1980s Nintendo Entertainment System launched in 2016, Nintendo has reduced the number of pre-installed games, from 30 to 21. But among them are many classic games that regularly make it into the top 10 best games of all time.

For ‘Zelda’ fans, for example, ‘A Link to the Past’ still ranks as the best game ever, despite many subsequent hits. ‘Super Mario World’ can compete with any modern platform game when it comes to creativity and design. And ‘Final Fantasy VI’ is, in spite of its pixelled graphics, an adult fantasy epic, far ahead of the teenage nonsense of today’s episodes in the series.

The Super Nintendo Classic Mini has the same grey design and coloured buttons as the original console of the 1990s. The replica brings back classic games such as ‘Street Fighter II’ and ‘Super Mario World’

Obviously, when it comes to graphics, the games have since been far outdone. But the haunting solitude in ‘Super Metroid’ and the cheesy horror of ‘Super Castlevania IV’ still deliver as promised.

The pixellation and 4:3 display of the old CRT TV are quickly forgotten after three rounds of ‘Street Fighter II’. And the racing games such as ‘Mario Kart’ and ‘F-Zero’ are fun, once you get accustomed to the graphic tricks that Nintendo used to simulate three-dimensional depth.

Among the 21 games is also a novelty: ‘Star Fox 2’ was completed in 1995, but had to make way for the release of the Super Nintendo’s successor, the Nintendo 64. Now it appears, after a 22-year delay, as a nice bonus.

The collection is, however, not complete. Unlike the NES Classic Mini, which had almost every important title from the console’s history, a few classics have been left out of the new Super Nintendo.

Among them are primarily games such as ‘NBA Jam’ and ‘Super Star Wars’, which were dropped for licensing reasons.

A fancy menu allows players to select titles. Games can be terminated by pressing the reset button on the console, and can be saved for pausing and starting right where you left off.

There is one thing that Nintendo has clearly improved compared to the NES Mini – the cable length connecting the controls to the console is more than 1.5 metres long.

For experienced video gamers and curious latecomers, the Super Nintendo Classic Mini is definitely worth a look, especially given the price of 100 euros. But it isn’t worth any more than that, even if online platforms are selling the replicas for far more than their retail price.

The NES and Super NES Classic Editions were originally planned as a limited edition product for a short time period, but demand has been higher than expected, with the devices selling for absurdly high prices on the second-hand goods market.

Nintendo has promised to release more units of the retro consoles in 2018, so those with a bit of patience can begin their journey back in time within a few months. – Text and Photo by dpa