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NES and SNES Classic console and games

Jul 15 2018

Recently, the NES Classic became available (again) alongside the new SNES Classic. Having missed out on the NES the first time it was available, and being unwilling to pay huge eBay markups, I sprang for both systems.

A note for those interested in buying both: the NES only comes with one controller, but the SNES comes with two. This works out, because the SNES controllers can be used on the NES just by plugging them in. There's no need to buy a second NES controller in order to play the 2-player NES games. You can even choose to use the SNES controller for 1-player NES games, if you want something more comfortable to hold.

The NES comes with 30 games, and the SNES comes with 21. Of these, I think I'd played only a few of the non-arcade ports: the original Super Mario Bros, The Legend of Zelda, Donkey Kong Country, and Earthbound. I was interested in most of the catalog, though. I know most of these games by reputation (especially if they're represented in Super Smash Bros), and while it's possible to emulate all these games or buy them on another official Nintendo system, it's nice to have them all together in one place.

Both consoles have the ability to save snapshots of gameplay at any time by pressing the physical reset button on the console. These snapshots work just like save states on other emulators. For games that allow you to save, or for score-chasing games like Galaga or Pac-Man, there isn't much point to this. However, for games that have passwords (Metroid), for games that don't have save points at all (Castlevania), or just for saving your progress mid-level to skip a difficult part (Mega Man 2), it's super useful. You can save up to 4 different snapshots per game.

There's a few other options you can tweak in the menu, including the resolution you play at. I recommend pixel perfect for the most accurate display, even if it leaves a border around the edges.

Nintendo has also made the original manuals available in PDF form for both the NES and SNES. Depending on the game, the manual can function as a control reference, tutorial, map, strategy guide, or all of the above - for example, the Earthbound manual is actually the 135-page player's guide. If you haven't played a game before, these are great to pull up on your phone or laptop. I have been trying to figure out a nice way to print them that doesn't take up too many sheets of paper to no real avail.

The only real downside of the consoles is that the controller cords are short. Like really short. The NES controller cord is less than 3 feet long. The SNES controller cords are almost 5 feet long, which is OK but is shorter than the original SNES controller cords. This is kind of a head-scratcher. I've solved it by sitting on the floor in front of the TV and leaning against the couch. At least I can hit the reset button with ease this way.

Regardless. If you're interested in playing these games using their original controllers and don't mind messing around with short cords, this is a pretty good package.

Below the break I'll record some thoughts I have on each game as I get around to playing them.


Still unplayed:


Still unplayed:

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