The NES Classic Edition is finally here, and while stocks have been depressingly small (except in Malaysia for some reason), the system itself is still everything gamers had hoped it would be. We already covered the list of games and features in an earlier article, so this review will be geared toward how the system actually plays and whether or not the experience is worthwhile. Luckily, the NES Classic Edition impresses on all fronts.
When it comes to the gameplay, it really doesn’t get much better than this. The controller included with the system feels exactly the way it did in 1985, with it’s soft d-pad, compact design, and responsive A and B buttons being the most noteworthy features. While the cord itself is very short, the system can be powered through micro USB alone, meaning it can be much easier to have the system closer to the play area. Wireless controllers are also in the works, although purists will most likely want to stick with the original controller.
Each of the NES Classic Edition’s 30 games has been emulated perfectly. While this may sound good at first, this also means that the original glitches are also here to stay, including Final Fantasy’s critical hit bug. This is great for purists, however, newcomers may be annoyed at some of the lag and bugs that come with these one-to-one emulations. The experiences are fine for the most part, as the majority of these games were expertly developed and thus translate very well to the present day. Classics like Super Mario Bros. 3 play just as well today as they did in 1985, albeit with some added presentation-based features to sweeten the deal.
The three display options give the gamer a lot of choices when it comes to how they want to experience each of the classic titles. Standard 4:3, CRT, and Pixel Perfect mode all work wonderfully, however, Pixel Perfect is the real standout. The vibrant colors from the HDMI up-scaling mesh perfectly with this display option, creating the best possible visual experience when it comes to these older titles. Other emulation systems will look muddy and dreary after seeing what these games were truly meant to look like from a development standpoint.
For the non-gaming audience, there is still a lot of fun to be had with the NES Classic Edition. Games like Dr. Mario and Galaga are accessible enough to be enjoyed by people of all skill sets and age ranges. Anyone receiving one of these during the holiday season is sure to find plenty of enjoyment across the 30 games, even if not all of them are masterpieces. Highly skilled players have not been left out either, as games like Super C and Ninja Gaiden are reserved for only the best of the best. They helped coin the phrases “Nintendo hard” after all.
One of the best parts of the package is its affordability. The whole unit, controller included, costs only $59.99, making this a viable gift option for most households. Second controllers are cheap as well, with a replica NES controller costing only $9.99. Wii Classic Controllers can also be used instead of an NES Classic Edition controller, which is great for those that held onto theirs. The whole package just screams accessibility, even when it comes to powering on the system itself. Pressing the power button causes the system to boot up instantly, no matter the power source. Plugging the micro USB power cord into a PS4 on rest mode is enough to turn on the system, which is astounding.
With all of these things considered, it’s hard not to recommend the NES Classic Edition as the go-to gift for the holiday season. While it’s obviously an awesome treat for anyone interesting in gaming, the diverse selection of games and low price point open it up to a much larger audience. This is a gaming console in it’s simplest form. Each of these classic titles lives and die by the mantra “easy to learn, difficult to master,” which is what makes Nintendo games great in the first place. It’s a history lesson worth experiencing.