Nintendo is on a roll. Nintendo is going retro but unlike in Wreck-it-Ralph, that’s not a bad thing. The company is back with a vengeance from the looming threat of irrelevance in the world of gaming. First, it’s release of Pokemon Go, the new craze that’s sweeping the nation, giving millions of people much-needed exercise, sun, physical socialization and familiarity with their surroundings. The game is expected to sweep the planet under Nintendo’s rug once globally released. Suck that Sony and Microsoft. But back to the topic at hand. Shortly after Pokemon Go, Nintendo released the Mini NES (Nintendo Entertainment System), a miniature version of the popular 80s NES console with 30 games built-in (50 would have been nice). The device hooks up through HDMI so players can now enjoy old games on their newer 4K LCD TVs.
What makes the Nintendo Classic Mini a potential blast next to Pokemon GO? Nostalgia. If you’re always on YouTube, you’ve probably caught a random channel about old or retro games. Here’re some enjoyable channels to look up. Put down that BFG and rest your disembodied hand and catch up on some gaming history.
- Angry Video Game Nerd (watch the language)
- Pat the NES Punk
- The Gaming Historian
There’s still a wide market for gamers on the 30 to 45 age bracket. That’s one factor of the Pokemon GO explosion. Grown up men and women exploring the woods hunting for Pokemon using their mobile phones were formerly kids addicted to the same game on their old Nintendo GameBoy. Many of them also used to play old NES games from childhood well into their late teens and retro-gaming is slowly creeping into this demographic.
Retro games is than poor-man console gaming. Older games are considered more colorful, straightforward, simple to use yet challenging to complete. This used to be done through emulators and illegal ROM copies though some emulators can play legit CD/DVD games. Several companies have also taken advantage of video game nostalgia by releasing devices such as:
- Retron 5 – can play game cartridges from NES, SNES, Genesis, Famicom
- Jakks Classics – Joystick with 10 built-in games
- Atari Flashback – miniature replica of the original Atari 2600 with several built-in games
- New Commodore 64
- Various NES knockoffs
- Raspberry Pi projects
Here are the games included in the Mini NES in alphabetical order:
- Balloon Fight
- Bubble Bobble
- Castlevania II: Simon’s Quest
- Donkey Kong
- Donkey Kong Jr.
- Double Dragon II: The Revenge
- Final Fantasy
- Ghosts’n Goblins
- Ice Climber
- Kid Icarus
- Kirby’s Adventure
- Mario Bros.
- Mega Man 2
- Ninja Gaiden
- Punch-Out!! Featuring Mr. Dream (Mike Tyson would have been great)
- Super C (Original Contra would have been nice)
- Super Mario Bros.
- Super Mario Bros. 2
- Super Mario Bros. 3
- Tecmo Bowl
- The Legend of Zelda
- Zelda II: The Adventure of Link
The Nintendo Classic Mini retails for 60 dollars. Considering that a wider library can be collected and played through various means, having a console attached to the TV by non-techie nostalgia-stricken consumers would be much easier. Plus it’s legal and licensed, and these same guys can share the ‘real’ fun they had playing notoriously challenging and difficult games like Castlevania, Ghosts and Goblins and Megaman 2 with their kids. Unfortunately, only one controller is included, and the connector is proprietary so no luck with your old controllers. A Wii controller works too.
And no, this is not the mysterious Nintendo NX… is it?