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Since no one wants a Wii U, Nintendo offers classic NES as modern stocking stuffer

Nintendo is a company in a bit of a quandary. Both Sony and Microsoft are bringing mid-cycle major refreshes of their hardware to market — Sony with the PlayStation 4 Neo, which is still expected to launch before Christmas 2016 and Microsoft with the Xbox One S, a smaller, slimmer Xbox One with a reduced price (and hopefully a decent trade-in value when the Xbox Scorpio arrives). Nintendo, on the other hand, has the Wii U and a minimal stack of new releases expected to ship between now and Christmas.

But Nintendo also has a death grip on some of the most beloved franchises in all of gaming — including classic titles that millions of gamers around the world first cut their teeth on. The company has announced that it’s building an NES Classic console that can fit in the palm of your hand and comes preloaded with 30 classic titles.

Here’s how Nintendo describes the hardware:

The classic NES is back in a familiar-yet-new form as a mini replica of Nintendo’s original home console. Plugging directly into a high-definition TV using the included HDMI cable, the console comes complete with 30 NES games built-in, including beloved classics like Super Mario Bros., The Legend of Zelda, Metroid, Donkey Kong, PAC-MAN and Kirby’s Adventure.

The Nintendo Classic Mini: Nintendo Entertainment System comes packaged with an HDMI cable, a USB cable for powering the system*, and one Nintendo Classic Mini: NES Controller. And whether it’s rediscovering an old favourite or experiencing the joy of NES for the first time, the fantastic collection of NES classics included with each and every system should have something for all players.

The slot on the console doesn’t actually appear to do anything, but it comes preloaded with 30 titles, all shown below:


As NES games go, this is an extremely solid list. I’ve got a few quibbles — Castlevania III is generally regarded as a stronger game than Castlevania II, and Balloon Fight is a forgettable inclusion, but Excitebike, Final Fantasy, Super Mario 3, Metroid, Ninja Gaiden, and Mega Man 2 are still considered some of the best games ever built for any console. Today’s kids might struggle with some of these games (the phrase “Nintendo hard” exists for a reason), but there’s a lot of good fun to be had here.

The big question left unanswered is what hardware Nintendo is using to handle the task. Nintendo notes that “Players needn’t worry about losing any hard-earned progress either as each game has multiple suspend points, allowing them to start where they left off at a later time, no passwords needed.” This implies that whatever the hardware inside this classic NES, it’s not the same as the original. Then again, there’s no company better suited to ensure a faithful emulation experience than the firm that designed the original console, and Nintendo’s Virtual Console releases of classic titles have generally been well-regarded.

The new NES goes on sale on November 11. At $60 with a 30-game inclusive bundle, the price is hard to argue with.

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