The SNES Classic is here. And with it are a whole host of nostalgic, happy critics.
Reviewers are agreed that the new – or very old – Nintendo console is a beautiful and faithful recreation of the classic machine. And it’s just another step on Nintendo’s run of success, which has also recently including the critically acclaimed Switch, and the similar NES recreation that came before.
It allows people to get access to a vast trove of 21 games, until now mostly lost apart from in the memories of those that played them. As such, it is a joyous little box of nostalgia, reviewers agreed – not simply letting people play those games, but recreating the original SNES controllers and box.
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(Of course, the SNES Classic isn’t entirely faithful as a recreation: it plugs into modern TVs through an HDMI cable, for one, and also adds things like save features and the ability to rewind through them. But it allows you to make it a little more faithful, including neat tricks like the choice of putting a filter over the game so that your modern HD TV looks like a grainy tube one.)
In fact, there’s a couple of catches. Neither will come as a shock to anyone who has been hoping to get hold of the console for a while – but both could be a nasty surprise to anyone who simply wants to have a simple and straightforward time indulging in some nostalgia.
The first is obvious to anyone who has even considered getting this console: actually managing to do so is incredibly difficult. Like the NES Mini before it – though to a slightly less extreme degree – stock has been in short supply and demand has been very high, meaning the consoles tend to sell out as soon as they’re available.
The second isn’t entirely unexpected either, for anyone who managed to get hold of the NES that came before it. The new console doesn’t include a plug, meaning that you’ll have to buy your own way to actually power the thing; and it’s still limited by the fact that you have to get up and walk across the room once you play it.
But the console is still incredibly fun, write reviewers. Wired – which also pointed out the irritating fact that the games library can’t be expanded – said that the problems don’t manage to overshadow what is an incredible achievement, packing a huge library of nostalgia into a tiny little box.
“Ultimately, the games are what counts in such retro bundles, and here the SNES Mini doesn’t disappoint,” wrote Matt Kamen. “It’s hard to think of it purely as a “retro” product, even – pixel art has enjoyed a resurgence over the last decade thanks to the indie gaming scene, making the titles here feel less inherently dated, and the games Nintendo has packed in still stand up as some of the best ever made.
“As with the NES Mini, the inability to (officially, legally) download or otherwise expand the software library continues to disappoint – and the absence of Chrono Trigger is unforgivable – but this still provides literally weeks of brilliant gaming time in a tidy package.”
Gizmodo’s Bryan Menegus agreed with those complaints. But he agreed to that the undimming nostalgia value these games have will be more than enough to convince people to overcome those problems.
“In the end, the SNES Classic is great fun, and if these games mean something to you—or you’re a serious collector of Nintendo products—the SNES is worth the price of entry,” he wrote.
And perhaps the greatest joy will be allowing other people to share in those games – for the first time, without the nostalgia.
“If you’ve never played the likes of Final Fantasy VI or Super Mario World, you are in for a treat with the SNES Classic,” wrote Jason Schreier. “And if you have played them before, but want a cheap and efficient way to replay them with an authentic-feeling Super Nintendo controller, you’re in luck. The coolest thing about the SNES Classic isn’t just that it gives you easy access to these games, almost all of which can be emulated or purchased on other consoles.”
They still stand up, and stand as one of the greatest achievements of recent culture, wrote the Guardian.
“The greatest thing about the Mini SNES is that it will allow the original purchasers to quickly and easily share these memories with their children, their siblings or their old friends once again,” Keith Stuart wrote. “There is very little about the beauty, joy and creative brilliance of video games that you cannot learn from these 21 titles. Literature has the great Victorian novels, music has the swinging sixties, Hollywood has the auteur cinema of the 1970s; games have the SNES. We will never escape its influence and we would never want to.”