The "Retro", "Mini" and "Classic" consoles are on their knees this holiday season with notable offers from Nintendo, Sony and other vendors. But which is the best?
There's a big difference between the current officially licensed mini consoles and it's not a spoiler to say it's the Super NES Classic. However, there are a few other options that you should consider, especially if you (or your gift recipient) are not impressed with the limited and non-expandable range of games available on these devices. A premium Remade clone playing original cartridges, or a device that runs emulators and nearly unlimited ROM files to play with might be a better choice for some gamers. It has recently been announced that they will release the NES and the SNES Classic will be discontinued after this Christmas season. If you want to pick one up (and do not want to pay derogatory prices for Scalper levels for a few months), now is the time to do so.
The Best Retro Console: Nintendo Super NES Classic Edition ($ 80)
The NES classic may have sparked this madness, but when you look up dating back to the 80s, this can lead to some jet-jet play. The older 8-bit games, with their extremely simple graphics, sounds, and two-button control concepts, did not age as well in real life as they might have been in your memory.
The SNES classic is the way to go. The Super Nintendo games are not only much tastier than the older NES games, they are a better group overall. Timeless Nintendo classics such as Super Mario World, Super Metroid, Zelda: A Connection to the Past, Mario Kart and Donkey Kong Country are accompanied by third-party stars such as Stars Mega Man X, Street Fighter II, and Super Castlevania IV . The rich RPES legacy of SNES is also honored with Earthbound Super Mario RPG Final Fantasy III, and Secret of Mana Chrono Trigger an unfortunate non-appearance. Star Fox 2 is a SNES sequel that was developed but never released, with this new hardware receives a world premiere. Of course, the SNES Classic plays all these games via HDMI, and also for the hardware some excellent accessories are offered.
Nintendo's classic offering takes precedence over the PlayStation Classic. Sony has some serious technical issues as some games are slow because of PAL-ROMs. While there are some outstanding titles in the PS Classic, such as Final Fantasy VII and Metal Gear Solid there are not the wall-to-wall sizes of Nintendo's hardware.
] The most unfortunate fact, however, is that the early 32-bit 3D era has simply aged poorly: the low-resolution images with low frame rates and low polygons are not as clear or appealing as the 16-bit sprites on the SNES games. It was not until the PS2 era that 3D graphics on consoles really began to shine, while the Super Nintendo was the pinnacle of 2D console gaming. In addition, many PS Classic titles are available for the PS3 and PS4, which is not the case with SNES Classic and Nintendo Switch.
As for other retro consoles on the market, such as the SEGA Genesis or Atari Flashback plug-and-play repeats, do not worry. These cheaper devices are licensed third-party copies and have a poor selection of games, poor ROM ports, and inconvenient controllers. It's better to experience the classic games of these consoles in digital re-releases on your modern console, PC or even your phone.
You should respond faster if you want to grab a SNES Classic. The initial low inventories seem largely over, but Nintendo will not make profits after the 2018 Christmas season. Thereafter, retail hardware will be harder to find and more expensive on the secondary market.
The Best Retro Console Clone: Analog Super NT or Mega SG ($ 190)
What if Are you looking for a player who still has all his classic 16-bit epoch games or wants to play certain games that do not come from the non-expanding memory of these newly released consoles? What you want is a "clone", a Remade version of the original console released with modern video outputs. These are legal copies of classic consoles, as the technology patents have now expired. The best on the market come from a niche supplier called Analogue.
Analogue's Super NT and Mega SG hardware brings Super NES and SEGA Genesis up to date. All models come with fantastic, freshly designed cases that are smaller and more responsive than the originals, yet with the original Game cartridges and controllers are fully compatible. And yes, you can use this 30 year old, dusty controller at will. However, these clones come with brand new 8BitDo wireless replicas that have already consolidated their reputation as an excellent retro hardware vendor. And of course, all of your original games will be output in a beautiful 1080p format via an HDMI cable.
These updated replicas each cost $ 190 (in various colors, with built-in wireless controller), but a fantastic gift for someone you know about Please note: The Genesis-style Mega SG is pre-ordered and will not ship until April 2019, but the Super NT is now shipping. The original design, the NES-playing NT mini, is out of stock … but due to an all-metal body, it's nearly $ 500, so it's likely to be out of the box for many shoppers.
The Best DIY Classic Console: Raspberry Pi (~ $ 90) or NVIDIA SHIELD ($ 200)
You are looking for something more personal? Then go with the original. Do-it-yourselfers have been making homemade retro consoles from the Raspberry Pi mini-computer for years. It's a fantastic set-up with enough power to play PlayStation time (one) game ROMs. With a sufficiently large MicroSD card, you can install hundreds or even thousands of ROMs there. Wireless and wired controllers are also easy to use, and you can even find plastic enclosures that mimic classic consoles.
Assembling a Raspberry Pi, loading the emulation software, and finding the ROMs is difficult and time-consuming, roughly at the level of the iPhone root or custom Android ROM. But there are tons of manuals (maybe we suggest our sister site How-To Geek?), And open source developers have come up with fantastic interfaces for the emulator packages. It does not hurt to be able to put together a Raspberry Pi, a custom case, a controller, and a MicroSD card with the classic game ROMs of your choice well under $ 100.
If the Raspberry Pi seems a bit daunting to you, there is a more expensive but more mainstream option: the NVIDIA SHIELD. This Android-powered set-top box is basically a sophisticated Roku, but has the hardware pomp and user-friendly interface you're looking for. The SHIELD has access to the Google Play Store, where you can find dozens of emulators for each classic console, and load game ROMs directly from a USB drive and save them to the internal drive.
The "Gaming Edition" comes with a very good NVIDIA controller, but you can also use third-party USB and Bluetooth controllers. Best of all, the SHIELD is strong enough to run some GameCube and Wii games as well. It's also the best standalone streaming box on the market – a nice bonus.