When it was announced the internet went crazy, tweets were retweeted, Facebook posts were shared liked and commented on and when pre-orders were available they were sold out fast. The Nintendo Classic Mini Entertainment System took 2016 by storm and it’s not stopping now.
$99 gets you a games console and 30 games? Not possible. Well yes, yes it is, if you’re happy with games from 30 odd years ago when Nintendo was creating the gaming revolution which lasted until today and like fashion, cars and colours when everything old is new again it’s going to be popular.
At a distance it’s almost identical to the original Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) – launched in the early 80’s and arriving in Australia in 1987 this thing was hot.
Big cartridges slid into the front to load the games, your controller plugged in with a cable connection and the most complex graphics were the appearance of shading on the pipes in Mario Bros to make them look rounded.
8-bit was the term for the graphics, and it’s a trend that has returned in spirit thanks to the huge success of Crossy Road among many others.
This 2016 version is tiny, sits on the palm of your hand for some perspective. There are only four ports. At the back is HDMI and MicroUSB, at the front two connectors for the controllers.
HDMI output is in 720p, while the purchase price does not include your power brick. You get a MicroUSB cable, but you’re expected to have a USB charger for your phone or tablet to run it off.
Pro Tip: Your TV USB might output enough power to fire it up, and even a good portable power bank will power the NES Classic Mini.
Once connected, the press of a power button instantly launches a simple interface menu.
There are options for graphics (Pixel Perfect and CRT are a lot of fun to go retro) and a title by title cover library of the 30 games on-board.
No need for a cartridge here, every game is pre-installed. Launch it and you’re set to play.
You’ll need some refreshing though, controls are not familiar at first unless you’ve been playing your retro console lately – but after a minute you’re up top of the Donkey Kong Level and through the doors on Mario.
The front of the box has just two buttons – POWER and RESET. Reset takes you back to the menu at any time. You can save your progress in the game in one of four slots by pressing the down arrow.
This. Is. Too. Much. Fun.
Honestly, for the whole family.
On the downside – just one controller, and a cable less than two foot long. And yes, you’ve got to get off your arse to go back to the menu. I prefer this than they added a button to the controller frankly!
The bigger issue – they’re sold out, not just here but in the US and Europe too. Australia’s EB Games Census-like website crash saw some people get a unit, and that second shipment is sold out.
However, EFTM today spoke with Target Australia who confirmed they have been “fortunate enough to secure a further quantity of stock that will go on sale via Target.com.au in Mid –December. As supply is still very limited, we have elected to only sell these via our website to ensure everyone is able to have a chance to get one and avoid customer disappointment at store level”
EFTM understands Target will announce a date and time so that all units are available on a first-come, first-serve basis. The best you can do now is keep an eye on Target’s website for more details
Nintendo have also advised Target that there will be additional stock in the new year to meet the unprecedented demand, but that won’t help those looking to stuff the stockings this Christmas unfortunately.
While I don’t see this as a weekly or daily gamer after the first week or so, this is going to be great to pull out and plug in on rainy days or mates days because it’s pure, simple, easy fun.
Top marks Nintendo!