REVIEW: The SNES Classic has something for everyone


Robert Todd - The State Hornet

The Super Nintendo Entertainment System Classic Edition, right, sitting next to the original version, left, which was released in 1991. Unlike the original, the SNES Classic Edition doesn’t use interchangeable cartridges but instead has 21 games built right in.

It was the summer of ’94, I killed it on my seventh-grade report card and my mom rewarded my hard work with a new video game. That epoch of my life would henceforth be known as the summer of “Super Metroid,” a time when my biggest concern was trekking through the labyrinths below the surface of planet Zebes to stop the Space Pirates’ plan to conquer the galaxy using the titular Metroid species as a bio-weapon.

Photos courtesy of Nintendo / Infographic by Vu Chau – The State Hornet

This is one of many fond memories my younger self made while playing the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES). So, when Nintendo announced the SNES Classic Edition earlier this year, I was excited to relive those simpler times.  

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Having played it for a few weeks now, I can confidently say the SNES Classic Edition is a fantastic little package for any student looking to tickle their nostalgia or for others who want to experience some of the most influential games of the ‘90s for the first time.

The SNES Classic Edition is a follow-up to last year’s NES Classic Edition, and like its predecessor, the SNES Classic is a miniaturized version of the original hardware that inspired it.  It contains 21 built-in games, including classics like “Super Mario World” and “Donkey Kong Country.”  Also included in the box: two replica SNES controllers, HDMI and USB cables and a power adapter, all for the MSRP of $79.99.

When you power up the console, you’re greeted by a simple menu screen featuring the original cover art for each game accompanied by a jaunty, 16-bit-inspired tune. From here, you can access various video and screensaver settings, as well as save-state and rewind features, which can help inexperienced players get through some of the games’ tougher challenges.

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I’ve tested all 21 games and even played a handful through to completion, and the emulation quality is top-shelf.  The games look and sound just as I remember them. The controls feel responsive as well, and I couldn’t detect any of the input lag that seems to plague many re-releases of old games on other consoles and services.

One problem with the controllers, however, is that they are wired, and the cord length is only about five feet. This means the SNES Classic won’t work well in big living rooms unless you purchase controller extensions or a longer HDMI cable. It’s for the best, as you’ll need the console’s reset button close by to access the main menu and use the extra features anyway. For students living in a dorm room or small apartment, however, the cord length shouldn’t be an issue.

Another problem with the SNES Classic is what isn’t there. While the library of games is varied and robust, there are some notable omissions. Some missing titles include “Chrono Trigger,” which is considered by many to be one of the greatest Japanese role-playing games of all time, and the far superior sequel to “Donkey Kong Country.” Hopefully, Nintendo will offer players a way to expand their game library in the future.  

Despite these small gripes, the SNES Classic Edition is nice piece of kit that’s a great value for what you’re getting, especially for students on a budget. Each of these games cost $60 or more back in the day, and some of them, like “Earthbound,” go for hundreds of dollars on eBay today.

As an older nerd for nostalgia, this console scratches me right where I itch, but the SNES Classic should have something for folks of all ages. I managed to get one for my 8-year-old nephew (after waiting four hours in line), and now, he too is making his way through the bowels of Zebes to stop the intergalactic Metroid menace.