In an announcement that surprised roughly 0 people, Nintendo announced the SNES Classic Mini, a tiny version of the classic console. Is that a good thing?
What Is The SNES Classic Mini?
The SNES Classic Mini is a faithful recreation of my favourite console of all time. It brings a much-loved 90s console into 21st century homes. Only much smaller.
It also comes with a ton of classic and amazing SNES games. Super Mario World (obviously), F-Zero, Super Metroid, Starfox, Secret of Mana, Yoshi’s Island and Super Mario RPG, to name just some of the games I loved as a kid. They’re also including previously unreleased Starfox 2, which has been kicking around the cutting room floor at Nintendo HQ. I assume.
Most of us nerds have been expecting this since the launch of the original NES Classic back in November 2016.
Well yes and no. It’s a smart move by Nintendo, playing on nostalgia again. Even me with my endlessly cynical brain is kind of interested in getting one. And it could, presumably, bring some of those games to a whole new generation of gamer. I have more fond memories of sitting around the old TV with my friends back in the 90s than I do in the last 10 years of “modern” consoles.
At the same time, it has the same problems with NES Classic had. It comes with the 21 games Nintendo wants to include, with no room to expand that collection. There are dozens (hundreds?) of great games that I’d love to see again, but it would be impractical to add them all into one purchase here, but the SNES Classic Mini doesn’t have any way to download new ones. Seems like a missed opportunity again.
Also, if the controller cable is as short on this one as the last Classic then they can go to hell.
Supply & Demand
Everyone should know by now that Nintendo isn’t great at actually supplying hardware. They’ve had Amiibo shortages forever. People couldn’t get a Switch for months after it launched. The NES Classic was unbelievably hard to get hold of. So why would this be any different?
I wonder if this is partly because nostalgia is a risky business model. We often think of things very fondly in memory but are massively disappointed when we try them again later. I’ve experienced this first hand with old movies and cartoons that just didn’t age well. And food that I remember loving as a kid that’s tasteless now. You can’t always go back. Maybe when we replay those classic games with the classic controller we’ll discover that the last 25 years of progress was for good reason.
I’ve Got A Better Idea…
Rather than paying (again) for a game system that’s 25+ years old and paying (again) for games that you’ve probably already bought for the Wii and DS and 3DS and maybe even your phone, check out an emulator instead. And get this controller. Or go for the JXD S7800 and get multiple retro machines for the same price. Yes, it’s a slightly grey area. But you might save yourself some money. And some heartache.