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SNES Classic Edition hands-on review

© Mike Epstein/Digital Trends © Mike Epstein/Digital Trends


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The SNES Classic Edition is too big to fail. A successor to Nintendo’s 8-bit NES Classic emulator box, the fun (and already coveted) miniature version of the Super Nintendo Entertainment System offers a compact, concentrated dose of nostalgic feels. Our SNES Classic Edition review is sure to take you back to your youth.

Nintendo gave us a quick look at a mock-up of the SNES Classic Edition at a post-E3 demo event in New York. I call the unit we saw a “mock-up,” because the console was not functional. Without the ability to try any of its games or even turn it on, we can’t say if the SNES Classic Edition upholds the same level quality and polish as the original, or even discuss how it works.

Despite those limitations, the SNES Classic Edition has the makings of something special. It’s an adorable little replica of a console that means the world to players of a certain age. Assuming the quality of its emulated games matches the quality of the box and controllers housing them, you have every reason to be excited for its September 29 launch.

ATTENTION TO DETAIL

Like the NES Classic, the SNES Classic Edition’s shell is a highly detailed, miniature approximation of the original Super Nintendo. At a glance, the console seems like a nearly perfect match. The purple sliding “power” and “reset” switches still work (and have a satisfying click). Everything from the original hardware seams to the cartridge and controller ports have been etched into the plastic, and make the device look exactly how you remember it… but smaller.

We were not told the console’s exact weight or dimensions, but it is considerably smaller than a Nintendo Switch, or even the New Nintendo 2DS XL. It may be slightly smaller than the NES Classic Edition, though we weren’t able to see the two side-by-side.

Of course, it isn’t exactly the same. The console’s power and input (a single HDMI port) run out of the back of the device. The cartridge port is just for show — presumably you will select one of the console’s 21 games from a menu when you turn the console on. Most importantly, the SNES Classic Edition features a front panel, which hides the device’s Wii-era controller ports. The outside of the panel features an etched version of the console’s original controller ports, which plays up the device’s appeal as a physical showpiece for fans.

The controllers also seem to mirror the original SNES controller with impeccable accuracy. Even details like the mix of convex and concave buttons remain intact. It’s been awhile since I used an SNES controller, but from what I remember, the new controller seems bigger than the original. That’s a good thing for adult players returning to the console, who might not enjoy holding SNES controllers for extended periods of time.

SMALL STEPS FORWARD

The NES Classic had two major flaws. First, the controller cord was too short. Second, there was no way to reset the console, or turn it on and off, without leaning in and pressing the power button. The SNES Classic Edition will remedy at least one of those two problems, as the SNES Classic Edition controller will feature a five-foot cord, almost double the length of the NES Classic controller. In messing around with it — putting the console on one end of the conference table, and inching away from it slowly on the other side — it seems like the cord will be more comfortable at a desk or table, but still might be too short to sit under a TV. It’s great for dorms and game rooms, but maybe not for a tasteful living room setup.

Nintendo representatives declined to answer questions about the SNES Classic Edition’s ability to power on and off using a controller shortcut. We can only guess, but based on the length of the controller cord, we’re going to bet that you’ll still need to lean in and flip the power and reset sliders.

REMEMBER ME

The SNES Classic Edition seems to be exactly what we’re expecting. It’s a cool, low-maintenance way to play your favorite Super Nintendo games.

It’s not perfect. Does it have all our favorite SNES games? Not really. Does it have an SD card slot or internet connectivity? It does not. Still, these issues almost seem beside the point, especially now that there’s evidence that this, too, will be produced in a limited run.

The Nintendo “Classic Edition” consoles offer brief trips down memory lane for collectors and fans who have played these games a thousand times. Even without seeing it in action, the SNES Classic seems capable of serving as a Nintendo fan’s modern trophy.

This article was originally posted on Digital Trends

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