[ NOSTALGIA CENTRAL ]
SNES Classic Mini – A TRIP DOWN 16-BIT MEMORY LANE.
[ STEPHEN LAMBRECHTS & JON PORTER ]
ONE YEAR AFTER Nintendo surprised everyone with the NES Classic Mini, the company has once again returned to its retro roots with a Super Nintendo (aka SNES) iteration. Every bit as lovingly-designed as its predecessor, the palm-sized device is packed with many of the best games produced for the system (albeit with a few glaring exceptions) and also includes the bonus addition of Star Fox 2, a previously unreleased ‘white whale’ of a game that Nintendo fans have waited decades to play.
WITH A LIBRARY OF JUST 21 GAMES, NINTENDO IS INEVITABLY GOING TO LEAVE A FEW PEOPLE DISAPPOINTED, BUT FOR OUR MONEY, WE THINK THE SNES CLASSIC MINI HAS MOST OF THE TITLES THAT YOU’D BRING UP IN A CONVERSATION ABOUT HOW GREAT THE OLD CONSOLE WAS.
The SNES Mini Classic boasts a couple of improvements over its NES predecessor, too, such as the inclusion of two controllers (no need to hunt for that elusive second pad this time around), each with a cord that’s around twice as long as the one that came with the NES Mini at 142cm; that’s still a fair bit shorter than the 228cm cord attached to the original SNES controllers, though. Still, the controller itself feels great, and has that Nintendo quality that’s always missing from third-party gamepads.
Boot up the SNES Mini and you’re greeted with the same fantastic retro-styled user interface as the NES Mini. Scrolling left and right allows you to choose from the list of games, which can be sorted by name, number of players, how recently they were played, release date or publisher. By default, the games are emulated with a slight smoothing filter applied, which aims to take the rough edges off the pixels that would have been smoothed out by CRT televisions of old, but you can also run them with ‘pixel perfect’ emulation if you choose, or else apply a slightly heavy-handed CRT filter for some real scanline goodness.
Nintendo has also allowed for a couple of modern conveniences with the modern hardware. Making a return are save states, which you’re prompted to use whenever you jump out of a game (a process that still, somewhat annoyingly, requires you to get up and press the Reset button on the console itself). You can save up to four states per game, which should be more than enough for most people. However, with saves often being much less convenient in these older games, the newly added rewind feature ends up being even more of a lifesaver. On one occasion, we were having so much fun in Super Metroid that we forgot to save for almost half an hour, so being able to quickly rewind the game after death was much more desirable than playing through the entire section again.
With a library of just 21 games, Nintendo is inevitably going to leave a few people disappointed, but for our money, we think the SNES Classic Mini has most of the titles that you’d bring up in a conversation about how great the old console was.
That said, we can’t figure out why only one Donkey Kong Country title was included, or why the likes of Pilotwings, Chrono Trigger, Cybernator and Zombies Ate My Neighbors didn’t make the cut.
Still, it’s hard to argue with the large number of classics on offer. This is exactly what you’d want a retro console to be: lovingly designed, packed with classics, and functional for a modern audience. Whether you’re looking to revisit the games of your youth, or get introduced to them for the first time, the SNES Classic Mini is a real treat.
SNES CLASSIC MINI – CRITICAL SPECS
720p output via HDMI (cable included); 2 x wired controllers; 1 x USB port;
Included games: Contra III: The Alien Wars, Donkey Kong Country, EarthBound, Final Fantasy III, F-ZERO, Kirby Super Star, Kirby’s Dream Course, The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, Megaman X, Secret of Mana, Star Fox, Star Fox 2, Street Fighter II Turbo:, Hyper Fighting, Super Castlevania IV, Super Ghouls ’n Ghosts, Super Mario Kart, Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars, Super Mario World, Super Metroid, Super