Now you're playing with power. Well, Classic power to be precise.
Nintendo surprised people recently by announcing a new, smaller version of the NES. Due out November 11, the NES Classic Edition comes bundled with thirty well-known games, including all three Super Mario Bros. games, Tecmo Bowl, Mega Man 2, and more. On the surface, it seems like a fun purchase to those who enjoy retro gaming. But with so many other options out there, the NES Classic might not be for you. Or is it?
After all, Nintendo isn't the first developer to put out a system like this—there are plenty of other plug and play retro systems out there from former giants like Atari and Sega, and some retro machines go even beyond that. The Retron 5, for example, plays a multitude of actual cartridges from many systems, including the NES, SNES, Game Boy, and Genesis. It also provides bonuses like cheat codes and upscaling. The NES Classic lacks in that regard—all it has are the classic games with HDMI support being the lone bonus.
"Choosing the better route depends on how much a person plans on committing to this," Coury Carlson, co-host of retro gaming channel My Life in Gaming, told Motherboard. "Most people who decide they want to get into collecting [and] hunting down retro games are after, at the very least, a significant amount of the games on [the NES Classic Edition]."
Joe Redifer, co-host of YouTube channel Game Sack, also points out the plusses and negatives of both. "I'm a big fan of being able to use my own cartridges. I also like supporting the original makers of these systems," he told Motherboard. "All that said, I'm not a big fan of the Retron 5. We'll have to see how good the emulation is in the NES Classic. Virtual Console games have been known for looking very soft and fuzzy and I'm not a fan of that look either."
Ultimately, it's up to the consumer on what they want, but there seems to be something for everyone. The NES Classic is officially sanctioned by Nintendo, unlike the Retron 5 whose legalities are a bit more hazy. One won't be for hardcore retro gamers who want crystal clear graphics or a bevy of options to modify their games. But for the mainstream who just want to plug something in and play Super Mario Bros. 3 for a few hours, the other is probably your best bet.
"I think [the NES Classic] could spur interest but it might also satisfy the urge people feel that might only be fleeting," Carlson said. "It allows them to see if it's something they really want to get into without totally committing. I suspect a lot people who half heartedly got into retro games will duck out and just get this to satisfy their desire."