Nintendo’s latest micro console is here and despite long lines and store shortages, I managed to pick one up and I’m excited to talk about it.
The SNES Classic builds off the success of last year’s NES Classic, offering 21 of the best games the Super Nintendo has to offer. So, is the SNES Classic the best way to play old school Super Nintendo games? I’ve been playing with it non-stop, all weekend (for you guys, of course) and here are my thoughts.
Hardware: It’s a Glorious Little Box
The first thing that strikes you is that the SNES Classic comes in a very small size. While looking identical to the its big brother, it fits comfortably on my desk between my monitor and one of my speakers. It really stays out of the way, and is closer in size to my computer mouse than my Xbox. The console sports a single HDMI output and DC in for power. The console also comes with two controllers this time, that allow you play two-player modes right out of the box.
The controllers themselves are fantastic, they’re lightweight and sturdy with buttons that feel very tactile and a d-pad which allows for tight controls in platformers like Super Mario World. The plug connectors are redesigned from the Wii’s controller input that Nintendo has used for a while. This means you can use these SNES controllers with a Wii, or even use them on your NES Classic.
The console itself has a small flap to hide the plug connectors when not in use, that really makes the SNES Classic look great when sitting on a shelf. Aside from the controllers, there are two switches on the SNES, one for power on/off, and the other is a reset switch that you’ll be using a lot to save your games.
Interface: Suspend Points FTW!
Once powered up, the system boots to a simple display listing all the games available. Each game has an icon displaying if it’s 1-player or 2-player, an icon to show how many suspends points you’ve used of the four available, and will even display the 15 games with built-in save features.
Let’s talk about the suspend points, because they’re one of the best features of the SNES Classic. Resetting the game at any point takes you to the home screen where you can save your progress by creating a suspend point. Like you’d imagine, this simply saves where you left off at any point in a game and these will remain after turning off the console.
The big new feature for SNES version is the ability to Rewind suspend points. With this, you can watch up to 40 seconds of previous gameplay from a suspend point and jump in at any point to try a tough spot again. I’ve already used this feature a few times to keep retrying the final lap in a Mario Kart GP until I came in first place (Yoshi is such a cheater BTW).
One minor complaint is that the only way to reset and get to the home screen is to physically toggle the switch on the console. This means having to get up from the couch every time you want to switch games, save or rewind gameplay. My initial thought was that you could reset the by pressing Select/Start simultaneously, but no go. Resetting from the controller would’ve been great, because you’ll be hitting that reset switch a lot when playing.
The interface also allows you to pick from 3 different display modes, a 4:3 aspect ratio, a 4:3 aspect ration with a CRT filter over it, or a pixel perfect (square) mode. Each mode looks great, colors and the sharpness of pixels makes these 90’s graphics shine, these games look really good. Another cool little feature is that when you leave your system alone for a minute, it’ll start to play game footage in the background, but it’ll play your actual gameplay footage, not a recorded reel.
Games: Starfox is hard, but not as hard as Super Punch-Out!
The SNES Classic comes with 21 built-in games, and nearly every pick is a slam dunk. Super Mario World, The Legend of Zelda, and Donkey Kong Country are must picks, but also appreciated are the inclusions of Earthbound, F-Zero, Contra III, and Super Punch-Out! Though notably excluded is Chrono Trigger, a game that I and many others would’ve loved to have seen on the SNES Classic.
The games also range in difficultly greatly. At the time of writing this, the easiest game I’ve played is Kirby Super Star which I’ve yet to die. While the most difficult games have been Star Fox, which took me multiple tries to beat the first level, and Super Punch Out!, with opponents having a steep difficulty curve that has made each fighter more daunting than the last.
Overall, the selection of games here is top notch, and there are a number of games that everyone will want to play through. Though, no Chrono Trigger still kinda stings, especially when there’s Kirby Dream Course, a Kirby based isometric golf game that really doesn’t do much for me.
The SNES Classic is a must own for anyone with even a passing interest in old school Nintendo. Although I had a Super Nintendo growing up, and I only remember playing Super Mario World and Donkey Kong Country, those games still feel just as amazing to me as when I was a kid.
If you manage to find one, buy it and enjoy a blast from the past. Just don’t buy from any scalpers, this launch has gone smooth enough that you shouldn’t have to wait too long to get your hands on one and it’s worth the wait.