by Graham Pierrepoint
Get it while it’s hot – Nintendo had officially released its SNES Classic Mini, the follow-up to the surprisingly successful HD remake of its original NES console last year. This new model, once again assumedly available on a limited basis, promises to be a further trip down memory lane for old school gamers – with a legion of titles that helped to make the SNES so popular back in its heyday in the early to mid 1990s. It's been a roaring success so far – and its HD output, save options and more besides seem to make it more than viable as an alternative to shady ROM downloading – but is the SNES Mini really worth owning?
For the most part, it seems that the games available on the HD re-release of what many have named the ‘greatest console of all time’ arguably make the unit worth the while. Many Nintendo fans will be impressed by the hardware – all of the games on the unit are now available in HD as opposed to the fiddly SCART and AV cables of old – meaning that the titles here really have been remastered for a new generation – but the titles on offer here may even surprise those who are more than a little sceptical.
Celebrated titles such as Super Mario World and Super Metroid – which have long since been made available on Nintendo’s Virtual Console stable – of course lead the pack, but offerings in the form of RPGs Earthbound and Secret of Mana, as well as the hugely underrated Kirby’s Dream Course and Super Punch Out for those in favor of more sporty outings, help to beef up the package. For European players, there’s even Super Mario RPG – which was never released outside of the US and Japan.
But what will really help to sell the SNES Mini – beyond the promise of HD and the fact that so many big games are in the line-up? Emulation has been huge for some time now, and it really does seem that this new offering from Nintendo may offer players everywhere with the chance to get into classic gaming on a convenient – and altogether affordable – basis. The latest system seems to be getting rave reviews – and with rumors that Nintendo have secured a patent that may lead to an N64 Mini in the years to come, don’t be surprised if the firm trades off on its brilliant past for a little while longer.