The Nintendo Entertainment System, a name that conjurs countless memories for me, mostly because it was the first game console I can recall playing. Whether it be cooperating in Mario Bros with my brother and mother, blowing into the game cartridges when they did not load, crying out in frustration at excruciatingly difficult level designs, or even my father tripping over its cord, rendering the console unplayable. This system imbued me with a love for the artistic craft and storytelling—which ultimately directed me down a writer’s path. Nintendo means a lot of things to a lot of people: family, friends, adventure, mystery, and sometimes irritation. So many feelings, originating back to the console’s 1985 release. Now, 31 years later, The Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) is back, in the form of the NES Classic Edition
This fresh iteration of the NES is almost completely identical to its pre-21st century predecessor. It has the same two buttons—power and reset—the same grooves and indents, the same color scheme, and the same flap, previously used to shield games from dust. However, this remake does not yield game cartages, for it is a quarter of the original’s size. Instead, it comes immersed with 30 timeless games installed within its tiny shell. Classics such as: Mario Bros One, Two, and Three, The Legend of Zelda, Castlevania, Mega Man 2, Donkey Kong, and so many more. These games will do more than just incite nostalgic glee, they will undoubtedly leave players shocked at the vibrant sprites on-screen, thanks to the inclusion of a HDMI port on the back of the machine. These 8-bit outings have never looked so dynamic. Even the console’s gamepads have been faithfully recreated. The most observant gaming historian would be hard pressed to spot the differences, save for one important aspect: the wire length. The official controllers only extend two-and-a -half feet from the machine, leaving some players uncomfortably close to their televisions.
Now You’re Playing with Power
“Now you’re playing with power.” This was Nintendo’s original slogan, a phrase that made one feel as though he or she was at the forefront of technological advancement. This catchphrase comes printed on the packaging, showing two things: Nintendo really wants to drive home the nostalgia factor, and that said nostalgia is not just skin deep, memories come from the console’s aesthetics, gameplay, and even the box the NES is sold in. The NES Classic Edition aims to do more than just rekindle your love for retro gaming, it also wants to improve on them by presenting each game in three different modes: pixel perfect, a sharpened and vivid display, 4:3, which pulls the games horizontally for wide televisions, and a CRT filter, which replicates a more vintage appearance, complete with scan lines. Not only that, your progress on these 8-bit gems can now be saved, something impossible on the original console. There is one drawback back to this, however. You either must get up and press the system’s reset button, or have the NES Classic situated next to you for easy reset access. This could be the reason the controller’s cords are so restricting, nevertheless, this is not an excuse.
Despite their age, these games are still a joy to experience. From jumping on your foes’ heads as the titular Mario, or exploring a vast kingdom in Zelda, The Nintendo Entertainment System still has a lot to offer in 2016. The graphics may be crude and the sounds may be a gathering of basic notes, but that does not matter, for the fun these games provide you with feels as enjoyable as ever. Good times don’t age. Aside from the romanticism of youth, there is another big perk to owning the NES Classic—the capability of local multiplayer. It is not very often video games of today permit couch co-op or versus, it is all about online play, yet here there are numerous games one can play with a friend or family member in the same room.
The NES Classic Edition is a time capsule to an era when video games did not exhibit ample gore or have millions of dollars backing their development. These were family friendly experiences usually made by a small group of individuals. These were the trailblazers, the reasons we have the productions we play today. Because of their basic yet inventive appeal, they can still resonate with gamers today, no matter if you are reliving or discovering them. Despite the guaranteed fun, the short controller cable will be a big issue for some in terms of comfort. Note: The NES Classic Edition costs $59.99. The availability of this retro counsel is very limited, but stay tuned to Nintendo’s twitter (@NintendoNYC) for updates.
Accessory Fixes to the NES Classic Edition
If you are super excited to relive your childhood with the NES but the notion of a short controller wire seems too awkward to entertain, we have got you covered. Here is a short list of ways you can overcome the problem.
A long HDMI wire: HDMI cables are pretty cheap to come by nowadays. Pick up an extensive cord from Amazon or a local retailer. This allows you to have the NES sitting beside, so you don’t have to get up to save your game or have to struggle with the short gamepad.
My Arcade Controllers: Third party controllers have always been a cheaper option to their official counterparts, although they aren’t usually touted as being a better product. The My Arcade GamePad Retro and Classic could be the exception. Priced at $9.99 and $14.99 respectively, these two controllers offer either a 10-foot cable or a completely wireless device, an instant fix.
NES to controller to NES Classic Adapter: This product does exactly what it says on the box. If you have an old NES controller lying around, you can use this adapter to connect your original pad into your new console.