Mini NES: This Nintendo Classic Is Making a Come Back

The Mini NES, also known as the NES Classic Edition, will hit shelves again this summer. And gamers, like myself, are super excited.

Consoles have undergone a massive shift over the past few decades. Although we have many next-gen gaming consoles, from the Xbox One to the PS4, they owe their existence to older consoles, such as the NES and SNES. Nintendo was one of the pioneers of video game consoles, and the NES was one of their most successful launches. Below, we look at the history of the console, as well as what the future holds for the NES Classic Edition.

What is the NES?

The NES, also known as the Nintendo Entertainment System, originally came out in Japan in 1983. The console’s name was the Famicom in Japan. However, the console was branded the NES when it was released in the United States in 1985. Its name also remained NES when the console launched globally.

The Nintendo NES was hugely popular when it was released, and it sold millions of units within its first year on the market. The NES was an 8-bit console. Although it was a very low tech console compared to the gaming consoles and smartphones we have today, it was a huge step forward for the video games industry at that time.

The popularity of the NES was also in no small part due to the range of titles that it offered. Many of Nintendo’s most famous video game franchises and titles came from the NES. Notable examples include Super Mario Bros, which brought Mario and Luigi to the public’s consciousness, as well as the Legend of Zelda, Final Fantasy, and Metroid, among many others.

During the console’s original run, over 700 game titles were released on the NES. This not only proves just how popular and enduring the console was but also highlights just how much work collectors have to do to collect every title!

Although the NES was a hugely successful games console, its popularity started to wane in the 1990s with the advent of 16-bit gaming consoles. These more advanced consoles had more processing power, better graphics, and demand quickly grew for consoles such as the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. In 1995, production of the NES ceased. Its replacement, the SNES, continued as the successor to the NES.

What is the NES Classic Edition?

The inner workings of the NES

Image CC0, by Evan-Amos, via Wikimedia Commons

When many thought the NES was gone forever and just confined to a collector’s cabinet, Nintendo announced that they would bring back the NES in the form of the NES Classic, also known as the Mini NES.

The NES Classic Edition was a miniaturized version of the original Nintendo NES and came with one full-size NES Classic controller. It was not a full re-release of the console, as the Mini NES only had pre-installed games. By the end of 2016, the console had been launched globally.

There were 30 games that you could play on the console, so there were a lot of titles to choose from. Of course, the fan favorites were present, including:

  • Super Mario Bros / Super Mario Bros 2 / Super Mario Bros 3
  • The Legend of Zelda
  • Donkey Kong
  • Mega Man 2
  • Final Fantasy
  • Ninja Gaiden
  • Pac Man
  • Ghosts’n Goblins

The Mini NES also offered plenty of extra features to entice gamers and collectors alike. For example, the NES Classic Controller is compatible with the NES virtual games on Wii and Wii U consoles, or you can connect the controller to a Wii controller.

The NES Classic Has New Features

The NES Classic Edition console also has some extra features, for those that like to put the nostalgia back into their gaming. For example, the console comes with three different display modes. You can choose the CRT filter, which has a look and feel of using an old TV. Alternatively, you can select the 4:3 display mode, which gives a slightly stretched appearance to games. Finally, there’s the pixel perfect display mode, which lets you see the games exactly as they were designed, pixel by pixel.

Aside from options to customize how the games on the Mini NES look, the NES Classic Edition console also offers new features such as suspend points. There are four suspend point slots in each of the console’s 30 games. These slots let you save your progress and come back to the game at a later date exactly where you left off. The suspend slots can also be useful where you have a great game and don’t want to lose your progress should your character die in-game. By using a suspend slot, you can keep playing safe in the knowledge that you won’t lose your progress.

To activate a suspend point you should press the reset button while in game. This will then allow you to return to the home menu, where you can save your game to one of its four slots.

Issues with the NES Classic Edition Release

Mini NES

Image CC BY 2.0, by BagoGames, via Flickr

The release of the Mini NES proved to be popular with fans. Overall, fans appreciated having the chance to replay their favorite games, and the console was generally well received.

However, there were a few issues that did not go unnoticed. The main criticism was that the controller cord was too short. This meant that you had to sit very close to the console, and so usually your TV, to play a game. This was very frustrating for many players. In addition, there was also a shortage of stand-alone controllers. This proved irritating for anyone looking to buy another controller for a second player. Aside from issues with the controller, the other main criticism was that there were reported glitches in games’ sounds. Despite these minor problems, the launch was widely considered a success.

Unfortunately, the console’s popularity proved to be its downfall, as stores regularly sold out of the NES. Although Nintendo sold over two million units of the NES, demand often outstripped supply. This led to price scalping, and many were forced to pay well over the odds for the console, even into the hundreds of dollars if they really wanted one.

This issue became worse when Nintendo announced in April 2017 that production of the console would be discontinued. This led to even higher prices for the consoles that were still available to buy.

Many were also unaware that the NES Classic was only ever intended as a limited-time release, which led to further confusion. Ultimately, Nintendo explained that they did not have the resources at the time to continue producing the NES Classic Edition. Understandably, the news left a lot of fans disappointed.

Why Is the Mini NES Coming Back?

Although production of the NES Classic Edition stopped, there is good news for fans. In September 2017, Nintendo announced that they would produce more Mini NES consoles. These new units should be available to buy sometime during summer 2018.

The announcement also came with the news that Nintendo would launch the Super NES Classic Edition. With both consoles back on the market, there’s no excuse to not play a nostalgic game or two. Nintendo also commented that sales of the NES Classic Edition and Super NES Classic Edition should also help attract people back to the Nintendo Switch.

Overall, these measures should help to attract a new generation of Nintendo fans, while providing some nostalgia to those who grew up with these consoles.

You Can Buy Your Mini NES Soon

There will be 30 games in the NES Classic Edition

Image CC BY-SA 2.0, by Hades2k, via Flickr

Overall, the NES was a ground-breaking console and was the origin of many of the most popular video game franchises. We can thank the NES for Mario and Luigi, Donkey Kong, Link, and so many other characters.

Although the NES was hugely popular, sales stopped in 1995 when more advanced consoles became available. However, the NES had a second chance at life, and the NES Classic Edition launched in 2016.

Despite some issues with the console, the miniature NES was popular and sold many units. However, many were sad to hear the news that sales of the console stopped in 2016. Despite this setback, Nintendo announced the NES Classic will be back on sale in 2018. This is very exciting for those of us wh

Although we don’t know exactly when the console will hit shelves again, it should be around summer 2018. When the console is ready for sale, it should be available on Nintendo’s website.

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