Super Nintendo Classic Mini - Flashbacks and Returning Addictions
Rarely in modern culture can a person look at a purchase and say: “yes, this lived up to...nay EXCEEDED my expectations.” This happens, surely, but not often...not often enough, anyway. I purchase far too much in my life—whether it be books, collectibles, films, or music—and I struggle to remember how many times I’ve had the experience in the last 5 years. Maybe Lego Helm’s Deep from 2012. I would have to reach deep into my memory to recall other recent buys I made personally that made me say, “Worth it.”
Now, I have another.
When the Nintendo Super Nintendo (SNES) Classic was announced, I was excited. Once the game selections were released, I was ecstatic. As the pre-orders came and went, I became obsessed. I missed more than one opportunity to acquire the system, literally having my cart emptied at multiple sites during the check-out process (#thanksRobots). Fortunately, I had good friends who were dedicated to ensuring I was able to get one of the systems for retail price. And they delivered. Two of them. This amazing act of gaming camaraderie allowed me to get one console for myself and another for a former roommate as a gift. For all the frustration surrounding the pre-orders in August, I had that much elation upon getting his text that the system had arrived at his door!
After much effort, I was able to acquire the SNES Classics I wanted, and I was satisfied.
Little did I know how much more delight was coming. I’ll admit, it took an hour of exploring and gameplay to get used to the 16-bit sprites on a widescreen TV, but that hurdle became endearing quickly. In fact, pretty much everything about the SNES Classic became endearing once I was using it on the regular. The familiarity of the controls, the simplicity of the gameplay, and the overall interface continue to impress me each time I sit at the retro console. “Wow,” I think, “I cannot believe this even exists.” I’ve rediscovered a joy for older games like Super Castlevania IV, and begun to share Super Mario Kart with my 17-month old son (he calls it “Race” and says “oh no” when Koopa Troopa shows up to wreak havoc), and I have become pretty addicted to Super Punch-Out all over again.
The system not only boasts an array of games that fans wanted, but it has multiple features that enhance the experience. The system directs you to all of the game manuals online in pdf, and I have them saved right to my phone, which is fantastic. If no one ever told you this previously, take note right now: Read the manual before beginning a new game even if you played it as a kid; you’ll be amazed at how much it actually helps you succeed. Another great feature I did not expect was the "suspend" feature that essentially serves as an extended pause. When you exit a game by pressing the physical reset button, the system has your stopping point available to begin right where you left off, even if it was not an actual save point in the original programming. What I love most about this is that I remember days playing SNES in the 90’s when I would step away and leave the console on pause—sometimes for hours— because there was no save point; in fact, doing so was just part of the culture back then. This little feature captures that experience, only better, and each game has a generous 4 slots available to do this.
Of course, this leads me to my one criticism. I wish that every game had a section to “return to
menu” by pressing a sequence of buttons from the controller. So far, the only method I have
discovered to return to the menu is going to the console itself and pressing “reset“ manually.
You exit one game and the system allows you to save exactly where you were when you
pressed it, which is great, but you have to get up to do it. It’s an absurd criticism, I know. I almost debated omitting it from this piece completely, but hey, it’s a small, minor, silly, lazy-
person’s issue. And I have it. I’m not sure how hard it would have been to program a “return to menu” pop-up into the overarching code, but I would have loved if you could always return to
menu at anytime without having to move from the couch. But I feel almost embarrassed
admitting this is a shortcoming; like it’s more of an indictment of me as a man than the system itself. Or maybe they wanted you to relive the experience you had as a kid where games and sometimes even channels had to be changed by getting your butt off the couch.
Editor's Note: By playing with a controller using a "Home" or "turbo" button such as the Wii Classic Controller or the NYKO Miniboss, you can return to the menu with a press of the turbo button and select at the same time. -Chris
Yes, the SNES Classic delivers. Every time I sit to play it, I love it. I have a wonderful, nostalgic,
fun, and freeing experience that allows me a bit of respite from life’s many challenges, and I
have to say that nearly every time I turn the system to power, I think, “Worth it.” As I said, this
experience is a rare thing, and I am savoring it. I imagine that I would do so even if I had paid
twice as much.
As a non-gamer, writing for this site can sometimes be a challenge, but I have a wealth to say
about this retro console. In the months to come, I intend to do just that. Stay Tuned; and if you
haven’t yet, get one. And get a second for a friend. He/She will thank you for it (or curse you for giving them a brand new distraction from more pressing matters in life).
But the truth will remain: Worth it.