Nintendo to Sell Tiny Nintendos This November

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Posted by Jeff (6047 posts) -

Nintendo announced plans to get into the "Flashback" console business this November, with the release of a tiny, Nintendo Entertainment System-shaped device called the NES Classic Edition. It'll play 30 games and retail for $60. It'll have an HDMI port on it, so you can hook it up to modern TVs, and the games are built-in. So there's no immediate way for you to play your own cartridges or change the games on the device or anything like that. It'll come with an NES-style controller that has a Wii-style connector on it, so you can plug it into the nunchuck-like ports on the device itself or use it as an Extra-Classic Classic Controller on your Wii or Wii U. You can buy a second controller for $9.99. Each game has multiple "suspend points" that let you save the game state and recall it later to continue.

Them's the facts. People seem to fall into two camps on the unit, with some expecting this thing to be way more functional than it is and others who are just psyched to play some old Nintendo games and haven't figured out some other way to do that via the Virtual Console or flea markets or whatever. Oh, here's the list of the old Nintendo games this unit can play:

I can palm a basketball, but a Nintendo?
I can palm a basketball, but a Nintendo?

For the record, I think this is a near-perfect list of games for a thing designed to be sold at, like, Urban Outfitters or Target on some end cap where someone might see it and think "hey, I used to love these damned video games" and impulse buy it. I mean, I might put Contra on there instead of Super C? And I refuse to recognize Mr. Dream as the card-carrying member of the WVBA. And no one in their right mind actually wants the NES versions of Pac-Man or Galaga. But yes! This is a nicely varied list.

If I were hashtag building the list for a pre-loaded NES console, I'd probably fill it out this way, but then I don't need to try to make a commercially viable collection of 8-bit Nintendo games:

Pictures of boxes.
Pictures of boxes.

Anyway, I look forward to buying one of these devices and immediately putting it on a shelf somewhere so I can occasionally see it and think "wow, that's a tiny Nintendo!"

Actually, I also look forward to hearing more about the internals of this thing, which probably won't come to light until someone gets one and rips it open. Will it be the same NES-on-a-Chip design that's powered a million Famiclones? Will someone figure out a way to solder an SD card slot onto the board for maximum "fun?" What sort of accuracy can we expect from a Nintendo-made device that we aren't getting from all these middle-of-the-mall-ass 72-in-1 multi-consoles? Some of those devices have been more than a little dodgy over the years. That said, other companies have been making this sort of thing for years. Here's me playing around with a Colecovision Flashback back in 2014, in case you're interested (and in case you're a premium member, I should add).

In conclusion, the tiny Nintendo looks neat! I don't know that I have any personal use for one, seeing as I already own most of those games in a variety of formats, but I feel strangely drawn to it in a way that will almost certainly translate into me owning one later this year. That's probably dumb of me, but I've come to accept it.

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Avatar image for mike
#1 Edited by Mike (17982 posts) -

This thing has more games I'm interested in playing than the PS4 and Xbox One combined.

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Avatar image for parlour
#2 Posted by Parlour (6 posts) -

That thing is pretty novel.

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#3 Posted by darkvare (1017 posts) -

i like how it looks so i'm getting one

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#4 Posted by segajupiter (104 posts) -

Great list Jeff.

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#5 Posted by hassun (9877 posts) -

Seems to mostly be another nostalgia play. Wonder how good the controllers are though.

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#6 Posted by Driadon (3253 posts) -

Not going to lie, I would be much more excited if your little list was the games on offer. Rivier City Ransom and Dragon Warrior are pretty effing big holes in the official lineup.

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#7 Posted by Sergotron (596 posts) -

Hell yeah Tiger Heli! Seems like sometimes like I'm the only person who has played it.

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#8 Posted by nmarchan (189 posts) -

I feel like there's something going on with the licensing for the NES version of Contra, because from what I can tell it hasn't shown up for purchase anywhere in a long time. It's not on Virtual Console, either. It seems the last place it showed up was as a bonus in the Contra 4 DS game.

As far as the tiny Nintendo stuff goes, it seems like a really smart product.

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#9 Edited by TMart (28 posts) -

Saw this mentioned on Twitter this morning and quickly went from "Oh, shit!" to "Oh. Shit."

...still buying one.

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#10 Edited by mrcraggle (3075 posts) -

Why Castlevania 2? Why not just skip it and put 3 on there?

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#11 Posted by dstopia (360 posts) -

The packaging and the concept itself completely reminds me of every single bootleg console ever. That's about the market they seem to be targeting, I guess.

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#12 Posted by johnnymcginley (515 posts) -

As someone who doesn't own any Nintendo products and doesn't really like playing emulators on a computer for any length of time (it just isn't the same), this thing is super rad.

It's the same thing as having Netflix/WWE Network/Spotify compared to torrenting movies/PPVs/music, if you offer me a much easier way to access the content I want at a reasonable price then I will go with that option rather than scumming around for it for free.

It also will definitely interest others in my life for at least a couple of sessions. Plugging something into the TV is much more desirable than "HEY HUNCH AROUND MY LAPTOP AND WE WILL PLAY SOME GAMES TOGETHER, OH WAIT I HAVE TO GO TO THIS RUSSIAN SITE, OH WAIT YOU JUST LOAD THE FILE. YEAH YOU USE THE KEYBOARD TO CONTROL IT,"

Cool!

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#13 Posted by driver3000 (18 posts) -

I'm definitely sold on the look. The fact that it's small enough to easily tuck away somewhere is a bonus. I just hope the controller cords are long enough since most people play on 50"+ tvs these days.

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#14 Posted by bururian (12 posts) -

The fun thing about it is that it's also super portable so you can take it with you as needed.

Sure, I can get some of these games on my 3DS, but this guy is also a conversational piece. A thing to bring people together. I sure as heck think it's really cool and would change out some games for others, but in lieu of some games not being on VC or having flea markets to find old NES games, I'll take this guy. I will definitely buy one of the controllers so I can in fact play the NES games I DO have on my VC with the originally intended controller.

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#15 Posted by jSlack (1186 posts) -

Ice Hockey, but no Blades of Steel? Tough choice.

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#16 Posted by Chucklestyle (39 posts) -

I feel like the cartridge slot not opening up for an SD card or whatever is a missed opportunity, but I very much understand why they would keep the thing a closed environment.

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#17 Posted by BlazeHedgehog (1283 posts) -

No Castlevania 3 means the sound coming out of my mouth right now is a big wet fart noise.

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#18 Edited by antime (170 posts) -

In the comments of Ars Technica's piece, someone noted that all the listed games are available for the 3DS virtual console, with save state support, and speculated that the box would be based on a modified 3DS chipset.

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#19 Posted by McP (40 posts) -

I really thought the NX would be so much more than this.

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#20 Posted by enemymouse (527 posts) -

I look forward to someday hearing the words, "I was in my garage, touching a NES Classic Edition"

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#21 Posted by MattyFTM (14884 posts) -

Considering those games are still $5 a piece on the Virtual Console, it's not a bad deal if there are several of those games that you want to play. Although I imagine they're churning out those things for around $10 and making a massive margin on them.

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#22 Posted by DevvyBoyyy (195 posts) -

I just need it to upscale to 1080p (or higher... but I don't expect that from Nintendo) and I'm fine.

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#23 Edited by sundowner (32 posts) -

Tiny Nintendos is the name of my new prog rock band

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#24 Posted by dreiszen (83 posts) -

Wake me up when Nintendo releases the tiny SNES Classic, and even then only if it has Star Fox 2 on it.

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#25 Posted by RudeCubes (170 posts) -

I'm more interested in this one than the others (aside from the Genesis ones I guess) but i'd be way more into a SNES one that included Mario All-Stars + World.

Avatar image for sil3n7
#26 Edited by Sil3n7 (1505 posts) -

Vice: Project Doom is great but it's no Ninja Gaiden.

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#27 Edited by caramelpolice (15 posts) -

Actually, I also look forward to hearing more about the internals of this thing, which probably won't come to light until someone gets one and rips it open. Will it be the same NES-on-a-Chip design that's powered a million Famiclones? Will someone figure out a way to solder an SD card slot onto the board for maximum "fun?" What sort of accuracy can we expect from a Nintendo-made device that we aren't getting from all these middle-of-the-mall-ass 72-in-1 multi-consoles?

I've seen it pointed out that the entire list of games on this thing are available on the Virtual Console for 3DS, and that there's a decent chance this is basically 3DS (probably "old" 3DS/2DS) guts running a version of the VC emulator, which makes a lot of sense to me. A 2DS can be had for $70-$80 these days - cut out the cost of the display and shove it in a mini-NES box and here you go.

EDIT: Someone beat me to this, apparently.

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#28 Edited by TechnoSyndrome (1608 posts) -

Konami's got this weird thing with the NES version of Contra where they refuse to rerelease it for some reason. They've released both Super C and Contra III on the Wii, Wii U and 3DS, but the original Contra is nowhere to be found on any of them.

I hope Nintendo does the same with the SNES and N64 down the line so we can get Wii compatible versions of those controllers as well, a SNES Wii Classic Controller even exists already but was exclusive to Club Nintendo in Japan and Europe.

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#29 Posted by deactivated-5a770cd139c35 (1 posts) -

Seems like the best way to think of this thing is as a collection ala Rare Replay, rather than as a modular piece of hardware. It's a platform-independent way to access a specific slate of great games, in a very cute novelty package.

For me, the dealbreaker will be: how well are the games displayed? NES games look pretty terrible on the Wii U virtual console due to the scaling algorithm and colour palettes they chose to use, and if they look the same on this device, it'll be disappointing.

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#30 Posted by Walker_Boh (37 posts) -

Let me know when they start selling tiny SNESs. I'd be all over that.

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#31 Edited by BisonHero (11564 posts) -

I wonder if this indicates Nintendo backing away from any major Virtual Console strategy in the future. I feel like when it was new, people bought a bunch of stuff for the Wii, but I wonder if the Virtual Console sales have been much lower on the 3DS and Wii U, to the point that they figure they've probably sold all the Virtual Console games they can on those devices to all the people that really care. And maybe the NX isn't going to bother with Virtual Console at this point, whereas this mini NES is an inexpensive solution that can get out there on toy store shelves.

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#32 Posted by TheHT (15797 posts) -

i wants it.

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#33 Posted by KaneRobot (2774 posts) -

Hopefully this ain't no middle of the mall shit.

I'll pass though. No way to download new games, and you can't use old cartridges with it. I'd gladly pay another 10 bucks or whatever if that was a feature. Nothing I can't do with a Raspberry Pi or even a decent phone. Only thing it really has going for it are looks.

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#34 Posted by Melliott3 (1 posts) -

From the perspective of a mid-30s dad with 3 kids under 5 and basically no time ever to deal with a Retron or some emulator on a computer, this thing makes sooooo much sense. I'll play it like an hour a week and bust it out when other dads come over.

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#35 Posted by Deathpooky (1840 posts) -

That is a pretty damn amazing list of games. Plus nice they actually got some major third parties involved instead of just slapping their own free stuff on there. I could quibble with a few games and there are some others I'd like to see, but otherwise that's pretty much a perfect list with 20-25 games I would love to be able to play on demand. Especially since I tragically sold my NES and games before I knew better. And it's a far better deal then buying them through VC (and continually having to reload/rebuy them for new consoles).

I also like the idea of a cheap starter console with an actual good library of games that I could give my young kids at some point in the future, given that nearly everything that comes out on modern consoles of any quality is too complicated and/or too adult.

Avatar image for nickux
#36 Posted by nickux (1572 posts) -

I never owned a Genesis growing up so it's always been the console I have the least familiarity with. I wish Sega would make a sanctioned non-shitty one on-par with this and fill it with whatever Sega kids considered the best. Phantasy Star I hear was good? Which one is the best?

Avatar image for joshthevaliant
#37 Posted by JoshtheValiant (69 posts) -

@bisonhero: It might be a test run of the concept. The fact that others pointed out of all the games being available on VC suggests it may be more of a package deal and novelty than a shift in strategy, but who knows? We'll know more next year.

Avatar image for jedikv
#38 Posted by jedikv (456 posts) -

Kind of bummed they went with the Wii-ports rather than USB...but I guess that's nintendo being nintendo.

Avatar image for joey
#39 Posted by joey (1067 posts) -

I'm excited to see how the controller feels. Ten bucks sounds pretty good for it.

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#40 Edited by DarkbeatDK (2486 posts) -

This isn't for me, but then again I'm one of those people who are dumb enough to pay out the nose for modding and hardware to make my Famicom the best. Not worth it for most people, to be honest!

The NES has a great library, so if we're rattling off games that we think should be on this thing, I'd like to add:

If they're outputting to HDMI, it probably won't be the NES-On-A-Chip thing, since I think they only offer composite? I'm not to sure if the PPU was a part of those things or not. It'll probably be some kinda Android or Raspberry Pi box with their own skin on it, but who knows with those crazy Nintendo devs? Maybe they have their own crazy thing cooked up that hackers eventually will find a way to utilize in nefarious (but cool) ways.

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#41 Posted by Colonel_Pockets (1314 posts) -

I will buy this. $60 for 30 games seems like a good deal, even though I own a couple of the listed games on other systems.

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#42 Posted by reverendhunt (991 posts) -

And no one in their right mind actually wants the NES versions of Pac-Man

I must not be in my right mind....

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#43 Posted by Mento (4219 posts) -

Dang, it'd have been so cute to have a bunch of tiny carts to go with it. I guess you might accidentally vacuum up a lot of them though.

I'm hoping this does well enough for Nintendo that a Mini-SNES follows closely behind. Get me a free SNES Classic Controller for Super Mario Maker on Wii U whenever I'm not using the tiny guy to play Super Mario World or Kirby Super Star.

Moderator
Avatar image for mercutio123
#44 Posted by mercutio123 (568 posts) -

I never had an original or any Nintendo console so I'll get it !

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#45 Posted by Naoiko (1674 posts) -

I wanna get one of these things.

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#46 Posted by Dan_CiTi (5186 posts) -

No 100 World Story no buy. Hopefully this thing is very hackable.

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#47 Posted by VierasTalo (1431 posts) -

I find the lack of Metal Storm on both of these lists disconcerting.

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#48 Posted by DookieRope (303 posts) -

No Captain Skyhawk, no deal.

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#49 Posted by CornBREDX (7356 posts) -

I agree, Jeff. As a life long gamer also I am incredibly intrigued by this thing and currently I am really interested in getting one come November.

Avatar image for benmo316
#50 Posted by Benmo316 (1088 posts) -

I'm way into this! I never had a Nintendo so I missed a bunch of these games (aside from the Mario games which I played at a friend's house before Kindergarten). Now, rather than go out of my way to buy a used NES, that might or might not work, connectors so I can play it on my TV and pay a lot for a few game cartridges, that might or might not work, I can just spend $60, plug it in and play some classics. And since I missed out in the SNES, too (I started with a Genesis in 1992 and then moved onti the N64 when it was released) I hope to see a similar product for that down the road.

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