Known as the best-selling console of the 16-bit era, the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES) has been hugely popular amongst fans and collectors alike since the early to mid ’90s, selling around 49 million units worldwide. Originally released in the US and Europe in 1992, the SNES housed many firm favourite first and third party titles including Super Mario World, Star Fox, Mega Man X, Street Fighter II and Final Fantasy III. As Nintendo’s second home console, its 16-bit design presented graphics which simulated 3D effects and used an impressive 30,000+ colour palette. For its time, it was the pinnacle of modern gaming. 25 years on and the Super NES: Nintendo Classic Mini edition represents that point in time for older gamers and newer fans too.
What’s in the box?
There’s a unique and satisfying taste in the air when unboxing the Super NES Mini. It’s probably because I’ve never owned one. I’ve played on multiple SNES consoles over the years and have completed many titles on the virtual console. But it’s not quite the same. Unboxing the Super NES Mini edition is probably as authentic as it will get for me. In the box, you’ll find the Super NES console, HDMI and USB cables and two wired classic controllers. For those in North America, you’ll also find an AC adapter too, sadly this isn’t the case for Europe once again. Fortunately for those lacking an AC adapter, hooking up the Super NES to a Nintendo Switch dock will do the job easily, with the HDMI cable easily switched between the two consoles.
Appearance and Design
Depending on where you’re located, the Super NES will mimic the appearance of the original localised edition. For European gamers, the classic grey and RBYG button colours will apply, while North American gamers have the classic grey and purple design. Though we received the former, the console’s appearance is delightful with a just-for-show closed cartridge slot and eject button. With USB and HDMI ports on the back, the controllers attach at the front by pulling down a small flap. They also have a neat Wii port connector, which easily attach to Wii remotes for use on the Virtual Console too – another handy feature. Unlike the NES Classic edition, which featured relatively short controller connection cables, the Super NES features cables around 5 foot (1.5m) and serve as an adequate separation distance between console and TV.
On the console itself, there’s only two interactive buttons; a power flick switch and a reset button. Firing up the console will present the main menu featuring 21 SNES games, while pressing the reset button will allow players to exit a game and save it within a suspend point. It’s nostalgic and oddly refreshing that each time I wanted to play a different game or switch off the console, I had to get up to do it. We’ve become so accustomed to just switching it off from our controllers, that it’s become a trivial feature. Although it would be nice to have that option on the controller, particularly if you’re playing many different games in one session, it wouldn’t be in keeping with the console’s authenticity. And hey, at least we actually move every once in a while from our set-in-stone gaming positions.
Menus, Games & Pricing
The Super NES Mini comes with 21 games, including the exclusive and never-before-released title, Star Fox 2. With the console priced at £69.99 (or £79.99) / $79.99, it totals around (£/$)3.80 or less per game, which is fairly evenly priced considering some titles, such as Earthbound, cost a pretty penny on the Virtual Console a couple of years back. If you do manage to grab a Super NES Mini at base RRP, you’ll find games such as Secret of Mana, Super Ghouls ‘N Ghosts, Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars, and Super Castlevania IV, amongst others included. But with no real uniformity in terms of appearance, each game will perform differently at 60Hz. Racing titles like F-Zero and Super Mario Kart are a real eye-strain, while Star Fox suffers from visual bouts of inaccuracy. Yet Super Mario World, The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past and the aforementioned Secret of Mana look and play beautifully. It’s a real mix bag of playability and, although to an extent it’s to be expected, younger gamers or players who remove their rose-coloured lenses, may need to remind themselves that games were not pixel perfect 25 years ago and will not always respond as quickly.
The in-game menu has some nice features too, including the ability to add a frame around your TV screen when playing a game, alongside three different display ratios. Games can also be sorted alphabetically, by recently played or by displaying two-player only titles first. When exiting a game, you’ll be able to create a save state or a suspend point which can be picked up later. With four slots available per game, there’s a nice amount available for platform titles in particular.
Perhaps the best new feature on the Super NES Mini, though, is its ability to rewind up to 45 seconds of gameplay in a platformer or a few minutes in an RPG. A godsend for the modern player, it’s a nifty little feature that makes all the difference in Donkey Kong Country and Super Ghouls ‘N Ghosts. Enabling you to redo a move that resulted in a jumping faux pas or missed hit, the rewind feature can be accessed when saving a suspended state and jumping back into play seconds before you failed. Rewind and fast forward in chunks, or watch the whole sequence to discover where timing was crucial and play through once again. Now if only we didn’t have to reset the console every time we wanted to rewind, it would be a near perfect feature.
Where can you get one?
As a system, the Super NES Mini rests in the palm of your hand with ease. But whether or not fans will be able to get their own hands on one is a separate issue entirely. When pre-orders for the classic console went live last week, stores were inundated with requests and many retailers sold out within minutes rather than hours. While it was presumed stock would be an issue from the get-go, it was to be handled with much more zeal than the NES Classic Mini, with Nintendo promising to produce “significantly more” units of the Super NES Mini. If you weren’t lucky enough to pre-order one this time, there are likely to be waves of orders coming to the major US and UK retail outlets in the following months. Nintendo has stated it will restock them until the holiday season, but it’s not yet known whether they will do so in 2018.
We’re looking forward to testing the console to its limits in future content, but for now you can pick up the Super NES: Nintendo Classic Mini when it goes on general sale from September 29th 2017.
Disclaimer: A Super NES: Nintendo Classic Mini (PAL) Edition was sent to us a month before general release for preview and review purposes.