Nintendo’s Classic Mini NES is a sleek, miniaturised version of the classic console that mimics the look and feel of the original hardware to great effect. Costing £50/$60 (with prices currently inflated to over double that owing to stock shortages) it comes complete with a single controller, and it’s preloaded with 30 classic games. It’s a convenient nostalgia trip for those unwilling to track down original cartridges and offers plenty of value too. Retro gaming is only gaining in popularity, but soaring online prices put a true NES collection out of reach for many. The Classic Mini, known as the NES Classic Edition in North America, bridges that gap effectively. But just how well does the hardware hold up to close scrutiny, and how closely does the emulation compare to original hardware?
Let’s start with the hardware. Both console and controller are built from reasonable quality plastics, with the main device a pleasingly authentic replica of original hardware, downsized to fit in the palm of your hand. However, the key difference is in connectivity: it outputs HDMI and it’s powered by micro-USB, sporting a pair of controller ports based on the Wiimote connector standard. The feel of the controller is a surprisingly close match for the original NES design; a sturdy yet authentic replica, with a d-pad that feels identical to the original.
The drawback? In a bid for accuracy this is a purely wired pad, with an exceptionally short cord to the base unit – it’s actually shorter than the controller that shipped with original hardware. Extension cables are available, and it’s also possible to attach the Wii Classic controller directly too – though this alternative has its own issues with cord length.