Any way you look at it, Nintendo’s recent successes can be traced back to their persistence to play upon players’ weaknesses for times gone by. Best examples include: the many handheld console re-designs that frequently throwback to the house of Mario’s retro roots, the way in which Virtual Console single-handedly ushered the Wii U’s almost-dead carcass across the finish line, and the admittedly muddled launch of the NES classic late last year.
Well now they’ve only gone and done it again with the recent release of the SNES classic mini, a glorified emulator that finds itself appropriately housed within a 90s nostalgia-driven shell. Yet for as understandably pessimistic a stance one could take when exploring their reasoning for doing so, the SNES Mini is helping gamers tap into their 90s affection. Providing they can get their hands on one. Here’s how:
The (mostly) cracking games line-up
Nintendo’s pint-sized console throwback arrives jam-packed full of 20 SNES “favourites” as well as the fabled Star Fox 2. As games line-ups go the SNES’s catalogue makes a good case as being one of the best, featuring the likes of Super Metroid, Final Fantasy VI, as well as one of the greatest platformers ever made: Super Mario World. The addition of a previously released title is a nice touch, giving collectors a good excuse to purchase such classics all over again.
Most of these games still hold up in 2017, and those that don’t make for a nice change of pace for any millennials interested in checking out the experiences they should be thanking for how games have evolved today. Whether it’s via shooting up a few fools in the criminally punishing Contra III, taking to the tracks in Super Mario Kart, or swinging your way through Donkey Kong Country, the 16-bit glory of these titles still shines strong for the most part.
The 5ft long controller cord
As controversial as it might seem, I’m off the firm belief that Nintendo’s decision to provide two finely-detailed SNES controllers with cords of just 5ft in length, isn’t to cut back costs, but bring us closer together. It helps the act of playing these classic experiences feel more reminiscent of the days when you and friends would all huddle around the screen in the effort to gain an edge, assuming a cross-legged position while finding ourselves entranced by the SNES wonders.
The little Grey box
As silly as it may sound, the SNES mini’s compact re-creation of the original console design is immensely satisfying, and goes a long way to complete the nostalgic package. While anyone could replicate the offerings this small little grey box provides by way of emulation, that’s kind of missing the point. The SNES mini’s aesthetic is appealing to people for the same reasons that same audience prefers physical media over digital: It’s cool to look at, no matter how insignificant or few times you do so.