Reliving every super game with those sixty hertz on the docket!
This past Tuesday, Nintendo surprised me with a rather sizable package in my mailbox. Inside was the brand new Nintendo Classic Mini: Super Nintendo Entertainment System, which features 20 all-time classic games that I will gladly replay. (Well, 21 if you include the hot new Star Fox 2.) While the answers for the questions here might be obvious, it's still amazing to experience playing on a small European Super Nintendo.
Let's start with the hardware itself. If you have ever seen a PAL SNES or Super Famicom, you know exactly what it will look like. It is a smooth grey box that starts with a big top and slowly shrinks in size as you go further to the front. At the top, there is the trademark logo on the upper right of the system. Beneath are the buttons, which are Power and Reset. The impressive thing is that they replicated the feel of them very well. The Power Button requires a rather hard push upward, ensuring that you can't accidentally touch it. The Reset button however? The easiest thing in the world to press, so you can still be a jerk to friends in 2017. Also replicated is the sharp power light near the front of the console. It is bright red and helps to give that sense of nostalgia.
The only major change in terms of hardware are the controller ports. Unlike the NES Classic Mini, they are located behind a faux controller port flap. It is pretty much a lever that you need to pull and keep down to plug the various controllers in. The space between the ports have been improved, meaning you could plug in two Wii Classic Controllers with ease now. Another improvement is that the flap is lowered enough so that the plastic bit on those controllers don't become an annoyance.
Although the choice is there, why use other controllers anyway? The system comes with two European SNES controllers right out of the box, colorful buttons and all. The only benefit of using theWii Pro Controller is thatthe main menu can be accessed via the Home button. While that is nice, I feel that I stayed longer on a single game with the SNES Classic Mini. Besides that, the feeling of a truly classic controller can't be beaten. It feels just as good as I remember it and I wouldn't have it any other way.
There's some oddities that are probably exclusive to the European version of the system, however. The upper and lower bars represent the system perfectly with all the correct logos and attributes. That being said, the backgrounds are the neon logos of the Super Famicom. Not that I mind them, but the games were marketed quite differently in Europe. Most of the boxes, including the one this system comes in, have this silver wipe that goes down to the bottom. The situation of the boxes on the main menu is even more interesting. They are using the American boxes to represent the games, likely to tell us straight up that these are the NTSC versions. While it makes sense, I did expect Nintendo to maybe go the extra mile and keep the European boxes.
The menus do have some neat touches, however. There are three filter options: CRT Filter, 4:3 and Pixel Perfect. While the filters had counterparts in NES Mini, the SNES version goes a step beyond that. You can surround your gameplay with eleven frames and most of them are quite neat. One truly gives off that television vibe with big audio systems placed at the borders, while another gives a cinema theater feel. Sure, this is all fluff, but it's enjoyable fluff.
The way that saves and restore points work have also seen a crazy upgrade. For starters, you can now make four Suspend Points per game, which is frankly insane. You can lock, unlock, move and delete those saves in the ways you see fit. It is easy hop into any of those saves and start right where you left off. During gameplay, however, mistakes can easily be made. You chose the wrong attack in a RPG, make a wrong jump in a platformer or miss that one hidden treasure in Super Mario RPG. The SNES Mini allows you to rewind time up to 45 seconds and fix the grave error that you made. You find a spot, pause with the Y-button and jump back in with START. It is also possible to make quick jumps in the time frame by pressing the L- and R-buttons. This will be a lifesaver for younger players or anyone not too confident with their skills in certain genres.
Naturally, I haven't had time to check every game in the library. That is why I went for the ones I really wanted to replay. The first game I booted up was Yoshi's Island, which I was truly curious about. The SNES version was never brought to any of the Virtual Console services, so I was wondering what was done to make this work now. The result is a wonderful looking version that I'll gladly replay. It is unlike the GBA game where everything feels zoomed out, and the controls feel easierpick up and play. That last factor was also true with Super Mario Kart. I felt rusty as I am more up to snuff with newer versions, but it was enjoyable despite all of that. Moving around with that thin view is a challenge, but the tracks are straightforward and fun.
That being said, I am far from done. There is, for example, Star Fox 2 waiting for me. While unlocking it was a piece of cake (finish the first level in the original), the true challenge is seeing what this new game brings to the table. Next to that, I will be replaying Final Fantasy III/VI on the system as well. That entry is my favorite in the franchise and I can't wait to see that impressive opening once more. I want to give these games the love that they truly deserve. Not only because I love the era, but the game are just so replayable.
It shouldn't be a surprise that I'm enjoying the Nintendo Classic Mini: Super Nintendo Entertainment System. Its offerings are quite solid so far, even if playing the 60hz versions is slightly weird. That being said, it allowed for the inclusion of North American gems like Earthbound and Super Mario RPG. I might write another article that talks about replaying these classic games, but for now, I still have a lot to partake in.