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NES Classic Edition Review – is it Worth it?

Picture of Maki
Co-Founder of Time wasters. I gravitate towards open world, action RPG’s and combat or sandbox survival. I play mostly Xbox Series X, PC or Meta Quest 2 - but my trusty NES is never far away.
nintnedo classic edition held up for review

A Nostalgia Trip worth Taking?

Ever wanted to go back to a simpler time when Goomba stomping and throwing fireballs was the norm? When your controller only had 6 buttons to worry about and anyone could pick up and play? How about when dying meant starting the level from scratch, passing the controller and waiting your turn? 

Some of us are lucky enough to have stored away our original NES systems, packed away carefully in tidy boxes at our parent’s houses, or perhaps placed on display in a TV cabinet Shrine for all to observe.. Perhaps you’ve been a persistent attendee of garage sales, frequented thrift stores and thus have been able to amass yourself a collection of minty game cartridges. Perhaps you can pop in Super Mario Bros 2, Kirby’s Adventure, Megaman or Donkey Kong at your leisure..

nes classic edition with controller

Or perhaps you haven’t been so lucky, and all you have is that nostalgic itch, wishing you could go back and enjoy all of the classic Nintendo games that fuelled your childhood and sparked your love for video games! Luckily, you aren’t alone, and Nintendo has addressed this need with a Classic Edition Console, pre-loaded with some of the best NES games that ever did live! It’s HDMI compatible, true to original in style and quality, and features full-size controllers that will transport you back in time!

“Now you’re playing with Power!”

NES Classic games list review

The NES Classic is a miniature version of its now 34 year old predecessor. It almost fits in the palm of your hand, but don’t mistake its tiny size for a lack of guts! The Classic console is pre-loaded with 30 ready to play NES titles including;

  • Balloon Fight
  • Bubble Bobble
  • Castlevania
  • Castlevania II: Simon’s Quest
  • Donkey Kong
  • Donkey Kong Jr.
  • Double Dragon II: The Revenge
  • Dr. Mario
  • Excitebike
  • Final Fantasy
  • Galaga
  • Ghosts’N Goblins
  • Gradius
  • Ice Climber
  • Kid Icarus
  • Kirby’s Adventure
  • Mario Bros.
  • Mega Man 2
  • Metroid
  • Ninja Gaiden
  • Pac-Man
  • Punch-Out!! Featuring Mr. Dream
  • StarTropics
  • Super C
  • Super Mario Bros.
  • Super Mario Bros. 2
  • Super Mario Bros. 3
  • Tecmo Bowl
  • The Legend of Zelda
  • Zelda II: The Adventure of Link

Plug n’ Play

Fully HDMI compatible, just secure the AC adapter to your wall outlet (Or plug in directly to you TV’s USB port), and attach the HDMI cable to your TV, switch on the classic style power button and you are good to go! The NES Classic menu features a game selection screen where you can sort and choose what you’d like to play. 

Save States!

You can now suspend your game state at any point and come back later, or reload at any time! Simply pause the game you are in, hold down the RESET button, and you’ll be taken back to the NES menu, where you can save your game state in one of 4 slots. If you have the perfect run going in your game, save right then and there, and just reload whenever needed! This added functionality is crucial when playing extremely challenging platformers like Megaman 2 (or any of the Super Mario Bros really). *Note* this must be done by actually using the Reset button on the console, unless you are playing with a Nintendo Classic Controller!

NES classic menu review
Suspend points (4 slots available for each game) 

The first thing you will probably notice when going back to these old titles, is just how much more patience is needed than current games. Trust us that you will not be sorry to have the ability to save game states. Even if you are too much of a purist to indulge in game state saving, you can opt-out, and play your NES Classic in the truest form if you choose! (After a few rounds of Ninja Gaiden though.. you will most likely break down and use it.)

Choose your Display Mode

If you were imagining playing on your widescreen television being an issue, or resulting in a stretched and warped gameplay experience, you’ll be glad to know that the NES Classic actually has 3 different display options for you! 

CRT Filter: Artificially overlays scanning lines onto your television, for that classic Tube-TV look! 

4:3: A slightly stretched widescreen view.

Pixel Perfect: (Our favorite) Offers true to original play, no matter what size TV you play on! No pixel stretching to worry about!

Extra Goodies

The NES Classic Edition also comes with some extra bonuses; 

  • Developer interviews accessible in the main menu, hear the stories of how Donkey Kong, Metroid and others came into being
  • Digital Game manuals for every title
  • Instruction Booklet doubles as a Retro style NES ad poster

So what are the Pro’s?

  • 30 of the most popular NES titles at your finger tips, no cartridges needed.
  • Suspend Points so you can actually save your progress and come back later
  • High quality Controllers – True to original (button design, color scheme, weight etc)
  • HDMI output with Pixel perfect resolution
  • Classic Controller is compatible with your Wii U remote, plug it in and play Virtual Console games through your Wii!
  • Compact size
  • The perfect gift for any Nintendo Maniac

How about those Con’s?

  • Included Controller cable is only 3ft. We highly recommend grabbing an extension cable set, we bought the bundle with an additional controller!
  • Not compatible with original cartridges and additional games cannot be added. 
  • No reset button on the controller. Console reset must be done on the actual console, this isn’t too much of a burden, but we still felt it was a missed feature.

So is it Worth it?

Short answer.. Hell yes! In a nutshell, this compact console is a Nostalgia Time Machine. If you have a retro gaming itch that needs to be scratched, why not scratch it in style. Just for the satisfaction of grinding through every level of Mega Man 2 alone, the difficulty of split second execution needed, the gruelling pain of defeat when you lose your lives and start over… Games with this level of difficulty while maintaining gameplay simplicity are few and far between these days!

To be able to step back in time and jump into a library of titles like this on demand is really something special. Whether you just want to have some 2 player fun in SMB 1-3, go on a daring adventure as Link in Zelda 1 and 2, or endure gruelling platform mania in Mega Man 2.. it’s all there for you. Nintendo is supposedly bringing the console back into production this summer, and from what we’ve seen, just as quickly as these little beauties hit the shelves, they are gone in a flash! We picked one up on Amazon with an extra controller and extension cables (highly recommend), and could not be happier. 


Engaget – 83/100

TechRadar – 4/5 Stars

Cnet – 4/5 Stars

4.3/5 Star Review Rating on Amazon

The only drawbacks that prevented this console from hitting a perfect review has to be the Controller cord length, and lack of Menu button. It’s hard to give Nintendo a perfect rank considering these were such easily avoidable setbacks but at the same time, we feel the shortcomings can be overcome so easily with an extension cable and/or Classic controller, that this bundle is still very much worth your time. We highly recommend getting your hands on one of these as soon as possible, last summer the NES actually outsold PS4, Xbox One, and Switch combined, and when Nintendo opens up sales again soon, history is bound to repeat itself so don’t miss out! Get yours today!

Game on Folks, and let us know what you think of the NES Classic Edition Console in the comments below! 

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