Retro gaming is a huge industry, with hobbyists and collectors scouring online auction sites and local pawn shops for games from the industry’s golden age, when titles like Super Mario, Mega Man, and other classics first appeared. For a time, retro gaming was mostly limited to a small but vibrant after market. Seeing the potential for profit, video game companies have slowly caught on, namely by offering classic games for download to both smartphones and their current generation consoles.
However, Nintendo has taken a bold step by actually developing a hardware release geared towards retro gaming aficionados, with its announcement of the SNES Classic, a pocket-sized re-imagining of their classic 16-bit console that first saw release in North America all the way back in 1991.
Nintendo has, for the most part, always done its part to cater to fans of its oldest and most respected franchises. The video game developer still releases a new Super Mario and Legend of Zelda game with each new generation of systems, but these releases take advantage of current gaming trends, with the 3-D environments, focus on fun over challenge, and other design choices standing in stark contrast to older iterations of these franchises. Nintendo’s SNES Classic will bring the magic of 1990’s gaming to a whole new generation. The plug-and-play console looks just like the original grey and purple system, albeit in a more compact, travel-friendly size.
The Super Nintendo Classic is the company’s second attempt at catering to retro gamers. They previously released a mini version of the original Nintendo Entertainment System, but many collectors had difficulty finding a unit due to low production numbers. Nintendo thankfully took note of this, and has promised to manufacture the SNES Classic in higher numbers and make it available from more retailers.
It’s worth noting, unfortunately, that the initial wave of pre-orders for the console through Walmart were cancelled, much to the dismay of fans who missed out on the NES Classic. Nintendo confirmed that the debacle was the result of an oversight, and that official pre-orders for the console will open later this month.
Nintendo also confirmed the features and design specs for the SNES Classic. It will come pre-loaded with a collection of 21 games, including Contra III, Super Metroid, The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, and other iconic 16-bit titles. The console will retail for $79.99 and has a planned release date of September 29. The pre-order fiasco aside, it’s exciting to see Nintendo embrace its rich legacy and make these classics available to a whole new generation of gamers.