Nintendo really knows how to make a great product and screw the pooch at the same time, don’t they?  This holiday season 2016 Nintendo decided to make a miniature Nintendo Entertainment System loaded with 30 games and sell it at the very reasonable 60 bucks (they did the same in Japan with a miniature Famicom).  When I heard about it I thought, “Hey!  Cool!”  I asked for it as a birthday present.  I was aware that gamers were excited about this system…but…

The console released and Nintendo, in their infinite wisdom, produced no where near enough consoles.  It goes back to the very simple supply and demand.  They don’t make enough (or make the excuse “We are working as fast and hard as we can to produce them”) and everyone is forced into a shopping craze.  I saw when it happened with the Nintendo Wii – who the hell knew that it was going to fly off the shelves.  It happened with the damn Amiibos.  Everyone and their grandmother were out in force trying to buy those stupid things.  I have a few and they look cool but I don’t get it.  My kid loves them, we use them for Smash Bros, but I still don’t get what they do.  They aren’t Skylanders…they are just pretty pointless.

But no one can say that the NES Classic Edition wasn’t going to sell.  As big as the Virtual Console has been for Nintendo, as big as the retrogaming market is now, everyone was going to want this thing.  I have friends with a seven year old and he was begging for this thing for Christmas.  Not a WiiU.  Not a XBONE.  Not a PS4.  All the kid wanted was a NES Mini with games from over THIRTY YEARS AGO.

Scalpers knew what was up.  They bought them all.  Had them on Craigslist, Facebook, and eBay for upwards of $250 (some people had them up for $4,000!?!??!!).  Walmart?  They decided that when they got the Classic Edition in they would not charge the MSRP of 60 bucks but actually charge over $200.  Because if there is profit to be made you know Walmart is ready to screw someone over.

Before my birthday I asked my wife if she bought it.  She replied no.  I said under no circumstance do you buy this thing for $200.  Screw those scalpers.  I want the system but I don’t need to play Bubble Bobble THAT BADLY where my wife had to pay scalper prices for it.

Luckily “under the tree” this year (okay…we didn’t actually buy a tree this year – the presents were just on the living room floor) one of my gifts was a NES Classic Edition.  And she paid retail price for it.

So congrats Nintendo – you made a product everyone wanted, no one would get, and had to pay out of their ass for if they really wanted it for their family.

SO – for a review of the NES Classic Edition I sure spent a shit ton of time griping.  So how is the system?  I decided to do an unboxing video.  Well I tried to do an unboxing video.  I wanted to keep it short and every time I tried to take out the contents I was unable to do so.  So here is my quick and short Pre-Unboxed Unboxing of the NES Classic Edition:

That cord length is bullshit right?  There are many secondary controllers on the market.  You can find them on Amazon.  Many have pretty shitty reviews.  There is also a cord extender so you aren’t right on top of the unit.  I heard these are pretty good.

Scalpers also had a field day with the extra NES Classic Edition Controllers.  The MSRP on the controller is 10 bucks.  Scalpers were selling them for…80…90…100 bucks.  For the fucking controller.  It’s insane.  I went out looking for an extra controller at Walmart, Target, Gamestop, and Best Buy.  No one had them.  I wondered if one of my NES Classic Controllers for the Wii would work on it.  I looked it up on Nintendo’s site and they said both the Classic Controller AND the Classic Controller Pro WOULD WORK with the system – but only as the second controller for two player games.  Whatever.  I picked up a Classic Controller just this summer at the flea market for a buck so that’s an instant win right there.

I talked about “some sort of poster” in the video.  It’s pictured here.  Basically it is what you were getting when you were first buying the NES back in the eighties.  Pretty sweet – though it would have been sweeter if I actually was playing some Duck Hunt.  On the back side of the poster are instructions of how to plug everything in.  I’m not sure who they are for these days.  A 4 year old can figure out how to hook this thing up.

30 games in this collection and let’s talk them for awhile.  Are these 30 games worth the $200?  Are they worth the $60?  At 60 bucks it is an absolute steal.  If you own an original system (or a clone system) many of these titles could run you about $10 to $30 bucks a piece.  If you are much more frugal you could always pick them up on the Wii and WiiU Virtual Console where the prices for these old games are pretty outstanding.

What made the NES stand out in the 80s wasn’t just its amazing library of games but the phenomenal first party games Nintendo was able to produce.  Included on here are the NES ports of the classic arcade games Donkey Kong, Donkey Kong Jr., and Mario Bros (sadly Stanley, his bug spray, and Donkey Kong 3 were not invited to this party).  Then there’s the absolute classics: Super Mario Bros 1, 2, and 3, Kid Icarus, Metroid, Legend of Zelda 1 and 2, Dr. Mario, Punch Out, and Kirby’s Adventure.  Not as classic but still pretty synonymous with Nintendo are Ice Climber, Balloon Fight, and Excitebike.  StarTropics is a GREAT inclusion to this collection.  It wasn’t Nintendo’s best selling game but after watching a video from The Gaming Historian on YouTube about the series I picked the first game up and found it quite excellent.  I think it is great that gamers may be able to appreciate this game for what might be the first time.

Tetris is notably missing.  Tetris was actually a killer app (especially on the Gameboy) that was able to sell consoles.  I’m probably thinking that Nintendo has long lost the rights to the game.  Tetris games still come out for Nintendo systems (I believe I own two of them for the 3DS alone), for most major systems these days, and even as a mobile app on your phone.  Why isn’t it here?  Who knows.  Maybe with Dr. Mario already in here they felt there were too many puzzle games.  MAYBE if they are thinking about releasing a NES Classic Edition 2 Tetris will be a big selling point.

What first party Nintendo games are missing?  There are no Zapper games and no games that worked with R.O.B.  There were a bunch of different sports games like Ice Hockey, Pro Wrestling, NES Baseball…I don’t miss any of these.  Even the Black Box Golf game was just “okay” to me.  There’s Clu Clu Land which was always so weird but so fun, I remember having a ball playing this with my sister.  Urban Champion was a horrible beat-em-up that I’m glad they forgot about and Wrecking Crew isn’t here either – it was that weird Mario game at what I guess was a construction site?  Even as a kid that game bored me to tears and I have no desire to revisit that one either.  There may be some first party games I’m forgetting about but I don’t really care.

Some of third party games are really just excellent.  Mega Man 2, long considered the best of the series, is here.  Castlevania is here and that is a great game.  The 2nd Castlevania is also here and that game………..was not good.  I never got it.  I’m sure there are people that like it out there but I thought it just a horrible sequel.  There’s Bubble Bobble which I fondly remember – it is just a great two player that can be played for hours on end.  The first Ninja Gaiden is in this collection.  I always sucked at this game but I always loved playing it.  I played it here on the Classic Edition and I still majorly suck at it.

Double Dragon 2 is here but not Double Dragon.  While I have fond memories of the first game it wasn’t a two player game (like it was in the arcade).  Double Dragon 2 WAS a two player game so if you have limited space I can see including two and not one.

But Super C is included here.  Super C is a good sequel to Contra.  But let’s all face it – Contra is one of the most memorable NES third-party games OF ALL TIME.  Everyone knows Contra.  Everyone loves Contra.  And to this day nearly every kid who grew up with a NES knows that damn Konami 30 life code by heart.  I’ll probably put it on my tombstone.  So why put Super C on here but not Contra?  I don’t know.  I think it a huge mistake.

Putting the first Final Fantasy on here is pretty excellent.  I never played it back in the day but I think I’ll see just how far I can get in the classic RPG.  I mean it is a TRUE CLASSIC.  Funny Dragon Warrior isn’t here…but I’m sure most RPG fans would prefer Final Fantasy anyway.

That almost about covers the games.  Capcom’s Ghosts N Goblins is here but as I’ve always been horrible at this game no matter which system I’m playing it on it doesn’t thrill me.  The NES version is fucking hard.  Gradius is here and that’s a decent shooter.  Tecmo Bowl – yeah – that is a classic game.  Everyone remembers playing that with their friends but I never had fun playing it by myself.  It was always a game I needed another player for.  And my sister was never playing a football game with me.  Then there’s the classics Galaga and Pac-Man.  I always thought the NES port of Galaga was okay but the Pac-Man port was always lacking for me.  After playing it again on the Mini I stand by that assessment.

Did Nintendo do a great job picking out these games?  Absolutely.  Personally I would have loved to have left out Galaga and Pac-Man and replace them with games like Ducktales, Chip and Dale’s Rescue Rangers, Blaster Master, River City Ransom, Karnov, Rygar, or even included Castlevania 3.  I know RC Pro Am is a Rare game that is now owned by Microsoft but WHATEVER – that game was boss.  Where’s Popeye?  That’s a CLASSIC Nintendo game – but once again I’m sure that’s some licensing issue.  And should they have totally put in a secret 31st game….Earthbound Beginnings (AKA Mother)!?!?!?!?!?  YES!

The games look great and there’s three different ways to view them on-screen (including a way to make it look like you are using an old CRT TV.  HA!)

You can basically save your game at any time.  This is done by pressing the Reset button on the console.  This brings you back to the main menu and you can choose at that time if you want to save your game in one of four save spots (each game has four).  This is always helpful for games like Metroid that used to take me forever.  Yes it had the password system and yes that sucked.

There’s a QR code for looking up the games’ manuals.  Most of these are pretty simple so I have no desire to look at them – though if they are the EXACT manuals from back in the day it may be pretty cool to revisit.  They put a lot of thought into those back in the day.  There is a moment in StarTropics where you need a certain frequency to move forward in the game – I’m not sure how they deal with that here.  Guess I’ll have to play and find out.

Controls – they are pretty great.  The NES Classic Controller looks, feels, and controls just like a NES controller.  Playing with the Wii Classic Controller also feels pretty good too, but something about that old school NES controller just feels right.

The menu system is very nice and as you move left to right (or right to left) to choose your game it shows off the original NES box art of the game plus informs you of how many players can play said game.  It’s nice – especially for younger kids who have never played before.

Is this system worth it?  Absolutely.  It’s a mini NES and if you loved the system then, you’ll love it now.  You can’t add any games to the console, which some have seemed to make a big deal about.  It’s a plug and play system just like anything from AtGames or like the Retro-Bit Generations.  Want to be able to add all the retro games you’d like?  Go buy a Wii or WiiU and hit up that Virtual Console.

My gripes here are quite small.  The cord length on the controller is bullshit.  Pac-Man…Galaga?  I had been there, done that by 1987.  Namco has kept those franchises going to this very day so I’d rather play some Pac-Man Championship Edition any day.

The NES Classic Edition is just a great, fun system allowing you a great way to play some classic NES games.  It is just a bunch of fun especially at $60.  Just do yourselves a favor – don’t pay scalper prices.  Don’t let those assholes win.

RANK: A