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3 alternatives to the NES Classic Edition

The latest from Nintendo is the NES Classic Edition, a system that exists because they we’re pretty sure you’d buy it.  This adorable, tiny nostalgic grey rectangle comes pre-loaded with 30 NES titles that weren’t exactly picked out of a hat, but there’s certainly some on here that baffled me (Castlevania 2, Excitebike) as much as the ones that were left off (Commando, Contra, etc).  Retailing at $60 USD, that’s $2 a game if you don’t factor in the hardware, but my feeling is that this system isn’t worth the effort.  Here are 3 suggestions as alternatives to the NES Classic Edition. 

The video game press trends to agree that the following positives outweigh the negatives, which I tend to disagree with, but let’s go through this stuff anyway:

PROS
Looks and feels just like the original NES, which is great, but not that important since I prefer function over esthetic design and man, are those controller cables short.  Why are there any cables at all?  You get a HDMI out but no wireless controllers?  I don’t get it.

Great selection of games with something for everyone… I guess. $2 a game for 25 to 30-year-old games seems high, particularly when were talking about games that max out at around 1 Megabyte.

Can be powered by your TV’s USB port
That is a nice feature considering the power situation behind my TV is a nightmare, but then, my input situation isn’t much better and given that I have the majority of my wires hidden inside the wall, I don’t see myself taking the time to bury another cable.

Excellent NES emulation
Geez, I hope so, that’s pretty much all this thing does. I read a lot about the improved graphical capabilities of the NES classic, but get real. We’re talking about 8 bit games. This improvement is marginal. This is like hiring a limo to take you to the grocery store. You could just drive yourself. Meaning it’s an unnecessary luxury.


CONS
Short controller cables
This is baffling. I don’t know how they let this happen.  Again, I don’t get why there are wires in the first place.

No way to buy new games
I guess it’s possible that this may change via the USB port, but considering there’s no info on this at lunch, I wouldn’t get your hopes up.


Won’t support your original accessories
This is extremely lame, although I do believe that this console will support the Wii standard controllers, but what if I want to break out the NES Max or Advantage?

It’s already out of stock everywhere
There are supposed to be more units available soon, but if you don’t have any interest in fighting the holiday madness, you’re probably out of luck.

ALTERNATIVES:
I don’t think the NES Classic is a great product and more to the point, it’s not easily available for purchase, so if you’re looking for an alternative, I will now present you with the following options:

1. COMPUTER EMULATION
If you’re willing to play NES games on a computer or you have the ability to hook up a desktop or laptop to your television, you can save yourself a whole heap of time and money. All you’ll need to do is to search NES ROMs and NES emulators on Google and you’ll be able to download the necessary software. After that, you’ll just need a USB NES controller that you can get on Amazon or Ebay or anywhere.  You can easily get a controller for under ten bucks.  DONE.

2. CONSOLES:
If you’re like me and prefer to play on a console, you’re going to have to get a cart that can handle 600 ROMs, and fortunately such a thing exists.  Head over to Retro USB and purchase the NES powerpak. I know, it’s pricey, but stick with me. I have one of these myself, I know what I’m talking about.  (Maybe there are alternatives now, but I’m just sticking with what I know works.)

Next, head over to eBay and pick up a used original NES, the top loader (superior pin connector hardware, inferior graphic output), or any of the clone systems out there. There are tons to choose from and you’re bound to find one to suit your budget.  (You can get one for under $20 or a crazy gold-plated system for over $5000.)

3. WIIWARE
If you have only of Nintendo’s current systems (Wii or Wii U), they have tons of NES games for sale in their virtual store.  You could save yourself some hassle (but probably not money) by downloading the games right to your home console.

What I’m getting at is that you don’t have to settle for 30 games. You can have every single NES game ever made and if you’re willing to play them on a computer you already own, you can do it for less than ten bucks.  You don’t have to hunt for the difficult to find NES Classic Edition! And more to the point, I doubt it’s worth it.  If I really wanted a HDMI outputting NES, I’d get retroUSB’s AVS.  Pricey, but seems to be the best, most versatile thing out there and won’t limit me to a tiny library of games, which is my primary objection to the NES Classic Edition.

And those tiny wires and lack of accessories suck too.

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About Jamie Insalaco

Jamie Insalaco is the author of CreativeJamie.com, BomberBanter.com and editor in chief of ComicBookClog.com

Posted on December 9, 2016, in video games and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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