Nintendo’s Super NES Classic Edition is nostalgia, revisited

The games of the Super NES Classic still stand the test of time as some of Nintendo’s finest. But they feel trapped in the amber of an outdated console.

Nintendo tapped into the retro gaming trend last year with the release of the NES Classic Edition game console, a $60 gadget that came loaded with 30 vintage games, which became an unexpected hit. Now, the Japanese video game giant is again nodding to the past with the Super NES Classic Edition console.

When the original Super NES console was introduced in the United States in 1991, it was beloved by a generation of fans because it introduced games with narrative adventures that demanded a new level of engagement compared with previous systems, whose games merely replicated the endless levels and high scores of arcade games.

The Super NES Classic, which was released Friday, looks exactly like the original, except it is small enough to sit in the palm of your hand. The $80 console comes preloaded with 21 16-bit games from Nintendo’s early 1990s glory days, including “The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past,” “Super Mario World” and “Yoshi’s Island,” as well as third-party titles like “Final Fantasy III” from Square and “Super Castlevania IV” from Konami. As a bonus, the game package also includes a never-released sequel to “Star Fox,” one of the first three-dimensional games developed by Nintendo.

So what was it like to delve into the past? I spent a long weekend testing the Super NES Classic, with a little help from my 8-year-old niece Caroline, who provided a fresh perspective on a console that became obsolete long before she was born.

Our verdict: The Super NES Classic Edition offers hours of fun, but its lack of many modern features made the console feel like a novelty for misty-eyed gamers. Although die-hard fans might want to get one fast before it can only be found on eBay, casual gamers may be better off skipping the console and…

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