Nintendo announced plans to get into the "Flashback" console business this November, with the release of a tiny, Nintendo Entertainment System-shaped device called the NES Classic Edition. It'll will play 30 games and retail for $60. It'll have an HDMI port on it, so you can hook it up to modern TVs, and the games are built-in. So there's no immediate way for you to play your own cartridges or change the games on the device or anything like that. It'll come with an NES-style controller that has a Wii-style connector on it, so you can plug it into the nunchuck-like ports on the device itself or use it as an Extra-Classic Classic Controller on your Wii or Wii U. You can buy a second controller for $9.99. Each game has multiple "suspend points" that let you save the game state and recall it later to continue.
Them's the facts. People seem to fall into two camps on the unit, with some expecting this thing to be way more functional than it is and others who are just psyched to play some old Nintendo games and haven't figured out some other way to do that via the Virtual Console or flea markets or whatever. Oh, here's the list of the old Nintendo games this unit can play:
For the record, I think this is a near-perfect list of games for a thing designed to be sold at, like, Urban Outfitters or Target on some end cap where someone might see it and think "hey, I used to love these damned video games" and impulse buy it. I mean, I might put Contra on there instead of Super C? And I refuse to recognize Mr. Dream as the card-carrying member of the WVBA. And no one in their right mind actually wants the NES versions of Pac-Man or Galaga. But yes! This is a nicely varied list.
If I were hashtag building the list for a pre-loaded NES console, I'd probably fill it out this way, but then I don't need to try to make a commercially viable collection of 8-bit Nintendo games:
Anyway, I look forward to buying one of these devices and immediately putting it on a shelf somewhere so I can occasionally see it and think "wow, that's a tiny Nintendo!"
Actually, I also look forward to hearing more about the internals of this thing, which probably won't come to light until someone gets one and rips it open. Will it be the same NES-on-a-Chip design that's powered a million Famiclones? Will someone figure out a way to solder an SD card slot onto the board for maximum "fun?" What sort of accuracy can we expect from a Nintendo-made device that we aren't getting from all these middle-of-the-mall-ass 72-in-1 multi-consoles? Some of those devices have been more than a little dodgy over the years. That said, other companies have been making this sort of thing for years. Here's me playing around with a Colecovision Flashback back in 2014, in case you're interested (and in case you're a premium member, I should add).
In conclusion, the tiny Nintendo looks neat! I don't know that I have any personal use for one, seeing as I already own most of those games in a variety of formats, but I feel strangely drawn to it in a way that will almost certainly translate into me owning one later this year. That's probably dumb of me, but I've come to accept it.