This article was originally published on August 7, 2019 on Old School Gamer Magazine
I’m going to come out and say it right off the bat, I LOVE the concept of these classic mini consoles. I do. I think these are great. They are made by the companies that originally made them, they can hook up to your brand new HDTV, and some of them have those super hard to find titles where finding the physical cartridge is nigh impossible. Yet even though I love these things there are some MAJOR shortcomings that come along with them. We all remember the debacle in 2016 when Nintendo released the NES Classic and didn’t make enough to go around. Next thing we knew, scalpers were selling the console for well over $200 which was insane. There was even the problem with the controller cords only being 2 feet long. The SNES Classic did improve but a major criticism of the system were the lack of games compared to the NES but something that DID help was the release of Star Fox 2 which never saw a US release until the release of the SNES Classic. Then we have the Sony Playstation Classic but thats just a complete dumpster fire so we won’t talk about that… much.
Well the reason I’m even talking about these classic minis is because the SEGA Genesis mini is coming out later this year, September 19th according to the official website. So far the system is checking all of my boxes. Great game selection, comes with 2 controllers, all the cables you need to hook it up (looking at you Sony), and it comes at a price that won’t break my bank account. Now here is why I think these minis are worth for certain gamers. It introduces these systems or reintroduces them to people who have always wanted one but never got it, like me. I never owned a SNES or a Genesis and I grew up during the Console Wars. I knew friends who had them but my first video game console was a Playstation. Even when I would go to trade shows and used game stores they would be selling the console for about $80 or $60 depending on how beat up the system was, but then I would have to get the games for them. Now some games are pretty cheap and easy to come by, but the ones that every gamer I talk to says that they are “must plays” or “you NEED to play this game at least once in your life” are the hardest and most expensive to find. When the SNES Classic was announced and Secret of Mana was one of the titles, it was an instant buy for me. Seriously, here’s a picture of me after I stood in line for 2 hours at 6 am to get one.
Now, after years of wanting one, I had a version of the SNES that I knew was perfect for me, because I’m a gamer on a budget, and most of these minis are under $100 (looking at you AGAIN Sony). Are these systems perfect? Of course not. I still wish they had more of a game selection than they do. I still have my original NES and am never going to get rid of it, but by having the Classic edition I can plug it into my TV knowing it’s going to work without a hitch. Yes there are cables and ways to hook up and play retro cartridges on newer TVs with no issue, but having these mini consoles still helps and I dig the small design of them. For us gamers who are on budgets but STILL want to immerse ourselves in the good ol’ days these minis are the way to go.