If someone you know might gawk at the prospect of paying $500 for a 30-year-old electronic device, then show them the Analogue Nt NES system. It will not only change minds, but also might make a retro gaming fan out of the most untrained of Battletoads players.
We originally caught a glimpse of the next stunning project from Analogue Interactive, a video game hardware outfit out of Seattle, back in March, and it follows the company's gorgeous Neo Geo MVS console crafted from walnut.
The updated NES system -- encased in a solid block of aircraft-grade aluminum alloy -- is a work of art in its own right, but is a dedicated hardware machine for replicating those virtual works of art from the late '80s and early '90s in as powerful and functional a package as possible.
Starting Monday, Analogue Interactive is taking preorders for the Nt, with shipping to start in late summer. The device will cost you a chunk of change -- at $499, the Nt costs as much as an Xbox One -- but the company sees it as hitting an untapped market of mixed interests: video game collectors, design nerds, and retro gaming enthusiasts.
Roll them up and you have what could be considered the video game equivalent of an audiophile who's willing to shell out for something that looks, plays, and sounds like luxury hardware should. You can get your Nt with a custom paint job in one of four colors other than silver for $50 extra.
Analogue Interactive also sweetens the deal by making the Nt not just the nicest looking, but the most powerful NES remake out there. The Nt is region free and supports all NES and Famicom cartridges, as well as Famicom Disk System games via a Famicom expansion port. It also has shielded audio hardware pulling directly from the source, with dual-port stereo and mono options.
The Nt natively outputs video in RGB, component, S-Video, and composite signals, but has an HDMI adapter port for upscaling RGB to 720p or 1080p resolution for gaming on high-definition televisions. The adapter is sold separately. Because it uses original controller ports and contains the Gamicom expansion port, the Nt works with all the zany peripherals of gaming lore, like the Duck Hunt NES Zapper and Famicom 3D System goggles.
For those who enjoy geeking out on the component side of things, the Nt is also the only NES console currently on the market using original NES parts -- the Ricoh 20A3 CPU and Ricoh 2C02 PPU. Where did the company get its hands on OEM components from Japan?
"We were able to procure a large quantity of HVC-001 Famicom systems that were in cosmetically undesirable unsellable condition. The plastic enclosure of the HVC-001 systems are notoriously yellowed, brittle and damaged," the company says on its website.
"While the poor enclosure quality left these systems undesirable and sitting on a shelf, fortunately the CPU and PPU inside remain untouched and fully functional. Not only were we able to give new life to these systems but a large portion of the controllers have been refurbished and are available for sale too."
Even better is that those original controllers aren't the only options for game pads. There are refurbished Famicom controllers, and even brand-new NES controllers, perhaps the last ones out in the wild, the company posits. Though it doesn't disclose how it got its hands on those factory-sealed peripherals.
The Nt does not come with any controllers -- only an AC and AV adapter -- but brand-new NES controllers are $50, while refurbished NES and Famicom controllers are $30.