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Nintendo NES Classic Edition is like Marty McFly: 80s and adorable

Nintendo's miniature box of retro gaming is in our hands. Here's what it comes with and how the games look.

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Scott Stein
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1 of 48 Sarah Tew/CNET

The NES Classic Edition is a new TV-connected mini gaming console that brings old 8-bit games to your home for a pretty low price (Lego guy not included).

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It plugs into your TV via HDMI cable, and you're good to go.

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The controller feels identical to the old NES ones, but that mini console is a lot smaller.

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How small? Here it is next to an apple, a can of soda, an NES cartridge and a View-Master.

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Even though it looks like an old NES, it's different.

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That cartridge door doesn't open, for instance. It's just for show.

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Here's the box, totally old-school.

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The back of the box, and the games you can play.

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It's packed in pretty tight.

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You get one controller, the console, an HDMI cable and a power adapter.

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Here's some good news: The power adapter uses Micro-USB.

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The controllers use a special connector that's the same as the one on the bottom of Wii remotes. You can plug the controllers into those, too, and play Virtual Console NES games on the Wii or Wii U if you have them.

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Bad news: That controller cable is really short. And only one controller comes in the box.

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HDMI and Micro-USB on the back. First time we can remember a non-proprietary power cable on a Nintendo product.

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It's small enough to slip in a bag.

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The bottom, in case you're curious.

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The power and reset buttons come in handy. In fact, hitting reset is the only way to pick a new game.

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The top brings back memories.

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Playing some games for a while. With that cord, you'll need to sit close to your TV.

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Select a game from the built-in menu. Some games are one-player, some are two-player.

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Super Mario Bros. 3, same as it is on the Wii U and 3DS Virtual Console.

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The squared-off games leave a lot of empty space on widescreen TVs, but look great via HDMI.

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Third-party games like Castlevania and Bubble Bobble are here, too.

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Admission: I never played Castlevania before.

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Oh, OK, I see where Shovel Knight got its inspiration.

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Games can be played in three different video modes: "Pixel Perfect," a more stretched 4:3, and a "CRT" effect that blurs things like an old monitor.

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4:3 leaves less black space.

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I am not good at this game. Original NES sprite flicker and slowdown come standard.

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Tecmo Bowl! From back when I didn't follow the NFL.

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Sorry, no modern NFL team names in Tecmo Bowl.

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Playing in fuzzified CRT mode. I can't tell if I'm winning.

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Starting up the original Zelda.

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The Legend of Zelda might be a more minimal experience than most people expect.

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That's right, Kirby's Adventure dates all the way back to 1993.

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Lesser-known gems like StarTropics are here to explore, too. The 30 games are mostly top-notch picks.

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Size comparison: NES Classic Edition is smaller than an original NES cartridge, and similar in size to the Nintendo 2DS.

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This should make you appreciate how much times have changed.

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That joystick on the left is a Namco game collection from years ago that plugs into a TV. The NES Classic Edition is an iteration on the same idea.

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There have been Sega Genesis and Atari compilation mini-systems, too. Nintendo's version is a little more polished.

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But you might find yourself treating it as a similar novelty bit of nostalgia. Play now, shelve later.

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The Nintendo 2DS plays more games, and can download new ones. The NES Classic Edition has 30 games preinstalled, but can't get more.

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Do you get one? At this price -- $60, £50 or AU$100 -- it's practically an impulse buy. If you loved these games as a kid, this is worth a pickup.

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