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Nintendo's mini-SNES Classic is real: Games, price, release date

/ Updated: June 30, 2017 9:40 AM PDT
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Nintendo just shrunk your childhood into a tiny little box -- again. The 1991 Super Nintendo console has been reborn as an adorable miniature game system. 

It's called the "Super NES Classic Edition" -- or "Nintendo Classic Mini: Super Nintendo Entertainment System" if you live in Europe -- but you can call it the SNES Classic for short. 

It's coming September 29 for $80 or £80, or October 5 in Japan. Australian pricing has not yet been announced, but it converts roughly to AU$105.

Here's everything we know about Nintendo's next assault on our bank accounts.  

snes-classic-image

The Super NES Classic.

Nintendo

What is it? (updated June 2017)

The SNES Classic is a tiny re-imagining of 1991's Super Nintendo Entertainment System -- known as the Super Famicom in Japan -- which was arguably the centerpiece of a golden era in gaming. 

Only instead of a laptop-sized box that takes big plastic game cartridges, the new SNES Classic fits in the palm of your hand and comes with 21 built-in games.

And instead of connecting to a hefty CRT TV with old-school RCA and coaxial cables, the SNES Classic has an HDMI port to pipe audio and video to your modern HD television. 

Here's our first brief hands-on.

Will I actually be able to buy one? (updated September 2017)

When Nintendo shrunk down the original NES last year, finding one was incredibly hard -- and so far, the SNES Classic has been a shitshow, too! Retailers decided to put it up for preorder in the dead of night, and their websites broke under the load. 

The good news: Nintendo told GameSpot and Kotaku that it will "produce significantly more units of Super NES Classic Edition than we did of NES Classic Edition." 

Bad news: Nintendo strongly suggested that it will still be a limited-edition product with phrases like: 

"At this time, we have nothing to announce regarding any possible shipments beyond this year" 

and 

"Our long-term efforts are focused on delivering great games for the Nintendo Switch system and continuing to build momentum for that platform, as well as serving the more than 63 million owners of Nintendo 3DS family systems."

Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime says you shouldn't have to pay scalpers enormous sums on eBay, but he hasn't quite promised everyone who wants a console will get one, either.

I prefer the rounded PAL/Japanese Super Famicom look, with the colorful buttons.

Then you'll want to buy yours in Europe! Behold:

3253631-ncm-snes-packshot

The SNES Classic Mini, for Europe.

Nintendo

Those 21 built-in games: are they GOOD games? 

Heck yes. They're among the very best games in the Super Nintendo library, and some of them (Super Metroid and The Legend of Zelda: Link to the Past, for example) are still held up as some of the best games ever made.

Here's the full list:

  • Contra III: The Alien Wars
  • Donkey Kong Country
  • EarthBound
  • Final Fantasy III (known as Final Fantasy VI in Japan and by many fans)
  • F-Zero
  • Kirby Super Star
  • Kirby's Dream Course
  • The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past
  • Mega Man X
  • Secret of Mana
  • Star Fox
  • Star Fox 2 (a never-before-released SNES game!)
  • Street Fighter II Turbo: Hyper Fighting
  • Super Castlevania IV
  • Super Ghouls 'n Ghosts
  • Super Mario Kart
  • Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars
  • Super Mario World
  • Super Metroid
  • Super Punch-Out!!
  • Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island

The US and Europe will get the exact same games, though Japan has a slightly different list: it trades EarthBound, Punch-Out, Castlevania and a Kirby game for Fire Emblem: Mystery of the Emblem, Super Soccer, Panel de Pon (which became Tetris Attack in English-speaking countries) and The Legend of the Mystical Ninja.

star-fox-2

Star Fox 2, a never-released SNES game, will arrive for the first time on SNES Classic. It will unlock after you beat the first level of the original Star Fox.

Nintendo

Are any great games missing? 

Absolutely: the SNES had a huge library of great games, and they aren't all here. 

For starters, you won't find Chrono Trigger, Final Fantasy IV, Pilotwings, Earthworm Jim, Donkey Kong Country 2 or 3, Actraiser, Harvest Moon, Tetris Attack, Super Bomberman, Mega Man X2, Shadowrun, Ogre Battle or Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IV: Turtles in Time on the SNES Classic.

The SNES Classic box, for North America.

Nintendo

Can you play multiplayer?

Yep! Two wired SNES controllers come in every package, unlike the NES Classic which only came with one. You won't have to buy a second controller -- though you can plug in a Wii or Wii U Classic Controller if you don't need the retro feel.

Nintendo says Street Fighter II Turbo: Hyper Fighting, Super Mario Kart, Contra III The Alien Wars and Secret of Mana all have multiplayer modes, and we'd expect Super Mario World, Donkey Kong Country, both Kirby games and EarthBound to have multiplayer as well. 

I only see old-school SNES ports on the console. Where do these controllers plug in? 

"For an authentic appearance, the front of the system incorporates a cover that is designed to look like the original Super NES controller ports. The cover folds down to reveal the actual controller ports, which are the same type used by the NES Classic Edition," Nintendo tells CNET.

How long are the controller cords? The NES Classic's cords were so short, you had to sit right in front of the TV.

Nintendo says the cord is approximately 5 feet long... a definite improvement from the NES Classic's 3-foot controller cord. Still, that's not nearly as long as the original SNES's 8-foot cable.

Super Famicom Mini

This picture of the Japanese version -- the Super Famicom Mini -- shows where the controller ports are hidden.

Nintendo

Could I use a wireless controller instead?

Hard to say. With the NES Classic, third-party manufacturers stepped up to provide wireless controllers like the Nyko Miniboss... but when Nintendo abruptly discontinued the NES Classic, many of those useless controllers were left sitting on store shelves.

Perhaps? Depends on how bad those peripheral companies got burned.

Do those physical buttons actually work? Does the cartridge slot open?

The Power and Reset sliders are fully functional, just like on the NES Classic, but the cartridge slot is fake (so the Eject button probably won't do anything either.)

You may also notice a little cutout for an LED power indicator in Nintendo's photos.

Only 21 games: can we download more?

Here's hoping Nintendo has a mechanism to let you do that (we're asking), but it wasn't the case with the NES Classic from before. Though hackers do tend to find a way around such things... 

As with the other pointed questions: we'll let you know what we hear!

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Discuss Super NES Classic Edition

Where to Buy

Nintendo Super NES Classic Edition

Part Number: CNETSuperNESClassic

MSRP: $79.99

Visit manufacturer site for details.

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