Following the overwhelming success of the Nintendo Entertainment System Classic Edition last fall, Nintendo has announced that they will be releasing a miniature version of the Super Nintendo Entertainment System — aka one of, if not the, greatest gaming console of all time — later this year. As one of the most popular tech products of the early 90s, a mini version of the Super Nintendo is sure to be at the top of many gamers’ wishlist this year and whether you’re planning to pick one up for yourself or someone else, here is everything you need to know about the SNES Classic Edition.
At $80 ($100 CAD), the SNES Classic is 33% more expensive than the NES Classic was and has fewer games overall. At first glance, this may seem like a ripoff, but the price hike is arguably justified when you take a hard look at what’s actually being included. Sure, getting nine fewer games than you did with the NES Classic looks bad on paper, but when you take into account the overall quality of the games included with the SNES Classic vs the NES, the move is arguably justified. The SNES Classic also comes with an additional controller and when you consider that Nintendo was selling additional NES Mini controllers at $10 a pop, there really isn’t as much of a price discrepancy between the two systems as you might think.
I think many industry observers, myself included, expected Nintendo to ship the SNES Classic in November or October at the earliest, so it was a surprise to see the system listed for a September 29 launch date. This earlier-than-expected release is arguably a good thing, as it gives Nintendo more time to ship units before the holidays, thereby allowing more people to pick one up as a potential gift. The NES Classic was one of the hottest toys of the holidays last year but it was nearly impossible to find, partially because consumers didn’t have a lot of time between its November 10, 2016 launch date and Christmas to track one down and put it under the tree. By releasing the SNES Classic in early fall, Nintendo is giving people almost three months to track one down before Christmas Day, which hopefully means it won’t be nearly as hard to find as its predecessor.
As previously mentioned, 21 games may not sound like a lot but when you consider the overall quality of what’s being packed in with the SNES Classic, it’s hard to complain too much. Here’s the full list:
- Contra III: The Alien Wars™
- Donkey Kong Country™
- Final Fantasy III
- 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
- 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!! ™
- Yoshi’s Island™
Sure, it’s great to see Nintendo hitting all the classics (Super Mario World, A Link to the Past), but the list also has some pleasant surprises on it. The inclusion of Earthbound alone feels like a gift from the gaming gods, but Star Fox 2?! That game has never actually been officially released before, which means that it will technically be a 2017 game (get your game of the year votes in now). Unfortunately, like with the NES Classic, Nintendo doesn’t seem to have any plans to release more games for the system and since it doesn’t have Wi-Fi capabilities, there’s no way to download them even if they were available. Of course, I’m sure it won’t take long for modders to find way to add games through the system’s USB ports much like they did with the NES Classic but as things stand, there is no official way to expand the SNES Classic’s library.
What’s In The Box
Pretty basic fare. For $80, you’ll get the system itself, two wired controllers, an HDMI cable, and an AC adapter with a USB charging cable. It’s unclear if the SNES Classic supports Bluetooth but one would assume that it will so that you can use third-party wireless controllers with it, much like the NES Classic. Speaking of, while nothing has been officially announced as of yet, it’s safe to assume that third party manufacturers like Nyko will have some sort of wireless controller option available for the system when it comes out in September.
The Controller Cords Are Longer This Time
One of the biggest problems with the NES Classic was that its controller cords were comically short. At only three feet long, you pretty much had to sit directly in front of whatever screen you were using unless you opted to shell out extra for some cable extenders. Nintendo appears to have been well aware of this issue, as they have confirmed that the wired SNES Classic controllers will have five foot long cords, which should be long enough to go from your entertainment console to your couch. I still think they should be six feet at minimum, but this is still a step up from those awful NES Classic controllers.
Super Famicom Version
Nintendo will actually be releasing two different classic versions of its 16-bit console: the rectangular North American version of the Super Nintendo Entertainment System and the Super Famicom version in Japan and Europe (though it’s still called the SNES in the latter territory). While the North American version is all well and good, the Super Famicom style is much cooler-looking, with a sleeker, curvier design and colored gamepad buttons. The European and North American releases will include the same 21 games, but the lineup will be different in Japan.
The following five games will be exclusive to the Japanese release:
- Fire Emblem: Mystery of the Emblem
- The Legend of Mystical Ninja
- Panel de Pon
- Super Soccer
- Super Street Fighter 2: The New Challengers
While these five games are only part of the North American and European releases:
- Kirby’s Dream Course
- Street Fighter 2′ Turbo: Hyper Fighting
- Super Castlevania 4
- Super Punch-Out!!
Where Do The Controllers Go?
The wired controllers included with the Super NES Classic Edition use a Wii remote style connection but when you look at the system, it’s hard to tell where they’re supposed to plug in. The console has what appear to be the same controller ports found on the original Super Nintendo, so where are the ports where you actually plug in the controllers? Well, on the Super Famicom version, the classic controller ports pop out, revealing two Wii Remote style ones, but it’s not really clear if the North American version does the same thing. Obviously they have to go somewhere but until we see actually see a SNES Classic being played, your guess is good as mine.
Are There Any Accessories?
Unfortunately, Nintendo has not announced any additional accessories or peripherals for the Super NES Classic Edition, though I would assume that we’ll be able to pick up extra controllers at the very least.
Will It Actually Be Possible To Find One?
This is arguably the number one question on everyone’s mind when it comes to the SNES Classic, especially for those who were burned by the NES Classic’s lack of availability. Nintendo seriously underestimated how popular the NES Classic Edition would be (I’ve actually read that they didn’t think it would be popular with hardcore fans, which just sounds absurd) and consumers ended up paying the price, as scalpers snatched them up and jacked up the price to absurd levels.
Nintendo has already made assurances that they “will produce significantly more units of Super NES Classic Edition than we did of NES Classic Edition,” which is a positive sign and should make it easier to find on store shelves than the NES Classic was. However, I’m already worried by the fact that it doesn’t appear as if most retailers will be taking pre-orders and the fact that Nintendo doesn’t seem committed to the system past 2017. Yeah, about that …
Will It Still Be Available In 2018?
The same statement where Nintendo claimed they will produce a lot of Super NES Classics also includes this interesting bit: “At this time, we have nothing to announce regarding any possible shipments beyond this year.”
On the one hand, I can sort of understand why they would say this. Even though it’s very likely that the SNES Classic will be extremely successful, no product is ever guaranteed to be successful and Nintendo may just be trying to be pragmatic here and not count their eggs before they hatch. However, this is also the same company that unceremoniously killed off the NES Classic earlier this year for reasons that were questionable at best, so it’s hard not to get the impression that Nintendo is planning a limited release for the SNES Classic as well.
I am of the mind that Nintendo should keep producing these things for as long as they keep selling because a) everyone who wants to buy one should be able to and b) it’s mind-boggling to think a company would want to stop selling a successful product. Nintendo won’t be able to lean on the “we need to focus our resources on the Nintendo Switch” excuse when the Super NES ships in September because the Switch will have already been on the market for more than half a year at that point and if Nintendo can’t figure out how to keep making enough systems at the same time to satisfy demand, they frankly have bigger problems that need addressing.
Anyway, that’s a long-winded way of saying that I sincerely hope the Super NES Classic Edition isn’t killed off less than six months into its lifespan like its predecessor was. Only time will tell.