I’ve been playing the new $80 Super Nintendo Classic Edition for nearly a week, and it’s a delight

The Super Nintendo Entertainment System Classic Edition is hella fun.

That’s my considered take after playing games on the new retro game console since Friday, when Nintendo sent me one to test.

The Super NES Classic Edition is so small that these Amiibo figures tower over it.

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The Super NES Classic Edition is so small that these Amiibo figures tower over it.
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Ben Gilbert/Business Insider

That the Super NES Classic is such fun may not be much of a surprise. The device is a remake of the 1990s video game console that was beloved by millions of people.

The new version, which arrives on September 29, is a tiny, $80 device that comes with 21 fittingly classic games packed right in. Unlike the original, you won’t need to use any game cartridges; you just plug the system in and turn it on, and it’s ready for action.


First and foremost: The Super NES Classic Edition is very small.

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Ben Gilbert/Business Insider

It literally fits in my palm, as you can see here. It’s maybe one-third the size of the original Super Nintendo console.

The fact that the Super NES Classic Edition is so tiny makes it adorable looking. It would look good on your desk with all your other tchotchkes.

But it’s small size has some drawbacks It’s so light that you can easily lift up the system by accident, potentially breaking or damaging it in the process. Or it seems like it could be easily damaged if someone stepped on it or kicked it.

And that’s not a remote possibility, thanks to another problem. The wires that connect the console to the TV and particularly the ones that connect to the wired gamepads are fairly short. Even in my relatively small living room, I had to position the console between my couch and television just so the gamepads would stretch far enough to reach me.

If I yanked on the controllers while playing a game, the console would lift in the air – with the risk that it might come crashing down. Meanwhile, it was right in the middle of foot traffic.


That said, are you really adding a Super Nintendo into your home entertainment system permanently? Probably not.

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No, the eject button doesn’t do anything because there’s nothing to eject — you can’t play original SNES cartridges on the Super NES Classic Edition.
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Ben Gilbert/Business Insider

Beyond it being cute as heck, another benefit of the Super NES Classic being so tiny is you can easily detach it from your entertainment system and stow it away somewhere. It’s so small, you could literally wrap all the wires around it, including a game pad, and shove it in a drawer.

And let’s be clear: There’s not a great reason to keep this thing out all the time. Even if you love every one of the 21 games that come with the device, there’s a limit on what you can do it. You can’t add more games. Nor can you plug in any of your old SNES game cartridges.

So I set up and put away the console before and after each use.


The list of games on the Super NES Classic is awesome!

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Nintendo

We’re talking about the original games from foundational franchises including “Super Mario” and “The Legend of Zelda.”

Just by itself, the collection of games included with the Super NES Classic makes it worth buying. Somewhere between “Super Mario World” and “Super Metroid” and “Super Mario Kart” and “The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past,” the list of classic games on the Super NES Classic Edition becomes comical, because of just how great it is. These aren’t just “big” games – we’re talking about some of the heaviest hitters from the early-to-mid-’90s.

And if those games haven’t convinced you, the console also includes “EarthBound,” “Star Fox,” “F-Zero,” and “Donkey Kong Country”? It also has the finished but never-before-released “Star Fox 2.”

For $80, you’re paying a little less than $4 per game. Plus you get the console and two game pads. It’s quite a bargain.


You might be thinking, “Those games are over 20 years old. Are they any good?”

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“Super Mario World “is the best Mario game ever made. Don’t @ me.
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Nintendo

Yes! They are still so, so good!

You may not remember, but the release of the original SNES marked the real turning point when video games evolved from simple quarter-sucking arcade games into interactive narrative experiences.

And the games weren’t just deeper than before, they were more challenging. You see that in the games included with the Super NES Classic.

“F-Zero” becomes a real monster quicker than I remembered. “Contra III: The Alien Wars” is similarly maddening. But they’re challenging in a good and fun way.


The game pads are near-perfect re-creation of the originals.

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Ben Gilbert/Business Insider

The SNES’s game controllers represented one of the first major steps toward more ergonomic game pads. And the Super NES Classic does a great job of re-creating them.

Are the buttons squishy? Yes, but in exactly the right way. The d-pads are similarly squishy, but a tad more precise. And your thumb will be just as sore as ever after throwing dozens of fireballs in “Street Fighter II Turbo: Hyper Fighting.”

The gamepads obviously don’t compare to more modern ones like those that come with the latest Microsoft, Sony, or even Nintendo consoles. But for what they were made to do – play Super Nintendo games – they’re fantastic. My muscle memory immediately returned while charging around Hyrule and gunning down aliens.

The gamepads are actually direct replicas of the ones made for the original SNES, albeit they’re made in China rather than Japan. The only real difference is how they plug into the console.

Super NES Classic Edition (SNES)

As seen above, the Super NES Classic game pads use these more modern plugs, ports for which are hidden behind a panel in the front of the console.


The Super NES Classic has a cool new feature that its predecessor lacked: something called suspend point.

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Nintendo

The feature allows you to save exactly where you left off in any game. When you resume playing, the feature even allows you to rewind a bit of the game.

Older games didn’t all have the ability to save at any point. The new feature allows you to save your progress in any of the 21 games that come with the console wherever you are within them.

The new feature is a nice change from the original SNES, and a helpful one. The ability to rewind games is a huge bonus for outrageously difficult games like “Contra III: The Alien Wars.”

Beware, though: You can’t rewind everything. You have to first save a suspend point set up in order for it to work.

Another neat bonus: If you leave the home screen running on the Super NES Classic Edition for a few minutes, it’ll start replaying videos of your most recent play sessions.

Of course, as great an addition as suspend point is, it’s not super surprising. In fact, it would have been far more of a surprise if Nintendo didn’t include a feature like it.


So, should you buy the $80 Super NES Classic?

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Ben Gilbert/Business Insider

The obvious answer is yes! It’s a no-brainer purchase. Whether you enjoyed the original SNES back in the ’90s or not, the new version offers a ton of great stuff for a really low price.

The Super NES Classic offers a piece of video game history. It’s full of great games. Even if you don’t play many games but just like cool stuff, it’s a really cool thing.

The bigger question is not if you should buy the Super NES Classic, but whether you’ll be able to. If last year’s retro version of the original Nintendo Entertainment System is any indication, the Super NES Classic is going to be in high demand and really hard to find.

But Nintendo is promising to dramatically increase the number of consoles it makes for the holiday season and to continue production into 2018, so you may have a chance. Good luck!