Now You’re Playing With POWER! – NES Classic Review

It’s the holiday season and once again, you are looking for that “it” item of the season for you or your family.  This year has a ton of cool new gift ideas but one of the coolest and hottest of the season has been the NES Classic.  Sold out all over the country, this little box of wonders is bringing out the nostalgia in us all and people are going bananas for it. So I got my hands on one, (thanks mom) and want to let you all know; is it worth buying? Let’s dive in:

What is the NES Classic?

This little box packs a lot of power, as compared to the actual NES from the 80’s.  About 1/4th of the size of the original, the NES Classic is an emulator that is capped with 30 pre-installed games that include:

Titles Original year of release Publisher
Balloon Fight 1985 Nintendo
Castlevania 1986 Konami
Donkey Kong 1986 Nintendo
Double Dragon II: The Revenge 1989 Arc System Works
Dr. Mario 1990 Nintendo
Excitebike 1984 Nintendo
Galaga 1988 Bandai Namco
Ghosts ‘n Goblins 1986 Capcom
Gradius 1986 Konami
Ice Climber 1985 Nintendo
Kirby’s Adventure 1993 Nintendo
Mario Bros. 1983 Nintendo
Mega Man 2 1989 Capcom
Metroid 1986 Nintendo
Ninja Gaiden 1988 Koei Tecmo
Pac-Man 1984 Bandai Namco
Super C 1990 Konami
Super Mario Bros. 1985 Nintendo
Super Mario Bros. 2 1988 Nintendo
Super Mario Bros. 3 1988 Nintendo
The Legend of Zelda 1986 Nintendo
Zelda II: The Adventure of Link 1987 Nintendo


Only the North American Version of the NES Classic has the following:

Titles Original year of release       Publisher
Bubble Bobble 1986 Taito
Castlevania II: Simon’s Quest 1987 Konami
Donkey Kong Jr. 1982 Nintendo
Final Fantasy 1987 Square Enix
Kid Icarus 1986 Nintendo
Punch-Out!! Featuring Mr. Dream 1987 Nintendo
StarTropics 1990 Nintendo


Along with the pre-loaded games you get a NES “Original Feel” controller, an HDMI adapter and a AC cable to power it all.

Should You Get It?

The short answer is yes, you should get this if you loved the old Nintendo games.  Some of the features make this system an amazing deal for $59.99 but as is with all things there are some drawbacks.  Let’s start with the good stuff.

When unboxing the NES Classic, I was impressed with how it looked.  It is a pretty solid “Mini Me” of the original.  The colors looked nice, the casing was solid and it was really tiny, easy to hide away somewhere as to not be out all of the time.  It was really easy to set up and play, as you just plug it into the HDMI and boom, you’re ready to go.

The interface of the system is so Nintendo. Its bright, bubbly and has music in the background when you are scrolling through the games.  One of the most important updates from the original NES is the ability to save where you are in the games.  Each game comes with 4 slots for you to save your progress, which is great for a family not wanting to have to replay or skip over somebody else’s game. Another aspect that I really liked was the ability to choose the display modes.  There are three different ones:

  • CRT filter: Looks like an old TV, scan lines and all.
  • 4:3: Gives you the original NES game look, with a slight horizontal stretch.
  • Pixel Perfect: Each pixel is a perfect square, so you see the games exactly as designed.

Personally, I prefer the Pixel Perfect because I like a nice clear screen. Even so, the player has a choice and that’s always nice for the user to have.

The best thing about the NES Classic is the games.  With 30 to choose from, I was incredibly happy to see that they included a lot of my favorites such as Super Mario Brothers 3, Punch Out, and the Legend of Zelda.  These games come with all of the various cheat codes and fun stuff you remember from the originals, like the 2 whistle trick in Mario or the different strange fighter codes in Punch Out.  The games look great, they feel great and bring me back to a simpler time in gaming history.

Even with all of these perks, there are a few things that I did not like about the NES Classic.  The major complaint I have has to do with the controllers.  First, the controller cord is around 3 feet long, which for obvious reasons creates a challenge for people trying to play the NES.  Sitting 3 feet from the TV might have been okay when I was 5, maybe not for my mom, but I really don’t enjoy sitting on my floor at 26 years of age. A 10 foot cord or wireless would have been the way to go but if you scan the market, you can find those things, for a price.

As well, I know it might have cost more but a second controller would have been the best package to send out because people really enjoy playing these games with other people.  Nintendo knows that and that’s why they sell another controller for $9.99…..if you can find it.  For someone like me who received this as a gift, it has been impossible to find another controller and that has translated into sharing the one controller I have.  No fun Nintendo!

Final Verdict

All in all, I really liked this cool look back into my childhood.  For only 60 bucks, I feel like anyone who really enjoyed playing any of these games should buy the NES Classic.  Even with it’s comically short cord for the controller, I have enjoyed parking myself in front of my TV, punching out Mike Tyson (I used the cheat code) and reliving the simpler days of gaming.

Final Score  9.3/10

Content Manager for Mammoth Gamers, Ken is a deadhead but not like from the 70's. Ken often times finds himself picking up anything with "Of the Dead" in the title. On top of this, he is also a walking, talking pop-culture reference. He is a sports geek, a comic book nerd and loves John Mayer.... Play some games with him! PS4 gamer: thewalkingken Follow him on Twitter! @Kenborter