Released in 1983 in Japan under the name “Family Computer”, Nintendo’s 8-bit console was exported throughout the world in 1985, being renamed “Nintendo Entertainment System” (“NES” for short), finally arriving in France in 1987.
The NES was the first home console to really bring video games into homes, with 61.91 million copies sold to date, which places it 10th in the ranking of the best-selling game consoles in history out of a total of 43 models. For comparison, its rival at the time, Sega’s Master System, sold “only” 13 million units.
But the console doesn’t do everything, and Super Mario Bros is the first “killer game” in history, that is to say the first game which alone justified the purchase of the console. The Nintendo console has seen a plethora of titles that have become legendary such as The Legend of Zelda, Metroid, Castlevania, Final Fantasy, Double Dragon, several episodes of Donkey Kong, Super Mario, etc…
A console that became cult for an entire generation, as others were for subsequent generations, but the NES was THE first video game console to truly become cult for the general public.
Unboxing of the Nintendo Mini NES
Nintendo thus wanted to ride the wave of nostalgia, to strike the heartstrings of children of the 80s, and thus offers us the “Nintendo Classic Mini“, Or “Mini NES”, to connect to our modern televisions via HDMI. A version visually identical to the original, but much smaller!
No SCART socket therefore (what a memory of trying to blindly connect a SCART socket to the back of the TV, in the dark…), but a 1.50m HDMI cableaccompanied bya 1.50m USB power cord also but without a power adapter… Nintendo is banking on the fact that everyone has one via their smartphone or tablet, and indeed, it works perfectly (as long as it provides 5V and 1A).
To close the “wiring” file, black point for the length of the controller wire, only 80cm…! but ultimately, you need to stay close to the console anyway, we’ll explain why a little further on.
Discovery of the Mini NES
The Mini NES therefore surprises with its small size, even smaller than we imagine when looking at photos, because as you can see below next to a PS4, it would almost fit in the hand.
This miniature replica of the NES is of very good quality, faithful to its ancestor, you would even want to open the cover to insert a (mini) cartridge… but it is fake of course.
Small yes, but strong, since it contains 30 of the most cult games of its time (which we also list at the bottom of the article). Obviously, games did not weigh 50GB at that time, so it can hold a large number of them and it thus reminds us how quickly games started at the time, if not instantly.
And yes, at the time, the games were on cartridges, and did not require a “day one” patch, updates, internet connection, etc. such loading speed could suggest that this is the future, when in reality it is the past… (Marty, Doc?)
The interface, simple and effective, allows you to access, in addition to the games, the settings of the beast, thus inviting you to configure several things:
- THE 4/3 mode (default) offers a very good rendering, with a slight horizontal stretching. It allows you to obtain bright colors and sharp graphics (yes, don’t be afraid young friends, we can call this graphics). On the other hand, 4/3 format requires you to have two large vertical black bands on each side of the image.
- THE “cathode filter” simply adds a “scan line” effect to the image, for CRT purists.
- There “original definition” offers the same quality as in 4/3, but with an even narrower image, therefore with even more present black side bands: “each pixel is a perfect square, so you see the game exactly as it was designed ”.
- “Demo”: continues game demos on the screen in case of inactivity with the console.
- “Automatic Power Off”: the console automatically turns off after a certain period of inactivity
- “Reduction. screen burns”: prevents damage to our modern screens from fixed images
Let’s tackle the Mini NES games
Once you have finished discovering the settings, you can throw yourself body and soul into one of the 30 games offeredwhich you can classify according to several very practical choices: release date, publisher, alphabetical order, for 2 players, recently used, number of uses.
Know that for each game, you can make 4 saves at any time! And that changes everything. Gone are the days when you had to start a complete level again, you are free to anticipate a save before a complicated passage.
On the other hand, to make a backup, this is where the (short) length of the cable is useful, because you must systematically press the “RESET” button on the console… which brings you back to the main interface. An impractical choice, it would have been much more judicious to be able to do it with the controller, but Nintendo tells us on this subject that it is possible “with a classic or classic Pro controller, with the home key”.
You will therefore have understood that it is in your best interest to keep the console close to you anyway!
Who is the Mini NES for?
Let’s be honest, mainly to nostalgic people, those who knew the games at the time of their release because the majority of titles have aged poorly, and subsequent generations will certainly have a lot of difficulty coping with large squares in as graphics.
Some titles have suffered less from the ravages of time than others, we can cite Super Mario for example, but as a general rule, if on a small screen most games would play quite well, on a TV, it is a little more complicated to fully appreciate the visual rendering.
List of games available on the Mini NES
- Balloon Fight
- BUBBLE BOBBLE
- Castlevania II: Simon’s Quest
- Donkey Kong
- Donkey Kong Jr.
- DOUBLE DRAGON II: THE REVENGE
- FINAL FANTASY
- GHOSTS’N GOBLINS
- Ice Climber
- Kid Icarus
- Kirby’s Adventure
- Mario Bros.
- MEGA MAN 2
- NINJA GAIDEN
- Punch Out!! Featuring Mr. Dream
- SUPER C
- Super Mario Bros.
- Super Mario Bros. 2
- Super Mario Bros. 3
- Tecmo Bowl
- The Legend of Zelda
- Zelda II: The Adventure of Link
Review of the Mini NES
The idea is brilliant. Bringing together 30 legendary games in a miniaturized console with incredible charm was something that had to be thought of. The ability to save your games on each game, whenever you want, is a huge asset for those who were never able to finish their favorite titles at the time.
The visual rendering is very clean whatever the mode chosen, but not everyone will necessarily appreciate the graphic quality of the time, as video games have evolved so much in 30 years.
The console starts in a few seconds, and the loading of each game is instantaneous as is the loading of saves, and that’s a big strong point.
Among the weak points, the ridiculous length of the controller cable, and the obligation to press the “RESET” button on the console to save or return to the main menu. Let us also note the rapid fatigue of our fingers, now accustomed to much more ergonomic controllers.
Brief, we were thrilled by this Mini-NESand the difficulty in obtaining one at the moment tends to prove that we are far from being the only ones, and that Nintendo did not expect such success… enough to give ideas to others manufacturers (Master System, Megadrive?), see again Nintendo (Super Nintendo!).