The NES may be the Hottest Toy of Christmas, yet again. Enjoy a game and I caution you about the dreaded Nintendo Thumb.

Do you remember that feeling of anticipation on Christmas Morning?  The feeling of excitement while you try to wait patiently, to see what is nestled under your tree?  The NES released in America in 1985 and we obtained one roughly in 1986 for my fifth Christmas.  My grandmother was living with us at the time, and she and my parents had plenty of experience with the Atari and preceding gaming devices.  The NES kindled amazing family bonding and has left me with a love of video games to this day.  Even though graphics have advanced, quality of the game has advanced, there is just something about the 8-bit system that cannot be matched and has not been surpassed.

I was luckily able to obtain a console today, launch day 11/11/16.  I invite you to read my review, posted on macsoursces.com, regarding the details of how I obtained the console.  When I got home with the machine, I could barely contain my excitement.  The packaging alone kindled the excitement of a child.  It shows the NES Classic (mini) on a glossy cover, reminiscent of an old Nintendo Power Magazine cover.  The coloring is very vivid and the dark black along the top and the blue on the bottom contrast the Grey NES system very well.  To summarize the packaging, it is very eye-catching.  The classic “Nintendo” logo is located at the bottom and “Nintendo Entertainment System” is located across the top.  The back of the box displays many of the cartridge covers for the original games.  The listed titles include: Balloon Fight, Bubble Bobble, Castlevania, Castlevania II: Simons Quest, Donkey Kong, Donkey Kong Jr, Double Dragon II: The Revenge, Dr. Mario, Excitebike, Final Fantasy, Galaga, Ghosts ‘n Goblins, Gradius, Ice Climber, Kid Icarus, Kirby’s Adventure, Mario Bros, Mega Man 2, Metroid, Ninja Gaiden, Pac-Man, Punch-Out! Featuring Mr. Dream, StarTropics, Super C (Super Contra), Super Mario Bros., Super Mario Bros. 2, Super Mario Bros. 3, Tecmo Bowl, The Legend of Zelda, Zelda II: The Adventure of Link.  Located along the top of the back is the phrase “RETRO BLAST FROM THE PAST!”  This is a statement that could not be closer to the truth.

NES Classic Edition REVIEW: 30 classic NES games in a small package.

Turning the packaging onto the side, you will see information about the classic controller.  This is the same controller that caused blisters on many of your thumbs and pain in the base of the thumb, known as Nintendo Thumb.  Who does not remember Nintendo thumb, from all of those gaming sessions?  The controller is meant to allow you to play the games as they were meant to be played.  This is a fully functional, original controller except for the connector to the actual console. This has been upgraded to the same as the Wii Classic controller connector, which can be used on this system if you cannot find another classic controller ($10-20 used). The other side panel on the packaging shows the console, resting in an adult hand.  This gives a great rendition of the size of the device.

Opening the box, you will immediately notice the shrunk-down NES Classic.  The console measures at 4″ long x 5″ wide x 1 3/4″ tall.  The console is wrapped in plastic and has a folded piece of cardboard to separate console from a controller.  Also included and individually wrapped are 59″ USB A to USB micro cable that plugs from the console into an included adaptor box.  I appreciate the attention to the adaptor as this easily plugs into a wall outlet or power strip.  If you pardon the pun, this prevents the typical game of power adaptor Tetris.  Nintendo also included a 58 1/2″ HDMI to HDMI cable, which is a marked increase from the NES component cables. This length is adequate.  Lastly, you will find a folded instruction manual, which also has a retro picture from the 1985 release.

NES Classic Edition REVIEW: 30 classic NES games in a small package.

The picture shows the Nintendo Entertainment System, the Zapper, 2 classic controllers, the R.O.B machine that may have been Nintendo’s first attempt to push the limits of gaming.  When you think about the R.O.B, the power mat, and the Power Glove (to name a few of the many accessories), it does not make the Wii peripheral idea that far fetched.  I was unaware, but Nintendo had a hands-free controller in the 1980’s for people with disabilities.  It used tongue motions for the D-pad, and puffing and sipping through a straw to act as the A and B buttons. Honestly, there were multiple peripherals that existed without my knowledge until I began research for this review.  There was an M16 gun to simulate combat, a LaserScope helmet and a chair that had built in controls for hands-free play. I love Nintendo!

The back of the retro gaming picture shows the instruction manual for the NES Classic.  The setup is incredibly easy.  Plug in the power adaptor, plug in the HDMI cable.  Plug the USB A end into the USB port on the adaptor.  Then plug the adaptor into a standard A type or B type wall outlet. Once both cables are installed, turn on the system by pressing the power button on the front, bottom left of the console.  You will be asked to pick your language and then you will have a side-scrolling panel of games.  The game has a built-in auto-off feature if no buttons are pressed for 1 hour.  The built-in flash memory will automatically create save states.  When you are done, the manual recommends disconnecting the NES classic from power.  You can also plug the game directly into the USB port on your TV or computer if a power outlet is not available.  This is an even greater convenient factor that Nintendo provided.  Some of us have more tech than we have wall outlets.

NES Classic Edition REVIEW: 30 classic NES games in a small package.

The game console comes with 1 controller.  I had put in a request with my local GameStop for 2 consoles and 2 classic controllers.  Alas, I was lucky to get a single console.  So, I perused the used Nintendo Wii Classic controllers and picked up one at about $16 to serve player 2.  I will pick up another classic controller when available. The controller has a short cable at 27.5″ and I do encourage you to pick up an extender.  This will save you from feeling you need to sit on your TV to play.  Either way, it is just like the 1980’s are in my living room again.  The controller is responsive, the buttons have wonderful feel and recoil.  The controller is well built and does a great job to recreate the original experience.  Many of us had our first gaming sessions with this controller and had to adapt it to other controllers.  Returning to the classic controller is like riding a bike or slipping back into the saddle.  It just feels right.

The included games are wonderful and I am excited to think about the many hours of fun ahead of me.  There are some titles that I wish were included.  I also wish that this would have been expandable for future updates/upgrades.  With the size of current memory, the size of the device would allow the entire NES, SNES, Gamecube and likely more to fit inside of the shell.  I suspect Nintendo will release a Classic 2, Classic 3, Classic SNES etc. until the Nostalgia fix has been met.  I would like Faxanadu, Battle of Olympus (two of my favorite RPGS of all time), Deadly Towers, Rygar, Karnov, Mighty Bomb Jack, Solomons Key, Original Contra, Battletoads, Double Dragon, Ninja Turtles, and oh so much more.

NES Classic Edition REVIEW: 30 classic NES games in a small package.

The first game I jumped to was Kid Icarus, a game that took many hours to get through.  I then turned to Mega Man 2 and reminisced through the Wood Man Level, then the airman level and then the crash man level before I saved and had dinner.  Typically the best path is (Air Man, Crash Man, Flash Man, Quick Man, Metal Man, Bubble Man, Heat Man, Wood Man).  Dr. Wiley’s stage is a whole new bag of worms that I will need to remember.   I then turned to Super Mario Bros. 3 and enjoyed a wonderful game with my children (7 and 5-year-old boys).  They wanted to play Donkey Kong and they played the game for roughly 1.5 hours.  They had a lot of fun, but there was no threat of a Donkey Kong Kill Screen just yet.  I sat back and watched their excitement and felt a little warmth inside of my heart.  We played the game from roughly 3 pm until 10pm and just scratched the surface of the games.  We experienced no glitches, no lag, no abnormal graphics.  I have not yet played Super C, which is on my list to play, nor have I jumped back into the Final Fantasy, Metroid or Zelda games.  To switch between games, press the reset button, and it will take you back to the home scrolling screen.

Nintendo has really played their hand well this Holiday Season as there are many people who want a fun game and not a complicated game.  The NES Classic Edition has a draw to men/women/children old and young and really is an amazing gift idea for this holiday season.   I hope that Nintendo cranks up the factory to turn out many more units.  There are many families who would love this device in their home.  In fact, I am still waiting for my console as this was a gift to my mother for her Birthday/Christmas present.  I wish all of you luck in your hunt for an NES Classic Edition console.  I know you will enjoy this device.  I rate it at 5/5 stars.  Remember to get the controller extensions, if you can.  That was really the only negative I found on my day 1 with the NES Classic Edition.
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For more information, visit nintendo.com/nes-classic.
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