You may have heard that Nintendo is discontinuing the NES Classic Edition so if you haven't got your hands on one yet I definitely suggest you start hunting! I managed to snag one from Amazon.ca on Sunday and it arrived on Tuesday. Before I get started, I am going to plug the site I used as it was the only reason I got one. If you are interested hit up http://www.nowinstock.net. Sign up and load the items you are looking for. You will get browser alerts and email alerts and keep on trying. Also if you are a Prime member Amazon apparently sets some aside for Prime members so you have better shot.
In my mailbox was a bubble envelope. First, I was disappointed as I assumed that it would be something else inside of it. I assumed the NES Classic would arrive in a box. Wrong! Second suprise was that the box itself was not shrink wrapped. I bought this new off of Amazon.ca (from Amazon.ca not a third party seller) so I was a little nervous about what I was going to find inside.
Okay, take a look at the picture at the very top. See that hand holding it. For some reason I never truly believed that picture. I had no reason not to, I just didn't think it could really be that small. I was wrong. The NES Classic is 5" (127mm) wide x 4" (102mm) deep x 1.75" (45mm) tall. I tried holding it in my hand like the picture and while that hand moodel must have larger hands than me it's pretty darn close.
Luckily everything was packed in and brand new. That was a relief! As I unpacked it I was amazed at how tiny yet exacting in detail the NES Classic is. There are a couple differences of course. Gone are the RCA output jacks for video and Mono audio. Instead we have HDMI. Also to power this console up all that is required is the industry standard Micro USB connector. In fact you can even power it off of the USB port on your TV or audio receiver if you were so inclined! The most disappointing change however is that the cartridge door doesn't open. The first thought that went through my mind is a total missed opportunity by Nintendo to sell SD cards or cartridges with NES game packs on them. However I know full well that this would lead to people hacking it and putting ROM's of NES games on cards so I get it why they didn't but man that would have been sweet!
Powering it up is the same as the original by pushing the power button. Once powered you are presented wiith a side scrolling list of retro gaming greatness! Is there games I think the NES Classic is missing...yes but this list will keep me happy for hours and hours, days and days. Some are great little 10 minute time wasters like Exciteabike while others, like Castlevania, demand a longer play time. Either way there is a lot of choice and variety here.
You have the ability to change the screen resolution for lack of a better word. Maybe 'emulation' would be a better word choice here. You can choose between CRT Emulator (don't do it!!!), a 4:3 version and a pixel perfect version. I played with all three and I will always leave it on Pixel Perfect. The CRT choice was awful on my little LCD screen. It added in the scan lines and besides scrambling some text made my head hurt and my eyes sting within about 5 minutes. The 4:3 version and the Pixel Perfect version were pretty similar but the latter was just a little cleaner and clearer.
You have probably heard this before but the one main detraction, besides utter lack of stock for this unit, is the length of the controller cable. The controller itself is an exact replica of the original but the original 8' cable is shrunk down to maybe 2.5'. You have got to be freaking kidding me Nintendo!? My guess is it was shrunk down by the same ratio as the console itself to keep everything in proportion but really that is just ridiculous. Looks like I will be buying an extender cable sometime soon.
Everything works like normal in the game with the exception of getting out of the game. Hitting reset on the original would bring you back to the games main menu. On the NES Classic it brings you back to the 30 game home screen. It also shows your current game in a little square window with wings around it. If you want to save your progress you have four save slots to choose from for each game. A nice little nod to the fact that the audience for this console is grown up and doesn't have an entire day to commit to Super Mario like they once did.
Overall, I couldn't be more pleased with what Nintendo created here and I can only hope that the success of the NES Classic bring us an SNES classic one day and maybe even an N64 version. If you are on the fence, for the price this is an amazing bit of gaming nostaglia and I suggest you hit up the website above and try and grab your own little piece of classic gaming.