Whilst I’ve been settling into a Masters’, celebrating a birthday and starting a new job, I’ve been struggling to sink time into my games. Pockets here and there appeared, but nothing meaningful.
I pre-ordered Nintendo’s latest mini console purely based on scarcity. The thought was, I’ll pick it up, and if it tickles my fancy I could give it a go. After all, the effort of emulation is often a boon, and the handy capabilities of a little box that play all the classics is something to behold.
A couple of games piqued my interest, the Undertale-inspiring Earthbound, Super Metroid and of course, the previously unreleased Starfox 2. Mostly though, when it came down to it, I was plugging in the second controller and jumping on the multiplayer titles.
Not expecting it to be a long-term experience, I booted up the little gray old man and fired up Super Mario Kart. Perhaps it’d be a laugh to compare it to the Switch version I frequent!
The SNES mini is a history lesson in game design.
However, what I was met with was a very succinct game that at its core, is like studying the cogs of a beautiful Nintendo war machine. The scarcity of the boxes and the lack of a map create new challenges and show how old ones had been surpassed, yet you still appreciate the game like you’re playing it on the latest console.
You can see how many titles acted like forerunners for the behemoths of modern gaming with the SNES. Most of the popular genres and standout titles gestated in this very period, all under the tutelage of an off-grey adolescent console.
Street Fighter II shows you how far the series has come visually, but in terms of mechanics, attempts to make you realize that when something is not broke, you shouldn’t fix it.
The same can be said for Super Metroid following the successful release of Samus Returns, as well as the popular but calculated and simple Mario Kart.
Undertale’s success can be tracked to the nostalgia felt for fans of Earthbound, but also shows that you can go back to basics in the modern era and deliver something that learns and grows from its clever parentage.
Mostly though, I was plugging in the second controller and jumping on the multiplayer titles.
I think what I’m trying to say is that as well as a console packed with terrific games, the SNES Mini is a history lesson in game design. A bite-sized revision of an ancient bible for those looking for nostalgia or just pure quality. It has both ends of a tough spectrum on lock.
Absorbing, epic single-player games that will quench your nostalgia and a plethora of fun multiplayer titles to populate an hour or a social evening. It has them both in droves.
Perhaps the only issue then is getting your hands on one. Whilst it is selling for scalpers prices on eBay, I wouldn’t say this is an essential item you need right now.
Alas, you are missing out on some pretty dope menu music though. Godspeed.