“a charming little relic of a distant time”
These are the words of one reviewer of the latest games console released by Nintendo, the Classic Mini SNES, at the end of September.
Retro-gaming has become a popular activity as first-generation gamers, now adults and parents, want to share the delights of the characters and games on consoles they remember so fondly to their children. Not only this, but it brings game playing back into the living room and something to be shared with friends or family.
But the newest addition from the company, whose fortunes have been revived by the Nintendo Switch, is in short supply.
Although the company has promised to manufacture more and to block multiple pre-orders in an effort to prevent the supply problems that saw last year’s NES Classic selling on sites like eBay for considerably more than their actual store retail site, so far these measures seem not to have worked.
Bearing in mind that Christmas is on the horizon that may mean queuing in the early hours at an actual retail store when the next shipment is due in, unless you want to buy one online at almost double the actual retail price.
Another drawback is that the console does not include a plug, which you will have to buy separately.
It will, however, be worth it, according to reviewers.
The mini is a faithful small-scale reproduction of the original console and controls, although it now plugs into modern TVs through an HDMI cable and has additional suspend and rewind features so that you can stop playing and return later. While you cannot download or expand the games available the Classic Mini SNES comes with 21 traditional games that so delighted past generations, including Final Fantasy VI and Super Mario World, Super Mario, Castlevania IV, Super Metroid, Zelda and Super Ghouls ’n Ghosts.
The Guardian’s Keith Stuart says: “The greatest thing about the Mini SNES is that it will allow the original purchasers to quickly and easily share these memories with their children, their siblings or their old friends once again.”
Super Mario and Switch update
It’s official! Nintendo has announced that Super Mario is not as we have all believed a plumber!
As revealed in the Independent recently the cuddly Italian’s profile has been updated and he is now “all-round sporty”.
For those of you hooked on the loveable retro-game character, who have now embraced the Nintendo Switch, there is still a while to wait for the latest adventure Super Mario Odyssey featuring the loveable former plumber and his new friend Cappy.
It’s not due for release until October 27 when Mario gets some new moves that will include being able to throw Cappy.
According to a review, again in the Independent, it is not as awful as people might fear.
The storyline sees the Mushroom Kingdom overrun as a result of a freak scientific experiment, which has merged two worlds together. The Kingdom has been taken over by the evil Rabbids and only Mario, together with two partners, can rescue it.
It is basically a combat game, where players travel through stages to defeat Rabbids armed with everything from guns to huge concrete slabs.
But it takes co-operative strategies and planning to combat the different enemy battle styles so it is clearly a multi-player game if you fancy a session with friends.
According to the review there’s also a good deal of humour for when the pace slackens.
Many of Nintendo’s original fans are now adults who still have a sneaking affection for the Nintendo games and their characters.
Perhaps this has been a factor in the successful March launch of the company’s newest games console – the Switch, which sold three million units in its first month.
But the success must also be due to its innovative three-way features, which allows the console to be as a handheld device or as a table top gadget when travelling, or when at home as a console via the TV.
Reviewers have been generally positive about this versatility and the ease of being able to “switch” mid-game from one mode to another mid-game.
But it may be that the nostalgia element will guarantee Switch’s longer-term popularity as those same now-adult fans introduce their children to the joys of Super Mario and Zelda.
The Switch version of Zelda, Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, is “one of the best games ever created”, according to one review by the BBC
A new and already popular game, Arms, is out this month. It’s a fighting game with ten cartoon characters to choose from. Their weapons are their arms, which are stretchy and each with their own special characteristics. According to reviews who have tried it managing the creatures requires a good deal of skill with the controls:
“Nintendo’s nifty controllers offer enough precision that a twist of either wrist arcs your virtual blows left or right, useful for trying to land punches on moving enemies.” (Wired)
“Arms is unique, colourful, and accessible, with enough complexity to tempt a competitive scene but not so much to make anyone feel alienated.” (Guardian Tech)
Who doesn’t love Super Mario?
The next game to be released will be Super Mario Odyssey in October this year. According to the BBC review, players will be able to roam around and do tasks on their own, follow the main story, or divert into other missions.
Not only that, but Mario has a new hat, called Cappy, and players can use the Switch dual-motion controllers to throw the cap in any direction either to defeat enemies or to interact with other objects.
All Nintendo games are produced in house and consoles do not accept games designed outside, but it looks like there are enough innovative developments in their well-known games to keep the next generation – and their parents – happy.