Looking for some retro gaming action, but don’t have an old games console? No need to worry: all the big games console companies of the past are producing new, compact versions of their classic games systems.
Not sure which one to try? Let’s look at revived retro games systems from Nintendo, Sega, Sony and others.
Which Retro Gaming Consoles Can You Buy?
Sonic the Hedgehog, Super Mario, Manic Miner… video game characters from the past that send pangs of nostalgia through the bones of many gamers.
Retro gaming is so popular that there are now dedicated books and magazines on the subject. There are t-shirts too; likewise, pixel art has become a recognized artistic discipline.
People love retro gaming. While emulation of retro systems on your PC is one option, you might prefer to buy original hardware. But what if this isn’t possible?
Well, various games console manufacturers and license holders have taken steps to revive old hardware. As of this writing, you can buy:
- Sony PlayStation Classic
- Nintendo NES Classic
- Nintendo Super NES Classic
- Sega Genesis Flashback
- Atari Flashback 8 Gold
- C64 Mini
- NEOGEO Mini
These machines come with games built in, and usually ship with two controllers. Often, there’s also a way of copying your own collection of retro gaming ROMs, expanding the library of games further.
One of the greatest consoles of all time, the Sony PlayStation opened the door to gaming for so many people, while kicking off a legacy that persists to this day.
Why wouldn’t you want to revisit those classic games of the late 1990s and early 2000s?
Approximately 45 percent smaller than the original Sony PlayStation, the PlayStation Classic ships with the original (pre-Rumblepack) controllers) and 20 games.
These include Tekken 3, Final Fantasy VII, and Ridge Racer Type 4. Compatible with HDTVs, the console ships with a virtual memory card, HDMI cable, and USB cable. No power adapter is included, because a standard smartphone charger will do the job.
Unlike the other consoles in this list, you’ll only be able to preorder the Sony PlayStation Classic, as it isn’t released until December.
Super Mario Bros., Donkey Kong, The Legend of Zelda… the memories just keep on coming. Looking exactly like the original 1985 NES (as opposed to the earlier Famicom), the Nintendo NES Classic is in fact much smaller, and comes with 30 games preloaded.
Two modern original-style controllers are included, along with a HDMI cable.
Other games in this hugely popular retro console include PAC-MAN, Dr. Mario, Mega Man, Final Fantasy, and Metroid.
First released in 2016, supply of the NES Classic has been unreliable; as a result, buying now may mean a significant wait. However, Nintendo is known to be producing more units, so your order should be fulfilled. If you can’t get hold of one, however, there are some strong retro gaming alternatives.
Introduced in 1991, the Nintendo SNES 16-bit system took the gaming world by storm and built upon the success of its predecessor. In 2017, history repeated itself.
Boasting legendary games like Super Mario Kart and Street Fighter II Turbo: Hyper Fighting, the Nintendo Super NES Classic comes with a total of 21 games, and two authentic game controllers.
HDMI and USB power cables are also included, and the console is compatible with classic controllers, for hardcore retro gaming.
Also known as the Mega Drive, the Sega Genesis first hit U.S. stores in 1989 and was the main rival to the Nintendo SNES. Several versions were released during its original release, each slightly smaller than the other.
Unlike the other console re-releases, the Sega Genesis Flashback isn’t significantly smaller than the original. It packs 85 video games, among them Mortal Combat, Sonic the Hedgehog, Altered Beast, Golden Axe, and many other Sega classics.
Two wireless controllers are included, along with a HDMI cable and AC power adapter. What is particularly special about this system is the inclusion of a cartridge slot, for playing classic Genesis games. You can even connect a pair of classic wired game controllers if you find the wireless controllers unreliable.
Stuffing an amazing 120 games into a single scaled-down Atari 2600-styled console, complete with faux wood finish, the Atari Flashback 8 Gold bundles an AC power adapter, HDMI cable, and two wireless game controllers into the box. There’s even space for two (wired) paddles, for a totally authentic Atari gaming experience.
Among the Atari classics in this package are Outlaw, Indy 500, International Soccer, Asteroids, all-time classic Space Invaders, and more. While the Atari 2600 represents the very beginning of the 8-bit console era, it might not prove as enticing as the NES Classic or C64 Mini.
However, beware. The Atari Flashback 8 series has been plagued by buggy hardware (such as controllers not working), and Pac-Man isn’t included. While license-holder ATGames appears to have made some fixes, the quality of the Atari Flashback 8 Gold may not match your expectations.
6. C64 Mini
While not strictly speaking a console (although it did have console-version, the C64GS), the Commodore 64 was an incredibly popular home gaming system following release in 1982.
Appropriately shipping with 64 classic titles, the C64 Mini is a 50% scale replica of the C64. Although it doesn’t feature a working keyboard, you can plug one in via USB. Included in the box is a classic joystick, HDMI cable (720p upscaling is available), and a USB power cable.
A second C64 joystick can be bought separately.
Among the titles included here are classics like Uridium, Cybernoid, Speedball 2, California Games, Pitstop 2 and many more. Reviews have been mixed on this device, but it’s possible to copy your own game ROMs across to the C64 Mini. This makes it a must have for any hardcore C64 fan.
New for 2018, the NEOGEO Mini is a handheld gaming system that resembles a miniature arcade machine cabinet. Inside is hardware that recreates the NEOGEO games console, reviving games like Metal Slug, The King of Fighters, Fatal Fury, and more.
Based on the 1990 Neo Geo console and arcade machine, 40 titles are included with this classic console remake, which comes with a built-in 3.5-inch LCD screen, stereo speakers, and four button controller and joystick.
Two USB-C ports are included for external controllers, there’s an earphone socket, and a HDMI-out connector. (External cables and controllers are sold separately.)
Demanding a USB power supply, the NEOGEO Mini can also run from a portable power source (such as a phone charger). It has a save game function, too, allowing you to save and load game progress.
Need Something Else for Your Retro Gaming Love?
How much do you love retro gaming? If none of these seven retro console and computer devices suit you, perhaps you need a different approach.
We mentioned emulation above, and this could be what you need to play games from other platforms. Perhaps you’re a Nintendo N64 fan, or want to play games from the Sega Dreamcast? You might also try an option like the SNES Classic Mini and check out how to play PS1, N64, and other games on that device. Whatever the case, emulation software is available, capable of running on most computer systems.
Several options are available—why not start off by looking at the cross-platform Lakka emulation suite? Or are you considering a game system you can take anywhere? Check out these portable gaming consoles we recommend: