The SNES Mini: Everything You Need to Know
The Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES) rolled out across the world between 1990 and 1993 and sold 49.10 million units. Now, Nintendo intends to give fans an injection of nostalgia by releasing a remake of the console.
Following the success of the NES Classic Edition (also advertised as the NES Mini) , it’s no wonder that Nintendo has a follow-up ready for later this year.
It’s the console we’ve all been waiting for : the SNES Classic Mini!
This is already at the top of everyone’s Christmas list — but what exactly is it? What’s included in the box? And has Nintendo learnt any lessons from the NES Mini?
SNES Classic in a Nutshell
The SNES Mini will cost $79.99/£69.99/AU$119.95 at launch on September 29, 2017. As you can imagine, it is a miniature version of the original console.
Just like the NES remake, this is a plug-and-play unit with pre-installed games. Any cartridges you’ve got hanging around in the basement won’t work. Fortunately, there’s a great array of titles loaded into the console already (which we’ll come to in a second), so you don’t need to worry. You can’t download more onto it via the Virtual Console either, sadly.
You may recall that the original console had different looks depending on its region, and that’s echoed in this remake too.
American buyers will get a replica of their more box-like design, topped off with purple Power and Reset buttons — a look which is reflected in the controllers. Those in the U.K. will receive a more colorful and rounded SNES. And Japanese models will look similar to the PAL version, except with the Super Famicom Mini name, as the original was billed in 1990.
Which Games Are Included?
Nintendo has confirmed that all units come with 21 games. That’s fewer than the NES Mini, but the titles are more extensive, and so naturally take up more space. These also have a longevity factor that is arguably lacking on the NES.
Here’s the complete list of included games for the US and PAL versions:
- Contra III: The Alien Wars
- Donkey Kong Country
- Final Fantasy III
- Kirby Super Star
- Kirby’s Dream Course
- The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past
- Mega Man X
- Secret of Mana
- Star Fox
- Star Fox 2
- Street Fighter II Turbo: Hyper Fighting
- Super Castlevania IV
- Super Ghouls ‘n Ghosts
- Super Mario Kart
- Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars
- Super Mario World
- Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island
- Super Metroid
- Super Punch-Out!!
All these games have single-player modes, of course. However, many SNES titles also support multiplayer. The following all have some kind of two-player support:
- Contra III: The Alien Wars — Simultaneous co-op.
- Donkey Kong Country — Each player takes a Kong and jumps in when the other takes damage.
- EarthBound — Though not a true multiplayer game, you can connect a second controller to each have full control over the game and perhaps work together.
- Final Fantasy III — Allows a second player to take control of certain characters.
- Kirby Super Star — Player two can control Kirby’s companion and join in a few mini-games.
- Kirby’s Dream Course — Hit the mini-golf course with a friend.
- Secret of Mana — A second player can control one of the other party members in your team.
- Street Fighter II Turbo: Hyper Fighting — Beat up on a friend in competitive play.
- Super Mario Kart — Race your buddy, but don’t get hit by the banana peel!
- Super Mario World — A second player can use Luigi and alternate play through the adventure.
Of particular interest here is Star Fox 2, which was a planned sequel to 1993’s Star Fox. However, it was canceled before its intended 1995 release date. Various prototype ROMS have since leaked. But this is the first time it’s ever seen an official release. Needless to say, this makes it a special console. Players can unlock it by completing the first level of Star Fox. Are you excited yet?
And in case you’re confused about Final Fantasy III, the one included is actually the sixth in the series . In the West, it was released as the third installment. Hardcore fans will know it’s generally considered Final Fantasy VI, but newcomers should simply be content to know it’s a great game.
Any Further Variations?
Apart from its design, the games are consistent in North America and across Europe.
Its Japanese release is another matter. That region is missing EarthBound, Kirby’s Dream Course, Street Fighter II Turbo: Hyper Fighting, Super Castlevania IV, and Super Punch-Out!! Instead, they’re replaced with:
- Fire Emblem: Mystery of the Emblem
- The Legend of the Mystical Ninja
- Panel de Pon
- Super Formation Soccer
- Super Street Fighter II: The New Challengers
For anyone curious, Panel de Pon is the Japanese release name for Tetris Attack, so that line-up of titles is pretty great too. Serious collectors might need to buy both and use some plug adapters !
Of the Japan-exclusives, only Super Street Fighter II: The New Challengers and The Legend of the Mystical Ninja are available to download onto the Wii, Wii U, and 3DS in other regions.
Which Games Are on the Virtual Console?
Nintendo’s Virtual Console is a wonderful service, but anyone with the Switch can’t indulge in classic titles yet. Nonetheless, if you’ve got a 3DS or Wii U, you can play the vast majority of these already.
At the time of writing, only Star Fox, Star Fox 2, Yoshi’s Island, and Secret of Mana aren’t available to download (although the latter was available through the Wii). The Game Boy Advance port of Yoshi’s Island, titled Yoshi’s Island: Super Mario Advance 3, is available on the Wii U and 3DS eShop, as well.
Earthbound is currently $9.99 on the Virtual Console, while the rest of the titles are $7.99. In total, buying these 16 games would set you back nearly $130. The SNES Mini is $79.99, making it an obvious bargain.
Which Great Games Aren’t Included?
Now, that’s a more interesting question.
Nintendo has done a good job of including heavy-hitters like Super Mario World, Street Fighter II, Super Metroid, and Super Mario Kart. Inevitably, however, some much-loved classics didn’t make the cut.
Which others would we like to see?
- Chrono Trigger
- Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy’s Kong Quest
- Harvest Moon
- Jurassic Park
- Super Bomberman
- Wario’s Woods
- Zombies Ate My Neighbors
Of these, only DK Country 2, Harvest Moon, and the NES version of Wario’s Woods are available for download on modern systems. You’ll find Zombies Ate My Neighbors and Chrono Trigger on the Wii’s Virtual Console too. We can only hope the list of games on the SNES Mini expands, or that subsequent titles will become available through the 3DS , Wii U, or Switch soon.
What Comes in the Box?
As with 2016’s remake, the SNES Mini comes in a lovely retro pack that you’ll want to keep for posterity.
Inside, you’ll find your miniature console, plus an HDMI cable and USB cable to link to an AC adapter. To cater for those multiplayer games, the set includes two controllers.
I've heard whispers of discontent RE: value of the SNES Mini. Just remember his is what you're getting, a set that any 90s kid would envy pic.twitter.com/K7Hy7x1AeO
— Matt L (@LamboMat) July 4, 2017
Unlike the NES Mini, though, there’s no AC adapter in the PAL and Japanese versions — only in North America. You can pick one up pretty cheaply elsewhere.
Plug-and-play systems are made so you can play them immediately, so you won’t need anything else.
What Lessons Have Been Learned?
Aside a minority complaining that they couldn’t use original cartridges , there were two main complaints with the NES Mini.
The first was the length of cables for controllers. On the original NES, the wires were 232.4cm/91.5 inches, while the NES Mini’s measured around 77cm/30 inches. Players had to sit close to their consoles, perhaps so they had easy access to the Reset button. Or maybe it was to remind them of all those times parents would warn against sitting too close to the screen .
Fortunately, Nintendo has taken note, and the SNES Mini cables are about double in length — that’s about 152.4cm/60 inches. It’s not a huge improvement, but certainly better than before.
The second major problem with the NES Mini was its extremely limited supply . Pre-orders immediately sold out, and anyone hoping to pick one up for Christmas had to scout auction sites. Thankfully Nintendo is producing more consoles this time, but you’ll still be in for a considerable job finding any live pre-orders.
We can expect some retailers to make pre-orders available again for a short time. A few, including Amazon, are limiting them to one per customer. Others, however, don’t seem to have the stock they were hoping for and are canceling select pre-orders. So stay alert — even if you think you’ve got one in the bag!
Meanwhile, eBay is regularly taking down SNES Mini listings with huge mark-ups. But eBay isn’t doing this so buyers won’t get ripped off. It’s because the site terms state pre-orders are only valid 30 days before release. Expect a raft of units with swollen prices to appear on August 31.
Annoyingly, it looks like Nintendo will end production of the SNES Mini at the end of 2017 regardless.
Is It Worth Buying?
Yes. Absolutely. The collection includes one of the greatest platformers of all time (Super Mario World), four huge RPGs to sink your teeth into, and a never-before-seen game in Star Fox 2. If you’ve never played these games before, you owe it to yourself to experience them.
Pre-ordered and paid for the SNES mini. Pre-order got cancelled and refunded due to no availability. Guess Nintendo just doesn't want money?
— Robin Torkar (@pixlpit) June 29, 2017
If you get the chance to purchase one, don’t hesitate. In fact, keep an eye out for retailers offering the console closer to its release date, as many are hoping to acquire more stock then.
Have you been lucky enough to nab an SNES Mini pre-order? Which games are you most excited about playing again? And what hopes do you have for Nintendo’s future retro releases? Tell us in the comments!