Nintendo SNES Mini – The Lowdown

Ailbhe Daly

Credit: Nintendo

Not long after Nintendo’s NES Mini was released last year, the SNES Mini was confirmed. Boasting a library of 21 games, improved audio output and the inclusion of a second controller as standard, this new iteration of the iconic console sold out quickly when it was launched on September 29th.

The SNES was Nintendo’s second home gaming system, originally released back in 1990. In an era of 3D gaming with many new generation consoles having impressive frame rates and high-quality resolution, it is good to know that the SNES can still hold its ground. Featuring classic titles such as Donkey Kong Country, Super Mario World 2, F-Zero and A Link to the Past, there is something on the console for just about anybody – casual gamer or not.

Underneath the hood the SNES Mini features an Allwinner R16 system on chip, the same chip that the NES Mini had, offering the same 720p signal via HDMl. The base resolution for most games is equivalent to the NES at just 256×224. If you run it side-by-side with an original system hooked up to a CRT, the original just feels far more crisp than the SNES Mini due to the issues that come with upscaling.

Another big plus is that us Europeans get to experience everything in 60hz as it is built on American code offered at a slightly higher resolution. Starwing is also now Star Fox, dropping the odd EU title. A true gem of the games on offer is the incredibly difficult and addictive Contra III that sees either one or two players taking on aliens in a difficult side scrolling world. Quick reaction times are essential. Making it slightly further before you’re mowed down gives you a rewarding sense of achievement that you just don’t get with modern day games. It also means that Super Mario Kart and F-Zero retain 60fps and run incredibly smoothly.

The Super FX version of Yoshi’s Island show the systems accelerator capabilities off with some enemies featuring a range of animations. It makes it feel like a game that could have been released on a later console. It is little things like this which make the console feel that little bit special and praise has to be given to Nintendo for achieving it so seamlessly.

The SNES Mini serves as an excellent follow-up to the NES Mini. Though it is essentially just an emulator within a SNES chassis, it feels like the original in so many ways and for the nostalgia alone, it is truly impressive. It is a console that is very transportable due to its small size. There are adventures to brave alone as well as intense multiplayer classics to wage war with your friends over.

Ailbhe Daly