When Nintendo announced that it would launch a new classic NES system with 30 games pre-loaded, it raised gamer interests, but also questions about the hardware’s capabilities. One of the difficulties of playing modern titles on an LCD-based TV is that the games weren’t designed for this type of display. Old-style CRTs used phosphors, not pixels, and they were round instead of square. This issue has caused less-than-perfect rendering in some older titles, though the degree to which this is a problem depends on the emulator and the NES replica console’s replacement hardware.
Nintendo has already demonstrated some impressive results from the NES Classic Mini, but the company has given an interview in which it expands on the micro-console’s capabilities. Our sister site Geek.com reports that the platform should be similar to the Retron 5 in terms of what it can do. If accurate, the NES Classic Mini will support output in a 4:3 display mode (presumably with letterboxing), offer a pixel-perfect mode in which all pixels are perfect squares, and can output an HD signal to a conventional TV.
One of the advantages of modern emulators is that they offer the ability to save your progress at virtually any point — useful for those of us attempting so-called Nintendo Hard games without the benefit of reflexive responses learned as hyperactive children. Nintendo’s Classic Mini will also offer this capability, though the fact that its saves are referred to as temporary implies that if you turn the console off, the saves go with it. Saved games will be implemented at specific points, though the timing and location of these hasn’t been given yet. At least some of the games on Nintendo’s 30-title list allowed for the use of game codes at specific points. Presumably we’ll at least see save-game integration at the same points where on-screen codes would’ve been given instead.
The Classic Mini is expected this fall at $ 59.99. So far, none of Nintendo’s classic competitors have picked up the gauntlet Nintendo just smacked them with. As Polygon details, while AtGames has a Genesis clone with an 80-game pack (versus 30 titles on the Classic Mini), the game quality is tenuous, there’s no modern output for an HDTV, and the audio is apparently badly mangled. If the Classic Mini is a hit, we may see companies like Sony and Sega revisiting this concept with their own add-in bundles and classic gaming hits. While the PlayStation’s reliance on CDs would require a bit more oomph in space requirements, it’s scarcely out of reach given the advent of 3D NAND and the ever-decreasing price of storage.