Earlier this week, Nintendo unveiled the successor to the highly sought after NES Classic: The Super NES Classic. Releasing September 29 for $80 and featuring 21 games, including the still as of now unreleased Star Fox 2, gaming fans including this one were sent into a tizzy, trying to figure out where to throw their money in exchange for one. The other thing I’m left trying to figure out, is why the hell do I want one of these things?
I still have my original Super Nintendo from when I was a kid, in near perfect condition, with all the games I had collected back in the halcyon days of the 1990s, including most of the games that come pre-installed on the Super NES Classic that I’d actually end up playing. And if that burst of nostalgia wasn’t enough, I could pick up two of these bad boy controllers and fire up an emulator, gaining access to virtually every SNES game ever made instantly.
The sad truth is, any time the mood does strike and I do bust out the console or emulator, I end up playing one game (usually Super Mario World, both because it’s easy to pick up and play for a few minutes, and because…come on, it’s Super Mario World, it rules) for about five minutes before I get bored and move on to something else. Spending 80 dollars on what’s essentially a cheap Linux box to accomplish the same thing doesn’t seem like the best use of funds.
And yet, I covet the hell out of this thing. Why? Maybe I’m still sore from missing out on the original NES Classic due to its baffling production schedule. My NES and all its games were lost years ago to a basement flood, so having that console back in my life would have been nice, but after not coming across one in stores and refusing to pay the inflated eBay prices, that dream died. The Super SNES Classic is a second chance at redemption. And perhaps the scarcity of the product, artificial or not, is driving my desire to buy one on a subconscious level. "I need what I can’t have" is a pretty common human feeling, after all.
There’s also simply the aspect of collecting. There was a point in my video game fandom where I would buy nearly anything Zelda branded. At one point, I had four different versions of Ocarina of Time. For avid collectors, the Super NES Classic (and its older brother) is a no brainer: it’s relatively rare, looks great, and even if you’re not using it, you can just show it off on any shelf.
The killer app of the SNES Classic, though, is clear: Star Fox 2. 100% completed but abruptly canceled before its release in 1995, Star Fox 2 remains one of the biggest question marks in Nintendo’s history. What exactly happened? Star Fox 2 programmer Dylan Cuthbert claims the Nintendo 64’s impending release soured the team on releasing 3D games on the Super NES, wanting to differentiate the two consoles.
The thinking was that if Nintendo released another 3D game on the Super Nintendo, then it would be compared with the PlayStation 1, and the quality was completely different… Star Fox 2 was disappointing but I could understand the reasoning – the PlayStation and Saturn had come out and were obviously superior to the SuperFX chip. Considering the rivalry between Sony and Nintendo I could see exactly where they were coming from."
Disappointing, but on some level understandable. It seems crazy that over 20 years later, through Wii Virtual Consoles, endless re-releases of games, ports to handhelds such as Game Boy and 3DS, and even Nintendo developing for iOS and Android we still haven’t seen the game in its final form. Fans have cobbled together a near final version of the game using ROM images leaked from various stages of development, but having a bug free, Nintendo-endorsed release of the game is very exciting, and may be worth the price of the Super NES Classic alone.
Who’s picking one of these guys up? And if you find two, will you sell me the other one at less than 100% markup?