Retro Respawn – Why I’m Not Overly Excited About the SNES Mini

So in recent weeks, Nintendo announced that they would be releasing the SNES Mini, a small device with 21 emulated games installed on it, including classics like Super Punch Out and Super Mario World. Immediately, many Super Nintendo fans around the globe rejoiced and started excitedly trying to acquire one. Indeed, in mere moments, Amazon’s pre-orders were cleaned out, and Nintendo Nuts were feverishly signing up for email notifications once more became available.

Being that I’m both a professed fan of retro video games and also someone who cut his teeth during the fourth gen, quite a lot of my friends got in touch assuming I’d be really excited about this. And yes, I’m a BIG fan of the SNES, and it would probably still rank as my own personal favourite console. So, you’d think I’d be all over this, right? Well…that’s not really the case, and I’ll try and explain why.

Firstly, I still have both an actual SNES, as well as physical copies of most of the games included on the SNES Mini, so there’s no real need for me to purchase them all over gain by picking up this new version of the console. Secondly, I’ve got to admit that I think it’s a bit rum of Nintendo to essentially hock a collection of ROMs on a physical device when their Nintendo store on the Wii and Wii U consoles is often depressingly bare by comparison.

Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s great that there might be younger folk who never owned a SNES back in the day who will now get to play some great games, and the more people who know the joys of Donkey Kong Country is all the better, if you ask me. The news that Star Fox 2 will also be included is incredibly exciting as well, but again, I have to ponder why it’s taken Nintendo so long to release the game if it’s been release-worthy for so long? Why have they hoarded it till now when they have a big collectable to drop on folk? I mean, we all know the answer, but that doesn’t make it right.

There’s also the small fact that Nintendo have released something similar for the original Nintendo Entertainment System, and it became a big bone of contention for fans. Nintendo didn’t produce enough NES Minis and then cruelly stopped production of them before everyone who wanted one could attain one. I get that Nintendo is a business, and making something hard to acquire is a surefire way to make it more desirable, but at some point doesn’t it just become mean?

I see no suggestion that Nintendo aren’t going to try and pull such a stunt with the SNES Mini as well, so I’m not going to go all in only to end up frustrated when I can’t get one. Making the device rare by design will only lead to frustration, disappointment and the eventual selling of SNES Minis on eBay for well above their natural value.

Ultimately, everyone seems to be winning from this except for the actual customers who want to own one. Nintendo get the buzz of selling a hot product, unscrupulous people get to make a killing by selling the devices to desperate fans, and we here in the game journalism biz get to watch from afar and write plenty of copy about it all. The only people who won’t be up on the deal will be people who’d actually like to own an SNES Mini and play some great games. Sadly, they’ll be stuck right down at the bottom of the ziggurat, as always.

Now of course, I could be wrong here, and Nintendo might very well end up learning from the NES Mini debacle and actually supply enough goods to meet demands. If they do, then I may very well pick up an SNES Mini down the line at some point when they get a little cheaper, as I can’t deny that having Star Fox 2 would be a nicety.

However, if I’m right, I’ll be staying a long way away from the possible hullabaloo that will come attached with the device. Many of my friends want a SNES Mini, and I really hope they get their hands on one too. Just because I’m not getting overly excited about this doesn’t mean that I think people who are doing so are wrong.

I hope that everyone who wants an SNES Mini can get one and that they really enjoy it. I hope they pick it up with ease and it makes them happy, because why wouldn’t I? Why wouldn’t I want people to be happy? I just hope Nintendo do right by these people and make sure there are enough SNES Minis to go around. I hope that this time they treat their customers with a tad more respect and avoid the cruelty that came stapled to the NES Mini.

Nintendo have a great chance here to do something really positive. At the end of the day, there’s a big audience for the SNES Mini who have a real hunger for it. I hope beyond all hope that Nintendo satiate that hunger, and if they don’t, I hope we all hold their feet to the coals over it.

I’ll be sticking with Nintendo for a Fitzgerald Scale article next week, and then I’ll be reviewing a pretty infamous N64 game the week after. I’m not sure how I’ve stumbled into doing so many consecutive weeks of Nintendo-themed articles, but that’s just how things have panned out.

Thanks for reading

Until next time;

Enjoy Yourselves!!!

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