Nintendo banking on gamers’ nostalgia

Nintendo tapped into the retro gaming trend last year with the release of the NES Classic Edition game console, a $60 gadget that came loaded with 30 vintage games, which became an unexpected hit. Now, the Japanese video game giant is again nodding to the past with the Super NES Classic Edition console.

The Super NES Classic looks exactly like the original, except it is small enough to sit in the palm of your hand. The console comes preloaded with 21 16-bit games from Nintendo’s early 1990s glory days, including “The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past,” “Super Mario World” and “Yoshi’s Island.”

The Super NES Classic Edition offers hours of fun, but its lack of many modern features made the console feel like a novelty for misty-eyed gamers. Although die-hard fans might want to get one fast before it can only be found on eBay, casual gamers may be better off skipping the console and downloading a few classic games a la carte from the Nintendo eShop, the company’s online store.

The Super NES Classic has no internet connection, so there is no way to compete online with friends. And in a time of wireless technology that allows controllers to be used in any spot in a room, the Super NES Classic controllers are wired and plug into the console, which limits a player’s mobility.

But the Super NES Classic does have a few new and nifty features. One is called Rewind, which lets players back up a minute or so in a game to restart difficult challenges. And each game has four “suspend” points, allowing players to save a game midlevel — unlike in the original system, which forced you to rush to finish a level because your mother was calling you to dinner. A feature called Frame also allows players to pick a border around games to fit today’s wider-screen TVs.

The target for the Super NES Classic Edition is adults who grew up with the original console, which is still a big audience. Learning a lesson after many outraged fans who sought the NES Classic last year were left empty-handed, Nintendo said it would increase inventory of the Super NES Classic this year.

The games of the Super NES Classic still stand the test of time as some of Nintendo’s finest. But they feel trapped in the amber of an outdated console.