A Promising New Way To Play Super Nintendo Games, Coming In Early 2018
A Nintendo classic reimagined.
The NES Classic and SNES Classic are two great products that make it easy to revisit some of the best games from Nintendo's past, but when you consider the hundreds of other games that didn't make the cut, the selection begins to look a little slim. If you want to take the plunge and invest in vintage cartridges instead, you have two hardware options to consider: wrestle with old Nintendo consoles or look to third-party recreations.
Not all aftermarket systems are created equal, especially when Seattle-based Analogue is in the discussion. The company is highly regarded among classic game collectors who want the best experience possible when playing old games on modern displays, and it's just opened pre-orders for its next boutique console: the Super Nintendo-based Super Nt, coming in February 2018. At $190.00 (available for order worldwide), it's not cheap, but that's because Analogue aims to provide the best experience possible and has made a significant investment to ensure that it can redefine the standards by which all other SNES systems are measured.
Kevin Horton is a renowned engineer with an eye towards classic video games, and he's been working at Analogue full-time for the last 14 months developing what was previously thought to be a far-off achievement: a 100% accurate FPGA-based SNES. FPGAs are physically programmable circuits that can mimic hardware and, when handled correctly, can provide a more accurate approximation of classic systems (like the Super Nintendo) compared to traditional software emulation. It was previously known that a few hobbyists had made some progress on creating a Super Nintendo on an FPGA, but nothing approaching total accuracy or even commercial distribution. Because of this, Analogue's announcement is an exciting surprise if you're the sort of person interested in having the best gear available, in this case when it comes to playing 16-bit Nintendo games.
In simpler terms: Analogue promises that any Super Nintendo game you throw at the Super Nt, from any region around the world, will work on modern TVs without any flaws or finicky technical hurdles. But if you want to dig into the settings to adjust various aspects of visual and audible experience, there are plenty of options waiting to be tinkered with. By all appearances, the only feature missing from the Super NT that was present on the excellent NT Mini is a versatile analog video connection. While useful for purists who prefer the old glow of a CRT, this is apparently a little-used feature that was shaved off to reduce the cost of the system.
The other cost-cutting measure was the move from a milled aluminum chassis to an all-plastic design. In addition to lowering the entry point--the lowest ever for an Analogue console--this also means the Super Nt can be produced in various color schemes. The company has also partnered with 8bitdo, maker of high-quality wireless controllers for classic systems, to ship each Super Nt with matching controllers made custom for Analogue's new console.
We've yet to test Analogue's claims first-hand, but our experience with its CMVS Neo Geo and NT Mini NES have us convinced that the Super NT is worth looking forward to. For a more in-depth look into Analogue's handiwork, check out our full review of the impressive Nt Mini.