Console games, time with friends, so many incredible memories. But did you ever asked yourself? Which are the most popular retro consoles in US? The NES Classic Mini seemed like a perfect product for Nintendo nostalgists when it was first announced. The slick presentation of the hardware, an adorable little NES even non-game fans could love, combined with a list of games that was a whirlwind tour of 80s essentials. All of those great things are great in practice too! The NES Classic is a lovely machine, if extremely challenging to find around launch, but a new manufacturing run has made them much easier to find for eager collectors and casual fans alike.
The Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) first hit the market in 1985 and went on to become one of the earliest iconic video game consoles, after perhaps the Commodore 64, which is technically a computer as opposed to a console. The NES also introduced us to many of the franchises that we still know and love today. Most modern NES gamers say that they love the console for its retro feel and the simplicity of its games, though simplicity doesn’t necessarily mean that they were easy. It took a real talent to play many of the old NES games, especially because not all of them allowed you to save your progress. The NES is particularly notable for the Super Mario Bros. games, which are credited with introducing side-scrolling games, and The Legend of Zelda, which helped to drive a switch to battery-powered saving mechanisms. See more details at Most Popular Retro Console by State.
The Super Nintendo (SNES) of 1991 is by far the best retro gaming console of the 16-bit era. The SNES faced a number of rising contenders, like the Sega Genesis, but managed to stay on top with is triple-A titles (read: Donkey Kong Country and Super Mario World), affordable pricing and superb hardware with stereo sound. With over 725 games in its library, the SNES was one of the best consoles that came into the market with third-party support. Due to its previous promising history and savvy business deals, Nintendo got an early public relations advantage with third-party developer Capcom, giving them the first console port of Street Fighter II. Nintendo went above and beyond with the SNES by developing the Super FX chip, allowing 3D capabilities with titles like Starfox and Doom without adding on any unnecessary hardware. For anyone wanting to relive the definitive early 90s gaming experience, the SNES wins hands down.
As good as Nintendo’s own SNES Classic is, it does limit you to the included 21 games. If you’re looking to breathe some life into your cartridge collection, the Analogue Super Nt will play them just as well as an original SNES and also make them look great on modern HDTVs. As you might expect, that does come at a bit of a premium price, but it is at least considerably more affordable than Analogue’s previous high-end take on the standard NES, and, as CNET notes in its review, clunky menus aside, there’s not much more you can ask for in an updated SNES.
Looking for something a little more personal? Then go with the original. Enterprising do-it-yourselfers have been making homemade retro consoles out of the Raspberry Pi mini-computer for years. It’s a fantastic setup with enough power to play game ROMs up to around the PlayStation (one) era, and with a big enough MicroSD card, you can fit hundreds or even thousands of ROMs on there. Wireless and wired controllers are easy to work with, too, and you can even find plastic cases that mimic classic consoles. Putting a Raspberry Pi together, loading up the emulation software, and tracking down the ROMs is tricky and time-consuming, about on the level of rooting your iPhone or running a custom Android ROM. But there are tons of guides available (may we suggest our sister site How-To Geek?), and open source developers have made fantastic interfaces for the emulator packages. It doesn’t hurt that you can put together a Raspberry Pi, a custom case, a controller, and a MicroSD card loaded with the classic game ROMs of your choosing for well under $100.