Who among us doesn't remember spending an entire day playing their favorite video game? It could be an arcade cabinet, one of the many Mario titles, or your favorite racing game. Whatever your childhood gateway to fun was, there's a good chance you have have it again thanks to the massive resurgence of retro gaming consoles. Whether it's a DIY project with a little help from the internet or a mini clone of the console you had as a kid, the options are out there today.
This collection here is the best you can buy, straight from hours of gameplay in my own living room. Take a look!
Super NES Classic Edition
It's not always easy to get a hold of, but Nintendo's refresh of it's globally popular Super Nintendo Entertainment System is the kind of thing every child of the 80's is likely to want connected to their television. I mean come on, it's the same SNES you had as a kid but smaller and supports wireless controllers. How do you say no to that?
Joking aside, there is one massive downside to this console. You get 20+ really great games included with the console, but no official way to add any others. This console does not have a cartridge slot like the original SNES, so you can't just play an older game you happen to still have. If you want to add more games, there are unofficial hacks to allow it, but you're walking a fairly questionable legal line in doing so on top of voiding the warranty. If that's you thing, go nuts! Either way this console is a ton of fun, and looks so good in any living room.
RetroPie DIY Arcade Kit
If you want a little more than what the Nintendo Classic consoles offer, and are willing to do some of the work yourself, you can enjoy just about every old game ever right on your television with something called RetroPie. This system uses a Raspberry Pie computer to build your own mini console, complete with different controller options and thousands of games from multiple console generations.
We have a great guide on how to assemble your own Raspberry Pi console with RetroPie, but if you'd prefer to buy the parts ready to assemble without all of the software work, there are some fantastic kits to choose from for just about the same price as the SNES Classic Edition.
Tiny Arcade Keychain Cabinets
Some of my favorite games from the childhood years didn't get played in living rooms, they got played at the arcade down the street. While many of those games still exist in arcades around the world, finding them gets a little more challenging each year. Fortunately me for me, a collection of tiny arcade cabinets you can hang from your keys has started showing up places, and I can't stop playing them.
Classics like BurgerTime, Ms Pac-Man, and Space Invaders now exist in these tiny replica arcade cabinets, and they are totally functional game systems you can play over and over again. These consoles range between $20-$30 in price, but each one promises to offer hours and hours of nostalgic fun for those of us who grew up slinging quarters into the big versions of these machines.
Atari Flaskback 2
It doesn't get much more old school than Atari, and while some of us still have a perfectly functional 2600 in storage these Flashback boxes are much safer to share with your kids without worrying about permanent damage to your mint condition relic.
These systems couldn't be simpler, you just plug in to the TV and go, with a pair of replica Atari controllers to enjoy Breakout and Missile Command and many more. Yes, of course Pong is on the list.
This isn't quite as exciting as the promised Atari VCS we're hoping to see in person later this year, but for $75 you get to take the best of the Atari collection with you wherever you go. That's not an easy thing to say no to!
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