NES Classic Edition vs. SNES Classic Edition: Which should you buy?

Nintendo NES and SNES Classic Editions
Nintendo NES and SNES Classic Editions (Image credit: Christine Romero-Chan / iMore)

For most gamers, the SNES Classic is the better option since more of these classic games are considered "must-play" titles. But if you grew up with the NES, then it's hard to say no to a cute, mini version that comes with a ton of games to enjoy.

NES and SNES are both great in their own ways

Honestly, it's hard to pick one over the other when it comes to the NES and SNES Classic Editions, but if we can only buy one, we'd make it the SNES Classic. Let's break it down even further:

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CategoryNES ClassicSNES Classic
2nd controllerNoYes

If you want value, the NES Classic is pretty affordable and gives you a lot of games for your buck (about $2 a game). However, while these games provide entertainment, they aren't considered "the best" of the era. You can view the full list of games on Nintendo's website, but some of the highlights include Super Mario Bros. 3, The Legend of Zelda, and Pac-Man. If you grew up with the NES, then you'll have fond memories of it regardless, and it's nice to go back to relive and play those childhood games. Nostalgia is a powerful factor, and definitely one of the reasons I personally picked up one.

On the other hand, while the SNES Classic is about $20 more expensive than the NES Classic, it provides two controllers, making it more of a value already. Both consoles support multiplayer, but only the SNES Classic truly allows you to play locally with a friend straight out of the box. You need to go out and buy a second controller to play with others on the NES Classic since it only gives you one.

Another place where the SNES Classic shines is in its game selection. Though it only has 21 games (nine less than NES Classic), many more of these are considered to be some of the greatest games of all time — including Earthbound, The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, Super Metroid, and so many more — giving new gamers a chance to play pieces of history. It even comes with Star Fox 2, a game that was never released prior to the SNES Classic.

Plus, the Rewind feature on the SNES Classic gives it a one-up over its predecessor, allowing players to rewind a full minute or more from a game's last suspend point.

Christine Chan

Christine Romero-Chan was formerly a Senior Editor for iMore. She has been writing about technology, specifically Apple, for over a decade at a variety of websites. She is currently part of the Digital Trends team, and has been using Apple’s smartphone since the original iPhone back in 2007. While her main speciality is the iPhone, she also covers Apple Watch, iPad, and Mac when needed.

When she isn’t writing about Apple, Christine can often be found at Disneyland in Anaheim, California, as she is a passholder and obsessed with all things Disney, especially Star Wars. Christine also enjoys coffee, food, photography, mechanical keyboards, and spending as much time with her new daughter as possible.