When Nintendo launched the NES Classic Edition, gamers went nuts with nostalgia. They bought the limited edition mini console at an alarming rate, making the NES Classic Edition hard to find. While the mini console is great for any nostalgia or classic game enthusiast, its slate of 30 NES games isn't the only retro gaming solution out there. Here are our favorite alternatives to the NES Classic Edition.
Build your own
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 Pi computer to build your own mini-console, complete with different controller options and thousands of games from multiple console generations. We have a handy guide to help you build it, and you'll need a couple of other items, but it all starts with the Raspberry Pi motherboard!
New console; old games
The Nintendo Switch is the newest and amazing ultra-portable full-fledged console from Nintendo, but it is also a mini NES game arcade. If you sign up for a Nintendo Online subscription on your Switch, you'll get access to a small but great library of classic NES games. The Nintendo Switch can be difficult to find right now, but keep an eye on the Nintendo site as it lets you know who is in stock online and where you can find them in a store near you.
Lite console; same old games
The Nintendo Switch Lite is a handheld-only version of the Nintendo Switch, available in several colors. Just like with the Switch, you can get the same Nintendo Online subscription to access NES games. You just won't be able to do so on your TV.
Mini retro arcade games
NEOGEO's claim to fame was dominating arcades back in the early 90s. Even though there was a home console, the NEOGEO Mini decided to keep the arcade cabinet look for that authentic retro gaming vibe. Don't worry; you can still connect the mini-cabinet to your TV via HDMI and enjoy the likes of Metal Slug, Fatal Fury, and other timeless classics. With 40 titles to choose from, the NEOGEO Mini is a great way to remember all the quarters you spent as a youth!
Retro your way
If you take anything away from this list, it should be this; it's an amazing time to be a retro gamer. With fantastic retro consoles coming out by tons of different companies, there have never been more ways to play your favorite classic games.
For the most customizable experience with both console look and feel, controller options, and game capability, the Raspberry Pi is going to be your best option. The system itself is very affordable, and how you build it up is totally up to you! If you want to play specifically NES and SNES games, the Switch or Switch Lite with Nintendo Switch Online has a big library of games to choose from.
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Alex has been working with iMore as a Freelance Gaming Writer for three years. You can also find a few articles of hers on Android Central and Windows Central. She regularly covers Nintendo Switch games and accessories as well as iOS game apps. In addition to the Nintendo Switch, you may also find her playing on the PlayStation and PC. When she doesn’t have a controller in hand she likes to spend her time with her husband, son, and dogs, exploring new places, or hiding away with a book (or comic book). A few of her favorite games include the Zelda franchise, Little Nightmares, and Animal Crossing.