There’s nothing quite like reliving the good old days. As some of the more celebrated announcements at E3 2019 proved, plug-and-play retro consoles loaded with vintage game titles are still turning heads amid today’s sea of high-powered devices and increasingly complex games.
In late 2016 through early 2017, Nintendo whipped up a frenzy when it released the NES (Nintendo Entertainment System) Classic Mini — and alternatively the Family Computer Classic Mini in Japan — on a limited run. The revival stirred up a wave of nostalgia that even the video game powerhouse itself didn’t anticipate, leading to a second limited production run.
Nintendo appears to have struck gold, causing several other video game companies to clamor for a slice of the retro collector audience. If you belong to this crowd, here are eight retro consoles to check out if you want to revisit your childhood favorites — or if you’re a younger player looking to learn more about the history of gaming as a whole:
Sega Genesis Mini
Coming in September at US$80, the Genesis Mini is Sega’s first official retro console following a variety of devices licensed out to third-party manufacturers.
It features a massive built-in library of 42 games, including all-time faves like Sonic the Hedgehog, Earthworm Jim, and Streets of Rage 2. The console also comes with the standard — albeit huge by current standards — three-button Genesis controllers.
This one packs modern computing power in a body that takes you all the way back to the late 70s. Under the hood, you get AMD muscle to power 4K gaming, with support for HDR and 60fps frame rates.
Unsurprisingly it falls on the pricier side — the 4GB RAM configuration sells for US$250, while the 8GB RAM version goes for US$280. The controllers — a classic Atari joystick and a modern-style controller — sell separately. The Atari VCS hits retail stores in March 2020.
Konami TurboGrafx-16 Mini
In one of E3’s more unexpected announcements, Konami revealed that it will soon release its own miniature retro console. The TurboGrafx-16 Mini brings back a 1990s era console that made a bigger splash in the Japanese market (as the PC Engine).
Not much is officially made known at the time of writing, save for a set of six games announced for the North American and European release and a slightly different half-dozen for the Japanese version.
Atari’s original revival is clawing its way back to prominence as the Intellivision Amico, due out in stores in October. Like the Atari VCS, the Amico is more of a retro-styled machine built for modern digital and wireless-powered gaming and content.
In fact, its innovative controllers feature both a directional disc and a touchscreen in place of the distinctive number pad seen on the original console. The Amico is expected to sell for under US$200 with games priced from US$3 to US$8.
If you want just one console to play them all, the Polymega will be right up your alley. This machine does not really bring back a classic console from decades past, but it is designed to play the games you fell in love with, regardless of what device you played them on.
Using different modules to support both cartridge and CD-based games, the system lets you play your favorite PlayStation 1, NES, SNES, Genesis, Neo Geo, and TurboGrafx titles on just one device. Prices for this system starts at US$300 for the base machine.
Sony PlayStation Classic
For US$100 you can relive the glory days of the console that raised the bar for modern 3D gaming. The PlayStation Classic came out in December 2018 preloaded with 20 fan-favorite titles, including Final Fantasy VII, Metal Gear Solid, and Twisted Metal.
Like Nintendo’s retro mini-consoles, the games you get out of the box are all you have, but there’s no denying the merits of the good old nostalgia this icon brings.
Nintendo Super NES Classic Edition
Building on the surprise success of the NES Classic, Nintendo released the Super NES Classic in September 2017. The US$80 miniature console comes with 20 beloved games from the time just before 3D gaming became the global standard. The selection also includes the never-before-released Star Fox 2. It’s the 90s all over again — and then some!
Nintendo NES Classic Edition
The one that started it all — as far as retro consoles go, that is. Discontinued just five months since it launched in November 2016, the NES Classic saw a second run in the latter half of 2018. Packed with 30 timeless titles, this device delivers hundreds of hours of 8-bit gaming goodness — now with a collector’s item vibe to it, too.