First Things First
Yes, I spent $226.64 (shipped) on what is, essentially, a Super Nintendo. It may have been cutting-edge tech in 1990. But this is 2018. You know what? I’m totally good with it.
When I pre-ordered Analogue’s Super NT back in October I wasn’t quite sure if I was doing the right thing. Analogue is a company known for their boutique gaming products (a consolized Neo-Geo MVS?) but they also have a reputation for simply producing quality stuff. I am not one to succumb to hipster bullcrap. For clarity, I do not have a vinyl record collection nor a handlebar mustache.
I do, however, have video game cartridges. Lots of ’em. Until recently, my NES and SNES collections were pretty much unplayable due to my lack of an HDMI system on which to play them properly. The NES, in particular, required mod kits and modding ability (which I lack). Other cheaper options like the Retron 5 and other similar systems out there are all based on either software emulation, (the best of which are highly inaccurate) or clunky Chinese “system-on-a-chip” designs (that are even less so). If you want to use actual carts, these have pretty much been your only options.
Under The Gray Hood
This is where the Analogue approach earns its place at the table. They use an FPGA chip which can mimic these older systems very accurately. First, the Analogue Nt and Nt Mini did it for the original NES, although with a hefty price tag: $450. Now, they’ve done it for the Super Nintendo/Super Famicom with the Analogue Super Nt at a much more reasonable $180 (plus an absurd shipping fee). You will also need controllers as they are not included, but if you have carts then you likely have them already.
It finally arrived last night and I dug in. Was it worth it? My God, yes.
I started with some of the SNES launch titles. I’ve logged lots of hours with them and I would know right away if something wasn’t quite right. They all passed the test. Super Mario World, Pilotwings, and then, F-Zero. Beyond that, it ran every weird thing I threw at it, including Japanese carts (Zenki Battle Raiden) and games with special co-processors (Starfox, Stunt Race FX).
Plus, everything looked great right out of the box. Yes, if you choose, you can dive into a ton of display options to get everything just the way you want it (scanlines, filters, etc) but it’s totally optional.
I’d recommend the Super Nt to anyone with a big cart collection (or even an EverDrive) who wants to play on a modern TV. In the future, there is talk of loading ROM files from the SD slot with future firmware and even additional system cores (Sega Genesis? Turbografx-16?? Yes, please), but even if this is all it does, I’m happy.
In the end, as someone who started down the “original hardware” path of expensive SCART cables and a Framemeister, this is functionally better. Way better. No comparison.
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