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Which is the Best Way to Experience NES Games?

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I'm sorry if someone asked this before, but I've been thinking about this quite a lot. How is the best way to play Nintendo Entertainment System games in 2017? As far as I know, these are my options:

 

  • The NES Classic is out and even though the selection of games has some of the classics, it won't please everyone. I did some research though, and a local re-seller has one for $200.
  • The Wii Virtual Console has pretty much every NES game I want to play, but I have no idea if the service is still working and of course, that console's not in high definition. What I like about playing NES games on the Wii is that I can purchase the games I want at a fair price (they are available for $5) and I'm already using this console a lot even if the image quality isn't that good on an HD TV.
  • I could always track down an NES with the games I want to play and experience them in the way they were meant to be played. This is both woefully inconvenient, not to mention expensive.
  • And there's always emulators. Personally, I try to stay away from emulators because I'm always downloading dozens of games, lose focus and end up not really playing anything.

So what do you guys think?

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Make friends with someone who has a NES. Then go over to their house to play.

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If you are leaning towards actual hardware, then:

 

1. An original NES on a consumer CRT or a professional monitor.

 

Or,

 

2. A RetroUSB AVS or Analogue NT Mini on a HD TV.

 

/endofthread

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Depending on the games you want it might actually be cheaper to purchase an NES and the games you wanted to play, rather than waste 200$ on an NES mini from a scalper (please don't purchase from those guys)

 

an alternate route would be building/buying a Rasberry Pi and build a retropie, which would allow you to emulate a number of games conveniently. It's basically like having an NES classic(mini) and allows you to play a number of different systems. It's easy to set up yourself and there are a number of different tutorials on how to DIY

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buy an original front loader, install blinking light win (massive uptick in functionality), buy a power pak or multicart.. Add dusting for original games as you find them

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Wii's Virtual Console is an emulator, but it's a good one, and the money goes to the company. Since you have it already, that's what I would do. Don't like the SD graphics? Guess what, that's how you "experience" (your word!) the NES!

 

You don't mention it, but Wii U is in HD, but the emulator is dark and washed out. Apart from being able to use the gamepad controller, it all works in Wii mode. Also 3DS Virtual Console has most of the NES Classic's library onboard, in portable form.

 

Don't get a scalper NES Classic, that's the worst option. It's still just an emulator, and you'd be rewarding dirtbags if you paid more than $60 for it.

 

RetroPie is the best option, IMHO. You don't HAVE to put the whole universe of ROMs on it, you can curate lists to whatever you like. Focus comes from within.

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  • I could always track down an NES with the games I want to play and experience them in the way they were meant to be played. This is both woefully inconvenient, not to mention expensive.

 

Get an NES and an Everdrive

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"Best" can be a very subjective term. I like this method of playing NES games the best! :D

 

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=55zoNizifz4

 

 

 

 

…In all seriousness though, I just emulate all the NES games on the original Wii via the Homebrew Channel and the FCE Ultra GX emulator. It's easy to set up, free, and the emulation is flawless as far as I can tell. The video and audio output seem identical to that a real NES when playing the Wii on a CRT TV with composite cables as well. So unless you're really into playing Zapper games I'd say emulating the NES on the Wii is a great option. If you've just gotta get your light gun action on though then I'd say your best option is probably shelling out the big $$$ for a composite modified NES-101 top loader system. If you're on a tight budget the RetroN 1 HD may be another option to consider, as it can output composite for light gun gaming on a CRT set, but you may have occasional compatibility issues with it.

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Thanks for all the replies. I should have mentioned that the store selling the NES Classic Edition isn't a scalper, but a highly reputable company that imports technology, games and other items. I know it sounds weird, but you can't really buy Nintendo stuff in my country, so you have to import their games and consoles somehow and that's why you have to pay more for them. In fact, the Nintendo Wii was double or triple its price in Wal-Mart because the company had to import the consoles themselves and increase the price to get back some of the money they spent on it. Nevertheless, if I'm going the "legitimate" route, I prefer buying games on the virtual console and know that that money goes to Nintendo instead of a large company that's charging more. I love the idea of an NES mini even with its flaws, but I don't know if I'm willing to spend that much money on something that's more of a novelty than a practical console.

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You'd be surprised how affordable NES carts are, at least in the US. They're not as crazy as everyone makes them out to be, and the prices have gone down a bit this year (I suspect it will continue to do so, too).

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Thanks for all the replies. I should have mentioned that the store selling the NES Classic Edition isn't a scalper, but a highly reputable company that imports technology, games and other items. I know it sounds weird, but you can't really buy Nintendo stuff in my country, so you have to import their games and consoles somehow and that's why you have to pay more for them. In fact, the Nintendo Wii was double or triple its price in Wal-Mart because the company had to import the consoles themselves and increase the price to get back some of the money they spent on it. Nevertheless, if I'm going the "legitimate" route, I prefer buying games on the virtual console and know that that money goes to Nintendo instead of a large company that's charging more. I love the idea of an NES mini even with its flaws, but I don't know if I'm willing to spend that much money on something that's more of a novelty than a practical console.

 

Ahh, thanks for the clarification. In that case, buying the NES games for Wii Virtual Console makes a lot of sense if they're available to you. If you bought every single one of them, it would be about $150, which is still less than your reseller's Classic Mini. You wouldn't have to get them all, of course.

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I like my toploader new, apparently there's more than one version as people tell me they don't have MVO ports, but I've never seen one without that. And NO its not a hack, unless its officially done by Nintendo before shipping them out.

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Your question is kinda loaded...the title asks one thing, your lead-in states another, and you have three options that already show your preference. No matter!...you asked for opinions, and it just so happens I LOOOOOVE giving my opinion on all things NES (go figure).

 

The BEST way to experience the NES:

 

1. Plug in the actual gamepak into your actual NES and into a CRT television. NOW YOU'RE PLAYING WITH POWER

 

That's the best way. It's the best for a bunch of different reasons, but since you asked me, I'll tell you: the above is the BEST way to play the NES.

 

Aha, but your lead in changed it up: what's the best way to play NES in 2017? Alas, I have an answer for that too:

 

1. Plug in the actual gamepak into your actual NES and into a CRT television. NOW YOU'RE PLAYING WITH POWER

 

:) I'm not even kidding. It's still the BEST way to experience and play the NES. My opinion.

 

Double aha, you brought up some interesting OPTIONS of playing NES in 2017, including some of your leanings. I'd say go with your leanings, as what makes YOU happy will be the most likely thing to make YOU happy.

 

But...if you were to ask me (and indirectly, you did), I would say that there is one method that is THE BEST WAY to play NES in 2017. Are you ready for this? Are you REALLY ready?

 

Here goes:

 

1. Plug in the actual gamepak into your actual NES and into a CRT television. NOW YOU'RE PLAYING WITH POWER

 

You'll appreciate the fact that I didn't cut and copy any of the above methods! I know I do.

 

But...and this is a big but...if your question to me what is the EASIEST way to play the NES in 2017? Well...you didn't ask that, so I'm not about to answer unasked questions simply for conversation's sake. But let's just say that you did, in fact, ask that question: what's the EASIEST way to play the NES in 2017? Well, I have an answer to that, and that answer is...

 

 

...ready?

 

 

OK:

 

1. Plug in the actual gamepak into your actual NES and into a CRT television. NOW YOU'RE PLAYING WITH POWER

 

Alright, alright, as much fun as that was to do I have to tell you my real opinion of the easiest way: probably the Wii emulation route. But...and this is a big but (because really, who doesn't like big buts?) ...it's expensive.

 

So if there was a matter of rephrasing the question, "What is the easiest, cheapest way to most effectively experience the NES in the best possible way in 2017?"

 

You know what? I have an answer for that. And here it is:

 

1. FRANK STALLONE

 

Seriously, Frank Stallone solves most problems (or is the root cause, I just don't know any more) you might have about anything. What's that? Don't know Frank Stallone? Well, then, here's he next best thing:

 

2. Get an original NES with original control pads. Get a powerpak or everdrive, and load it up with a ROM set of accurate ROMs. Plug it into a good quality CRT television. NOW YOU'RE PLAYING WITH POWER IN THE AGE OF REASON

 

Costwise, the multipack will cost you the most. But it's the only thing you'll ever need to play any game worth playing. You'll be treading immoral grounds, as you're downloading ROMs, so that may affect your choice. But it is the best way to do it today. You get the best of everything: game interface (controllers and CRT for most accurate response), game selection (the multipack) and lowest overall cost (a Wii, controllers and downloads will cost your more than an everdrive...unless you go the pirate route there too, but I have no idea how that's done. I'm not a huge fan of emulation anyway).

 

So there you have it. SURE it's already been said to get an NES and an everdrive. But did it implicitly state a CRT tv? Maybe, maybe not, I can't remember.

 

But now you know. And knowing is half the paddle.

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I agree, I think the way forward for you is pretty clear because you seem to already know what you want, and that's Wii Virtual Console. Maybe you honestly don't realize that's really what you want, but it seems obvious by reading your comments. So maybe you just need us to tell you that.

 

That said, I'm always a huge fan of playing actual cartridges on actual hardware. Something about playing emulators - *any* emulator, whether official or not - cheapens the experience for me. It just doesn't feel "substantial" somehow. I definitely do it - I have a PSP filled with thousands of games, and I've run MAME with a full romset for probably 15 years - but it's not my preferred way to play anything. If you could ask me whether I'd rather play Lunar Lander on MAME or on an actual standup machine with real vector graphics? The answer's obvious.

 

When I play emulated games, I always end up playing them for 5 minutes and then move on to something else. Something about playing the real games on the real hardware where everything's designed to go together keeps me interested. I think the ritual of taking the cartridge, putting it in the system and turning it on even has something to do with it. I've got some classic computers with SD card floppy emulators too and I always end up losing my concentration with them too, and pressing the button to reset and go to the next game. That doesn't happen when I put a real floppy in a real drive. Maybe it's literally just the minor inconvenience of having to take a physical thing out and put in another one, but it's enough to keep me playing and I end up being rewarded for that more often than not. A lot of games aren't really fun until you get into that "zone". But I never get there when playing emulators.

 

But that's just me... for you it might be different. And if it's a lot cheaper for you to get Wii games than actual cartridges, then I can understand going that route. It just wouldn't really be for me, especially if there's any cost at all. To me, emulated games are worth $0, and that's what I pay for them. If I have to pay anything at all, I'd rather just have the real thing. (Even a port is preferable, because then you can at least play spot the differences.)

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For accuracy purposes, a real NES, but screw the sadist flippers and just pop around $100 on a Everdrive and just use downloaded ROMs on a flash kit to use the real system. Second to that, find some (any) kind of emulation box, Android based -- whether that's a Retron5, Retrofreak, PI box of some sort, or any old android tablet/console style device. I'd include the NES CE but yeah jackasses will charge ya 3-4x the real price they went for so just don't bother.

 

The Wii VC is lacking, it only has so much. You're better off going with what I said above, or if you're set on using a wii, get it hacked and throw an NES emulator of your choice with a heap of roms on a little USB stick drive or USB hard drive and go that route. The old Wii server who knows how long they'll keep that shop alive as it's not part of their modern network so you could end up stuck.

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With carts you might be more apt to sitting down and digging into just one game for awhile. For me, having roms is nice but I just hop from game to game. The flip side is it would suck to paying a lot of money for a game that sucks like Chubby Cherub. Personally noticing is better than the original HW.

 

 

Really depends on what sounds like fun for you.

Edited by homerhomer

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For me my preference is using my actual front loader with the blinking light win and Hi-Def NES installed. Expensive? Sure it was, but not as much as the analog NT mini or AVS since I did the work myself. But I've never had more fun playing NES than this.

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If I had my druthers, I'd say an Everdrive on an AVS on a well-chosen HD monitor. Not perfect, but the best setup for 99% of the NES library.

 

Note that this is not my setup, 'cuz I'm poor.

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Thanks for all your opinions. Going back to my original post, I guess I was kind of biased towards playing NES on the Virtual Console and I've been thinking why. That's probably the easiest way for me because 1) I already have the console plugged in and other than the games themselves I don't have to purchase anything else 2) I can always purchase one game at a time, finish it and then buy something else which solves my stupid "focus" problem and 3) I also have access to titles from the SNES, Nintendo 64 and other platforms I completely missed back on their day. That said, I still haven't made up my mind yet and some of the alternatives you guys mentioned sound better. Which leads me to my next point...

 

Now reading all your comments, most of you agree that playing the actual games on the original hardware is probably the best way to "experience" NES games even in 2017 and the most appealing part about that is that nothing beats the real thing, there's a collecting aspect and you're likely to be attached to physical media instead of a digital file on a memory card. So out of curiosity because I have no idea about prices, how much would you pay for an NES and some of the classics (I mean titles like The Legend of Zelda, Super Mario Bros. 3, Castlevania or Super C, to name a few)?

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Going rate for an NES is a little under $50, a bit more if it's in really good shape. Most first-party games have left the $5 bin and are now fetching $25-$40 each. A lot of that will depend on what your buying competition is like in the area, so YMMV... but the days of getting a system and the 10 best games for $20 are gone.

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I wouldn't drop more than $40-50 tops on a NES, paying more is just feeding someone fishing for too much. And a system in that price better look pretty clean and well kept.

 

Games though, the titles you listed more or less fall into the $15-25 range. It's too hard to just say what to pay when you drop with ...to name a few. You probably could snag a Gradius for $10 while the original Contra could cost you anything from $25-40, and another fun one like a Mega Man (any of the 6) could range from $20-80. That's why I said get an everdrive because the sharks have put the prices in an uncomfortable level for quite a few really solid quality games because enough people just don't care and pay whatever.

 

The licensed legit NES carts can I think top out around $1000 now with a select couple games which would buy you like a dozen everdrives which is insane when you could (if you had an android device) just download a free rom, free emulator, and just use a gamepad you already have and not get screwed.

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If I had my druthers, I'd say an Everdrive on an AVS on a well-chosen HD monitor. Not perfect, but the best setup for 99% of the NES library.

 

Note that this is not my setup, 'cuz I'm poor.

If you got a credit card, you owe yourself to get one. Pay it off monthly if you have to. It's worth it!

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