The best retro consoles and vintage video games

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Retrogaming is a part of the world of video games that fascinates many gamers. Nostalgia or rediscovery of great classics, we all have a good reason to treat ourselves or offer us a trip back in time with a retrogaming console…

The best retrogaming consoles and games for retrogaming

Retrogaming is a video game movement that has been going on for two decades. The term refers to video games released during the first four or five generations of game consoles, from the early 1970s to the mid-1990s. However, everyone will have their own definition of retrogaming. For some, the focus will be on the fifth generation of consoles that introduced 3D (Nintendo 64, PS1, Saturn), released around 1995. For others, 3D is still too modern to be retro.

Therefore, manufacturers have understood that they have a lot to gain by riding the wave of retrogaming instead of letting players have fun on their side in the emulator. Nintendo, PlayStation and Sega have thus launched “mini” versions of their old flagship consoles, directly integrating the most famous games. You will be able to find the emblematic titles of the 8 and 16-bit retrogaming consoles. And if you’re also interested in current game consoles, take a look at our guide to next-generation consoles.

To enjoy a beautiful Proust madeleine and rediscover the joy of playing the games of your childhood, or to share it with your own children, you’ve come to the right place…

Physical retro game consoles

There are two possibilities: buy one of the reissued consoles in a modern style, in a mini version, or buy the original, used console. Keep in mind that the mini versions, however, can also be difficult, if not impossible, to find new. In general, count at least 150 euros for a used retro-mini bought online.

In any case, you can go to physical second-hand stores (such as Easycash, Cashexpress, etc.), but also consult online classified ads (Le Bon Coin), and of course, buy second-hand online on e-commerce sites. like Fnac, Amazon or Rakuten. You will then find a jumble of NES and Super NES, Mega Drives, Game Boy, Nintendo 64, PS1… in more or less good condition. Be careful when buying.

If you fall in love with an original console, don’t forget that these old machines were connected to the television with an RCA jack. However, these ports are no longer necessarily present on our recent televisions. So consider buying an RCA to HDMI adapter.

For the retro-mini consoles that follow, the HDMI cable is standard and is consistently provided in the box.

Nintendo Classic Mini: the 8-bit retrogaming console

The Nintendo Classic Mini is the first version of an old console reissued in a small format. It was marketed from 2017 and, like almost all the mini-consoles that will follow, it is no longer sold new in the usual circuits, but only second-hand.

The NES Classic Mini faithfully reproduces its illustrious predecessor (the NES, therefore) launched in 1987 in France, and includes 30 games. There is no cartridge here, the games are installed directly. You’ll find your favorite 8-bit titles: Super Mario Bros 1, 2 and 3, Dr. Mario, Kirby’s Adventure, Castlevania, Metroid, Mega Man 2, Kid Icarus, The Legend of Zelda…

Please note that the console comes with only one controller (with a cable that is still too short…).

Super Nintendo Classic Mini: the star console of retrogaming

In 2017, Nintendo produced a revamped version of the Super NES, the Super Nintendo Classic Mini. It is aptly named as it fits in the palm of your hand. Includes 21 games, including the greatest classics: Super Mario World, Secret of Mana, Starfox, Donkey Kong Country, Zelda: A Link to the Past

You’ll have a hard time finding the new SNES Classic Mini, because it’s not in production anymore. On the other hand, you can resort to the occasion. For example, you will find many second-hand offers in Rakuten, around 150 euros -although initially it was marketed at 79 euros-. Also remember to check peer-to-peer advertising sites.

Nintendo Game & Watch: the small portable console

The return of Game and Watch Super Mario Bros // Source: Frandroid / Arnaud GELINEAU

Game & Watch are small handheld consoles released during the 80’s that contain a single game. Nintendo has reissued two versions of these consoles: one dedicated to Mario games and the other to Zelda. The version of Mario, which we were able to test when it was released in 2020, includes Super Mario Bros., Super Mario Bros: The Lost Levels et Ball in Mario version.

The Zelda version also offers three games, namely The Legend of Zelda, The Legend of Zelda II et Link’s Adventure, Link’s Awakening. In these new versions, the screen is this time in color…

PlayStation Classic: Sony’s retrogaming console

The PlayStation Classic is a miniature version of the PlayStation, first of the name. The latter, Sony’s first console, was marketed in 1995 in France. The Mini version, for its part, is offered by Sony from 2018, thus following the firm in the footsteps of its best enemy Nintendo. Includes 20 games, including Final Fantasy VII, Metal Gear Solid, GTA, Resident Evil, Rayman, Tekken 3…

Sega Mega Drive Mini : rocker at Sega

Sega has also succumbed to the retro-mini fad. The original Mega Drive (“Genesis” in North America) was released in 1990 in our country. It has long tried to outdo the SNES in the 16-bit market… without success.

The Mega Drive Mini integrates no less than 60 games, including Ecco the Dolphin, Sonic, Virtual Fighter 2, thunder force IVLike the SNES Mini, it comes with two controllers. Unfortunately, it is a victim of its own success and sells for a very high price on the used market. If not, it is possible to play some of these retro games on the PS4 Sega title Mega Drive Classics.

After the first version released in 2019, Sega returns with Mega Drive Mini 2, released in 2022.

Neo-Geo Mini: the frisson of the arcade

The Neo-Geo was a home console adapted from arcade machines, very popular in Japan. Released in 1991, it mainly offered fighting games, and it wasn’t cheap.

SNK, the historical manufacturer of Neo-Geo, has released an incredible version of this console, reproducing an arcade maid in a mini and cute version. So you’ll have a nice little 3.5-inch screen, a joystick and buttons. It is also possible to purchase controllers to plug into one of the USB-C ports. Please note that one of them will need to be reserved to power the console. A mini-HDMI port and a headphone jack are also integrated.

Good surprise, this is one of the rare reissues of old consoles that you can find new, for less than 100 euros.

Game Boy: the pocket retrogaming console

Tetris on Game Boy // Source: Unsplash – Hi, I’m Nik

If you like retro handhelds, you could definitely go for an original Game Boy (yes, we know, we’re supposed to say and gameboy…). The Game Boy, everyone knows it, and it continues to be one of the best-selling consoles in the world today, with almost 120 million units.

Some versions are very rare, especially the special editions created in association with brands. If you find a specific model, you can make the happiness of a geek from the first hour.

The basic Game Boy sells for at least 70 euros second hand, online and in stores. To find the Game Boy, Game Boy Pocket, and Game Boy Color, check out BackMarket. In the case of games, it is possible to find second-hand titles in certain stores.

And Atari?

Finally, Atari 2600 fans can turn to the very recent Atari Flashback 8 Gold, 50th Anniversary Edition, and enjoy all 130 included games.

Other media: Raspberry Pi, console subscriptions, etc.

The Online subscription on Nintendo Switch: a wide catalog of retro games from Nintendo and Sega

If you have a Nintendo Switch or a Switch Lite, then there is a very simple way to play the iconic games of the Kyoto firm.

Through your Nintendo Switch Online membership, you have access to a selection of NES, Super NES, Nintendo 64 and Mega Drive games.

However, to have access to 64 games, Game Boy Advance and Mega Drive, you will have to go for the more expensive option, through the subscription that contains the ” additional package“. The latter is offered at 39.99 euros per year instead of the 19.99 euros per year of the classic subscription.

With Nintendo Switch Online, you have access to over 100 games on the NES and Super NES alone, including:

  • doctor mario
  • child icarus
  • Mario Bros.
  • metroid
  • The three Super Mario Bros.
  • The legend of Zelda
  • donkey kong country
  • Land
  • F-ZERO
  • kirby superstar
  • pilot wings
  • star fox
  • super mario world
  • super metroid
  • The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past… and many others.

Not sure which Switch model to choose? Here we help you decide.

Emulation and Raspberry Pi

Of course, you can also install emulators on your computer or smartphone, such as Snes9x, ePSXe, Project64, RetroArch… The use of the vast majority of emulators is perfectly legal.On the other hand, flashing a game ROM, even if you own the physical version, is illegal..

Do you have a Raspberry Pi or want to buy one? This microcomputer can run all retro games without worry.

Produced by the foundation of the same name, this microcomputer is powered by an ARM chip and comes in the form of a small motherboard. Then the user must install a micro SD card, to store the operating system, most often add a box, as well as a power supply.

Unfortunately, the Raspberry Pi suffered the brunt of the Covid crisis and semiconductor shortage. For this reason, it is very difficult to find one at its normal price (between 15 and 40 euros, depending on the model). However, the foundation has announced that stock will be available again in 2023. If you want to get your hands on the Raspberry Pi 4 or Raspberry Pi Zero, for example, we recommend you wait. In the meantime, you can take advantage of the opportunity.

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raspberry pi 4

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