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Ask Engadget: Should I buy a retro gaming console?

Is nostalgia a good enough reason to take the plunge?
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The support shared among readers in the comments section is one of the things we love most about the Engadget community. Over the years, we've known you to offer sage advice on everything from Chromecasts and cameras to drones and smartphones. In fact, our community's knowledge and insights are a reason why many of you participate in the comments.

We truly value the time and detail you all spend in responding to questions from your fellow tech-obsessed commenters, which is why we've decided to bring back the much-missed "Ask Engadget" column. This week's question comes to us from a reader curious about the new series of retro consoles. Weigh in with your advice in the comments -- and feel free to send your own questions along to ask@engadget.com!

Are any of the retro consoles out now worth the money or am I better off with an emulator? And how sturdy are these throwback machines anyway?


Jessica Conditt

Jessica Conditt
Senior Editor

These new mini, retro consoles are adorable, and that's the best thing they have going for them. When it comes to actual function, the NES Classic, Super NES Classic and PlayStation Classic don't offer tangible benefits over an emulator, aside from providing a storage unit for your favorite old games.

Anecdotally, too, the NES Classic -- which has been on the market the longest -- doesn't hold up consistently on the hardware side, refusing to boot up for some players after a year or so of use (i.e., sitting unplugged on a shelf in your entertainment system).

That said, the NES Classic is probably your best bet out of all the mini consoles, if only because it's the cheapest. The NES Classic costs $60, the SNES Classic is $80 and the PlayStation Classic is $100. Contrary to most other tech toys that we cover on Engadget, the fact that these systems might crap out over time isn't a core issue in deciding which one to buy. The real joy of these machines lies in their nostalgia factor and shrunk-down design. Did we mention how absolutely adorable they are? Because they are. Absolutely. Adorable.

Think of the Classic consoles as heartwarming decorations that also happen to play a handful of games you loved as a kid. That way, it won't feel like a waste of $60 to $100 when they end up collecting dust in your living room. Adorable dust, that is.

Check out the full list of selections in our 2018 Holiday Gift Guide here!

All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.
A writer and editor based out of San Francisco, Amber has worked for The Wirecutter, PCWorld, MaximumPC and TechHive. Her work has also appeared on InfoWorld, MacWorld, Details, Apartment Therapy and Broke-Ass Stuart. In her spare time, she takes too many pictures of her cats, watches too much CSI and obsesses over her bullet journal.
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