Analogue is the maker of high-end retro gaming consoles. Its original Nt and last year’s Nt Mini are about as premium as gaming consoles come: solid aluminum consoles that, when paired with old-school NES game cartridges, upscale them to look and sound great on your new HD TV. The Analogue Super Nt — available today — is similar to the company’s previous consoles, save for two big differences: 1) it plays newer SNES and Super Famicom cartridges and 2) it’s not nearly as expensive as the Nt Mini ($449) was at launch.
The Analogue Super Nt comes in at a palatable $190. The reason for that lower price? Instead of the aluminum body of its predecessors, the Super Nt opts for a plastic body. Another upside, unlike Nintendo’s SNES Classic which can only play 21 games, the Super Nt can play thousands of SNES games. If you have the cartridges, and they work, this console will play them.
The Analogue Super Nt is currently in its second round of pre-orders. You can expect all of those orders to ship on March 1. The first round of pre-orders have been shipped in the last few days.
The Good: The Analogue Super Nt allows you to relive the classic gaming experience of your youth — you can even blow into the game cartridges if you want. The upscaled graphics and sound are definitely better than what you’d find with the SNES Classic. The console is simple to set up and the games play flawlessly in high fidelity — zero lag or weird bugs. You can also buy the console in four different colors (black, classic, SF and transparent), all of which look pretty cool.
Who It’s For: Those who already have a collection of classic SNES games or are willing to buy them. Almost as importantly, they should want a prettier console than the SNES Classic that can also play more games with better graphics and sound.
What To Watch Out For: No controllers are included with the console — Analogue suggests purchasing 8Bitdo’s retro SN30 controller ($25). No games are pre-installed on the console, either, so you’ll need to already have your own game cartridges or be prepared to buy them (popular games like Super Mario World, Donkey Kong Country, Super Mario Kart and Star Fox can be found online going for between $10 and $40). At the time of publishing this article, pre-orders are closed for all Analogue Super Nt consoles, meaning we’re anticipating that it’s going to be tough to get your hands on one.
Alternatives: There are numerous emulators you can use to play the same games on your PC, but they’re often plagued with bugs and latency issues. They definitely won’t look as good as the hi-fi gaming of the Super Nt. As far as consoles, the obvious alternative would be the SNES Classic ($80). It’s cheaper and comes with 21 games already built into the console. It should be noted that the cartridge slots on the SNES Classic are just for show and cannot play separate cartridges. It also won’t play games in as high fidelity. Both consoles are pretty rare, however, so you should probably expect to pay over the odds for both.
Compared to the SNES Classic: I also own an SNES Classic — I bought it for $120 on eBay, plus a $25 wireless controller, because I couldn’t get it anywhere for less — and the two gaming experiences aren’t night and day. The graphics and sound on the Super Nt are noticeably better, for sure, but there’s only so much a console can improve a 16-bit game. If you have your own game cartridges, the difference in overall price between the SNES Classic and the Super Nt isn’t too substantial. (You’re going to want a separate wireless controller with either console, for instance.) And as far as games, of the 21 games on the SNES Classic, the only one the Super Nt can’t play is the unreleased Star Fox 2. The Super Nt, on the other hand, can play any number of thousands of titles — there’s really no comparison if you’re committed to playing the console a lot.
Pro Tip: If you used to play a lot of GameBoy, Game Boy Pocket or GameBoy Color, get the Adapter Cartridge ($12). It’ll play any of those games on your TV. (Some GameBoy Color games aren’t compatible.)
Verdict: The Analogue Super Nt is the coolest retro gaming console I’ve ever tested, and that probably says just as much about me as it does about the console. I grew up in the 90s playing the original Super Nintendo, obsessing over games like Yoshi’s Island and the Donkey Kong Country trilogy. I also played a lot of Game Boy Color, and, with the Adapter Cartridge ($12), I was able to play games like Pokemon Blue and Pokemon Silver versions on my 55-inch TV. It’s pretty darn incredible.
The Super Nt isn’t going to be for everybody as there are several barriers to entry, including its price, access to games and the availability of the actual console. Still, it’s the pinnacle for those who grew up playing Super Nintendo because of its graphics, performance and the sheer volume of old-school games it can play. It also feels like a premium console — especially if you get it in all black — and not a plug-and-play toy like the SNES Classic. Feel free to dedicate a space for it on top of your media console.
Compatibility: SNES cartridges, Super Famicom cartridges
Video: HDMI 1080p/720p/480p
Audio: 48KHz 16 bit