Classic consoles offer some of the best 2D games the world has ever seen. Many people revisit these games looking for a blast of nostalgia, while others discover them after playing modern inspirations and want to experience the originals.
Either way, getting started is easy and the best way to find out if your desire is nostalgia, or a real love for the games, is starting with the cheapest solution. Here’s cheapest options that won’t require much setup:
- If you don’t own any original consoles or games, simply buy one of the “classic mini” consoles on the market. There are some good ones out there from Sega and Nintendo, plus countless others that are lacking in quality (Atari, Sony, 3rd party, etc), but will still give you the shot of nostalgia you’re looking for. Some even look great on a shelf, making it a neat purchase either way!
- If you still have your old cartridges, but NOT any working consoles simply pick up any of the cheap “toy” clones from companies like Hyperkin. They’ll get those games on your modern TV and if you still want to play those games after the nostalgia wears off, you can always upgrade*.
- Lastly, if you’re lucky enough to have your original consoles AND cartridges, you have two equally good choices:
- If your goal is to play on your current TV, simply pick up a ‘RAD2x cable‘ for your console. They’ll provide an excellent experience, are fairly priced and should you ever decide to upgrade, they have other uses. Just make sure to only buy the ones from this link and avoid the cheap knockoffs, as almost all the others out there (at this time) provide a terrible experience and aren’t worth the few dollars you’ll save: http://bit.ly/rad2xhdmi
- If you don’t mind taking up some extra space, go find any CRT. That’s right, any one at any size. If possible**, try to find one with composite (the yellow jack) or more, but using any CRT is the way these games were designed to be played. I know many serious gamers who are completely content playing on a basic CRT, just using the composite cable the console shipped. That’s a perfectly awesome solution and some people might not need anything more.
As you can see, getting started is the easy part. Retro-gaming only gets complicated if you decide to upgrade the audio and video quality of your consoles, or if you start to look into modern ways of playing these games via an HDMI TV (with original or new hardware). As with any industry, there are scams, knockoffs and tons of stuff to avoid, but RetroRGB.com and it’s corresponding podcast and videos are here to help. If you’d like to take the next step in improving the output of these consoles, continue on to the RGB Guide…but if not, that’s totally okay too. There’s no “best” way to experience these games, just the best way to fit your needs.
Founder of RetroRGB.com
*You can decide to just splurge on excellent HDMI-outputting consoles for NES, SNES and Genesis cartridges that are “pro-quality”, but they’re significantly more expensive and might not be the best first step for your average gamer.
**I don’t want to get too nerdy in the “getting started” page, but using RF (the cable that screws into a TV) in a crowded city will surely result in a lot of static on the screen, due to the thousands of wireless networks creating interference around you. If you use RF in places such as in a town or small city, you’ll most likely be fine…and in some cases, end up with a picture that’s equally as good as composite!