Nintendo’s new Classics line of plug-and-play consoles has quite a few things going for it. People get an opportunity to play an amazing array of 30 games at an affordable price. Anyone can use the system, since all you have to do is plug it into a TV or monitor’s HDMI port and power it up for an evening of fun. It’s an easy win. But, when it comes to the Famicom Mini in particular, there’s one area in which this device stands out; this is a beautifully designed product.
Both the NES Classic Edition and Famicom Mini are designed to prey on nostalgia. Each one of these little plug-and-play products resembles the original systems. They have the details and designs down pat, albeit on a smaller scale. However, the Famicom Mini goes above and beyond to offer a more intricate facade. Japan’s first Classic Edition system goes above and beyond to offer an even more improved appearance.
The basics are a great place to start. The Famicom Mini nails the most important elements of the original Famicom. It has a white base with red accents. The red cartridge slot cover is an actual, separate piece of plastic, as is the eject lever replica. These could have been painted on parts, but they aren’t. This lends a sense of authenticity.
As do the connected controllers. While the Famicom Mini doesn’t give us detachable, or even human-sized, controllers that can be used with other systems, like the NES Classic Edition, it does give us ones that perfectly mimic the original joypads. Each one has stickers to offer the right gold trim, and the second player controller even has a fake “mic” on it. These connect perfectly to the sides of the system for a more compact appearance, one which actually does keep the controllers in place during gentle transitions.
It helps maintain the illusion in a way the NES Classic Edition doesn’t. With the Famicom Mini, we have a system that is an exact miniature of the original. The NES version’s controller is the same size as the original’s, messing up the proportions. Granted, the Famicom Mini’s micro joypads can make long-term play sessions a chore. Their small size makes them rather uncomfortable, which is most evident when using the action buttons. I suppose such is the price of a near-perfect replica of the original system.
The Famicom Mini is a distinctive and lovely plug-and-play. It brings to mind the Famicom in the best ways. Not only is it a great way to enjoy some classic, Japanese games, it’s practically a piece of art. I enjoy displaying mine as much as I do using it. With this little device, Nintendo managed to nail both form and function.