Which minis do you have and what's your use case for them?

Wondering how people are feeling about these “mini” systems now that there are so many. I bought the SNES mini to see how they would package Starfox 2 in 2018 or whenever it was, and that was kind of interesting. But I never actually opened the thing because I have a SNES flash cart, and I don't play these games on modern TVs, so like… what do I really need it for?

I am assuming most people's uses cases are somewhere between one or more of these answers:

  • - don't have the original system
  • - don't have a CRT/want to play via HDMI
  • - like how it looks

  • I'm running out of space, so I managed to resist the genesis and pc engine minis. I have a neo geo mini because it's cute and can go on a shelf? But I kind of assumed it'd be portable and have a battery! It sure does not.

    I am also curious to know how they got a 4:3 screen in 2020 - it doesn't look like they got a 16:9 screen and masked it?

    Anyway, curious about folks' use cases for these minis, and which ones you have. Hopefully this poll lets you vote for multiple things!!

    I was mostly apathetic when the NES and SNES Minis were releases. There’s such a multitude of ways to play most of these systems via emulation that even putting them in a cute box wasn’t enough to sway my interest (sorry Starfox 2). Plus all the initial preorder drama with those first two was enough to curb any potential interest I might have had.

    I did break down and get the Playstation Mini when it was being sold for $20 because I heard they were trivially easy to hack, and it was. I played around with it for a few days and then shelved it.

    I admired all the love and craft being put into the Mega Drive Mini, stuff like the hidecade Darius port, deeper cuts like Slap Fight MD, all the interviews with M2 really detailing the work put into it, which games they ultimately decided on, which they had to leave on the shelf, etc. Nonetheless, I waited until it was on sale before getting one. Played it for about a week then put it back on the shelf.

    Neo Geo Mini. Also initially resisted and only bought it on a deep discount, but it is absurdly cute. And probably the least practical way to play Neo Geo games considering how many options there are.

    PC Engine Mini - same story as the Mega Drive Mini, I admired so much of the care being put into it, revamped versions of the PCE Gradius and Fantasy Zone, things like having the Twinbee and Force Gear games from Tokimeki immediately accessible. And it’s cute.

    I’ve adjusted to playing old games on modern displays since my CRTs were lost in storage, but a common factor with these mini consoles is that the emulation itself leaves a lot to be desired. I’m still overall not totally sold on the idea of having mini consoles over just simply making these games available on modern platforms and storefronts, but I’ve obviously since broken down several times and bought a few of these things.

    I have NES, SNES, Genesis, and multiple PS1s. Plan on getting the TG16. I own all the real versions.

    The controllers that I can use with other systems is a nice draw. As is the easy HDMi. Hacking them and curating a romset was fun. I dunno, they're a fun toy to futz about with or bring over to someone's house for goofing around. The PS1 classic hacked and running retro arch is a very nice tiny device to put CPS2 and Konami brawlers or like Metal Slug on in terms of hang out gaming. Oh the set, that its the one I have used the most.

    Lastly, save states being included has definitely let me get through some games I would have never bothered to finish on cartridge (Aladdin for Genesis).

    Surprised the NES isn‘t one of the choices! Wasn’t that the first?

    Anyway I have the NES only because my brother-in-law bought it for us as a present. I then learned you can load whatever NES games you want on it, and I've gotten a good amount of use out of it. Just today I played thru Street Fighter 2010 :)

    I've resisted the urge to get other ones a number of times because I'm also running out of space and HDMI ports, but if I WERE going to buy one, here are the main reasons:

    -The three bullet points you mentioned (I have a CRT but sometimes I wanna play in my living room where the HDTV is)
    -Middling interest in a given console and its library. I'm a big collector of Genesis/MD, Saturn, and PS2, but as I've gotten older the thought of adding a new console to my collection is more daunting than exciting. Neo Geo and PC Engine are interesting to me but I doubt I'll ever own them, so they're strong candidates for a mini thingy, but alas...I'm out of HDMI ports, haha.

    I legitimately forgot about the NES mini!!! Oops.

    I got a pretty good HDMI splitter if you want to turn one into four: https://tinyurl.com/yc7e7ns5

    I don’t think the poll allows for multiple choices? I have…


  • * The Nintendo Classic Mini Famicom
  • * The Nintendo Classic Mini NES (euro)
  • * The Nintendo Classic Mini Famicom Jump
  • * The Nintendo Classic Mini Super Famicom
  • * The Nintendo Classic Mini Super Nintendo
  • * The Nintendo Classic Mini Super NES
  • * The PlayStation Classic (Japanese version)
  • * The Mega Drive Mini (Japanese version)
  • * The PC Engine Mini (white version)
  • So I believe I have only skipped the Neo Geo. I am a sucker for these. I like the form factor and social element; I brought almost all of them to work at some point and it has led to some cool team bonding moments. And the limited official library helps focus the conversation as pretty much everyone plays the same 20+ games around the time the consoles launch.

    The condensed software selection also helpfully kicked my butt into playing or replaying classics that I probably would have shelved forever in my backlog even though I might own multiple physical and digital copies of them already.

    I’d say the best one is the PC Engine followed by the Super Famicom (any regional variant) followed by the Asian version of the Mega Drive Mini (sadly I had pre-ordered the JP version before its announcement). The only true stinker was the PS Classic. I am not even sure why I got it... I probably pre-ordered it very early, before we knew the full line-up, back when it looked impossible they’d screw up the emulator and soft selection.

    The most _interesting_ one, though, is the Jump version. What a weird mini console, weird context of release and weird line-up, full of odd and often terrible but somehow influential games.

    [upl-image-preview url=//i.imgur.com/2Bpbk4l.jpg]

    I have a SNES classic, we were a Genesis family and I never got to play most of them. It‘s absolutely true you can emulate them on any old hardware but I wanted one for the controller and relative ease of use. This was before I got my Xbox with every emulator and romset ever, however the Dpad on the Snes Classic is miles ahead of the xbox one. I think it’s neat.

    I also have a WeGame handheld Genesis which has awful sound emulation but you can stick any old SD card in the top and load whatever you want, plus it has 50 or so multikart style games on it that are really bizarre and terrible. It also has AV out so I can possible stream this stuff through my capture card setup. I bought it for maybe $15 at a thanksgiving day sale at some bargain department store forever ago. It's really great and also terrible
    [upl-image-preview url=//i.imgur.com/MAkmuVE.png]

    As bad as the D pad is on the xbox I think the Genesis handheld is worse. It was a great way to replay Sonic 2 before going to sleep too. Really just a lot of highs and lows. a land of contrasts.

    So I I have the Genesis Mini and the PS1 Mini and neither one of them has even come close to being plugged in. The PS1 is out of the box at least. The Genesis? It just happened to come out around the same time I got a Mega Sg and a MegaSD. Whoops.

    It's not all bad though! I did get the SNES Mini when it came out, and yes, I got caught up in the drama where they sold their preorder stock off their Treasure Trucks and delayed existing orders for about a month. When the unit showed up I thought it was worth it- the game selection was really great off the bat and the controllers felt perfect to me. I modded it anyway.

    The biggest surprise out of all these for me is the Neo Geo Mini, which I got on sale for $30 not very long ago, and while I agree with downchasm that it's wildly impractical compared to other options, I'm swayed by its charm. Cute little cabinet, cute little marquee, small but functional controls. So charmed that I bought a controller for it, which I like very much despite the lack of microswitches. Then I ordered an HDMI mini to regular HDMI adapter. And another controller.

    Despite my neglect for roughly half of these little things that I do own, I plan to get one of the PC Engine or TG16 ones, but I don't really know which one yet. I love the PCE's design and the real one is one of my favorite consoles I own in terms of looks, but the TG16 is much more nostalgic to me, because that's where I played Ninja Spirit and Dragon Spirit and a few other games that didn't have spirit in the name when I was younger.

    I don't have the original consoles (anymore) nor a CRT so this is close enough for me across the board.

    The most important thing to me is having as close a replica of the original controllers as possible but they're also fun to hack and I'm sucker for the jangling keys of M2's menu design and background music. They're very warm and cozy.

    I have a NES and SNES mini. Got them both for retail price or less after the initial nonsense died down. Haven‘t taken them out of the boxes yet tbh. Bought due to good selection of games that I either don’t / haven't owned (NES mainly) or some RPGs I never played in English due to being a Super Famicom owner.

    Would like a MD mini (Asia) but haven't bothered re: still not used the Nintendo's. I have most of the games anyway and really just wanted it for Teddy Boy Blues and to see what the Darius port was like. If I could walk into a shop that sold them I'd probably impulse buy one but as import shops are long dead around here I'm fine with letting it slide, same with the PCE

    I own a NEO GEO MINI and a MEGA DRIVE MINI.

    Growing up, Fatal Fury was one of my favorite franchises, but I never owned a NEO GEO home console.

    I was only able to play those games in the arcades, and/or with the occasional port to Genesis, Saturn, DC. Having such easy access to all of those 2D fighters in one spot was my main draw. It’s so convenient to bounce between the various SNK fighters to compare and/or just have fun.

    I got the MEGA DRIVE MINI as a gift. My wife and I use it for co-op play with titles like Contra Hard Corps and Gunstar Heroes. I had a Genesis as a kid, but it stopped working long ago.

    For me, both of those minis are totally worth it. They are relatively cheap and make playing old games much easier access and quicker than owning/loading them on the other big consoles.

    In order of purchase, I got the:

    SNES Mini (US)

    Mega Drive Mini (JP)

    PC Enigine Mini (JP)

    Still have my original SNES at my parents, and I typically do most of my emulation either through the PC hooked up to the TV, or a raspberry pi setup hooked up to CRT's, but I got the SNES mini because it was a cool way to get a never officially released version of Star Fox 2, and I liked the menu music and how cute the small form factor was.

    I love Sega, and the Mega Drive will pretty much always be my #1 favorite piece of hardware of all time. I own a model 1 Genesis, which, like the SNES, is still at my parent's place. This one had some rare/unusual titles on it, though, and I never owned the cooler looking Mega Drive (I like the color combos more, and the box is rad). Anything M2 is involved in I feel compelled to support, as well. The UI is fun, and the music is cool, and the silly attention to detail on the hardware is still the best out of all of them.

    Never owned a PC Engine/TG16, and have only experienced it through emulation. They're still at pretty ok prices when I spot them on my trips to used games shops, and I'm still thinking of grabbing some real hardware at some point, but just like the Mega Drive mini, I was drawn in by the very obvious love and attention to detail that was put into specifically the software for it. More M2, fantastic menus and music, the ability to swap between all of the menus despite the hardware, and it's a really solid introduction to the system.

    Over all, it's a novelty/toy collector thing for me. I love how they look, the USB game pads feel great, and the software presentation is really cool. It can be fun to have something "just work" with a nice presentation, even if I have a pi, or a PC that can practically play any previous generation system. I'm also more into the idea of getting one if "M2," or, "rare/never officially released," are mentioned for a game that's included.

    Edit: One additional thought is how much better the MD and PCE feel over Nintendo's entries. I love that the MD Mini actually gives you a brief description/release date when selecting a game (and even arrange the games by the spine of the box), and was surprised to not see that on the PCE. PCE makes up for it, though, by also having PCE CD games available to play, and little PC engines dancing around the menu the whole time.

    I‘ve only got the SNES mini (PAL territory version) . Never owned a SNES so thought this would do the job. Played it a bit at first til I realized why I don’t play games on tv anymore. It just doesn‘t fit into my schedule. Portable games and PC always fit better with my commute and with two young kids.

    Will hang onto it for when the kids are a bit older. Will be good for them as they can just play it without much setup.

    I thought about building a Raspberry Pi or even one of those MiSTer fpga things a while ago, but I just don’t think I'd use it.

    I bought a NES mini for the controllers, but actually found myself using it, so then I bought a SNES mini too.

    I also bought a PS1 mini when they went cheap.

    I have since stopped using them.

    I probably won't buy any more minis, but never say never.

    I‘ve picked up the SNES, NES, and Genesis consoles in that order and I’ve modded all of them to put additional ROMs on them. I have them hiding in the cabinet under the TV and swap them out into the power/HDMI cables based on what I want to play.

    I really like them. I have picked up several of the Capcom retro collections (thanks Frank) on PS4, but for everything else, I have these. They are a better UX than playing something on my PC - especially since I can sit on a couch vs. the office that I spend my entire COVID-quarantine days in.

    It's also been fun watching my elementary-aged kids play some of these games and fall in love with ones I never would have expected. They love Ice Climbers. I... guess am a bad parent.

    Interesting to read everyone‘s reasons! (also interesting to realize you can’t do a multi-selection poll, oops.) It's also been nice to see that pretty much none of these have had sub-par controllers according to the common thinking, which would be a big concern for me.

    I think for me, the main draw would be the games I can't afford like Alien Soldier on the MD (I solved this by buying a rom cart), the "original" or ported games (technically the rom cart solves this eventually), and the cool/cute menus. I feel a bit weird about not experiencing those especially as someone who does work on retro game collections from time to time. I can watch videos, but it's not quite the same! Save states are nice to have in platforms like these as well, something that's a bit tougher on rom carts. It's odd that I feel guilt about not owning these, but I know it's the right decision for my particular setup!

    But it's cool to see that there are so many good use cases for it amid the "bought it and never used it" stories. I particularly like the idea of the social element, bringing it to someone'e place and going through games together.

    Late to the party, but similar to others, I picked up the PS1 mini for the ease of hacking and my partner‘s love of FFIX. That, plus the really low price point, made it a fantastic purchase.

    My time to play games these days is painfully limited, so I’ve specifically put off buying any of the others - a lot of them are brilliant systems, and I feel like I should pick up the Genesis mini every time I see it on sale, but between my everdrive for the Genesis (even if I got it mostly for coding) and a robust emulation library (along with a wide variety of usb controllers), I just can‘t justify it.

    I do love to see those minis doing well, though! Excellent classic collections like this will hopefully encourage more of the same, and it’ll be possible for more folks to enjoy the titles I‘ve played and loved. Still waiting on a Saturn mini (it’s a pretty hard pitch to convince people to play NiGHTS or Fighters Megamix these days if they don't already have a Saturn and the games).

    Saturn mini would be a super cool but also rather tough one! I feel like we might see a Dreamcast mini first…

    Yeah, Dreamcast certainly seems more likely/doable from an emulation standpoint, and it definitely has a stronger place in the public consciousness. Looking at you, Steam Dreamcast Collection that includes HD NiGHTS.

    I’d be pleasantly surprised if a Saturn or Dreamcast mini were announced, but I’m not getting my hopes up. Chances are it’d need significantly more powerful hardware than the Genesis Mini to make it a commercial product, thus likely pushing it well past the $100 mark. That, coupled with the relatively niche status of those two systems compared to the MD makes it a lot dicier of a prospect.

    This is a case where the Playstation Classic possibly serves as a cautionary tale. I don’t know all the economics that went into building and designing these minis, but the PS Classic shipped with notably more powerful hardware than most of the other mini consoles on the market, so it’s reasonable to assume producing them cost more than the others. It was also being sold for 20% of it’s original asking price just months after launch. Great for people like me who bought one just to immediately hack and use as a general purpose emulation box, but a pretty huge failure as a product.

    I think Saturn and Dreamcast games are probably better off being emulated and made available on modern platforms and storefronts, where powerful hardware for emulation is more of a given. Maybe that idea isn’t as cute as a mini Saturn, but I don’t think something like a Saturn Mini would be a fun-priced impulse purchase if it did happen.