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NES vs. SNES: Which Should I Buy?

Nintendo always finds a way to bring back the old classic games by releasing the revised version of their all-time hit consoles. But the NES and SNES Classic Editions have the greatest Nintendo games with value-added features. But which one is better for you?

To help you out, we are going to stack up the features of NES and SNES Classic Edition and have a closer look at each of them.

So, let’s get to it.

NES vs. SNES: Which Should I Buy?

Before we dive into our discussion about the NES and SNES comparisons and which one of them you should buy, let’s get to know a bit more about these consoles here:

What Are NES And SNES Classic Editions?

Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) is the 8-bit home console developed by Nintendo and released in 1985. After a few years, Nintendo developed an improved version of the NES console with a 16-bit display and named it the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES). This console was released in 1990 by Nintendo for Japan and Korea. Then, later on, they released it for other regions of America and Europe in the following years.

Many games that debuted on both of these consoles are still smashing hits in gaming history. Such as Super Mario World, The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, Final Fantasy, and others. These games made Nintendo hit high sales records in their early days and are still highly valued by all-time gamers.

So, Nintendo, taking advantage of this opportunity, decided to use their old-time formula – classic games with iconic characters. They developed the miniaturized version of NES and released it in 2016 as the NES Classic Edition. On getting a great response, they went for the miniaturized version of SNES in 2017 and called it the SNES Classic Edition. 

Are NES And SNES Classic Editions Different From Old Nintendo Consoles?

The NES and SNES classic editions emulate the original Nintendo home consoles of the early 1990s. However, these consoles come with prominent differences, which are:

  • Pre-installed games
  • Can’t use game cartridges (or game pak)
  • Smaller than the original NES and SNES
  • Shorter cable length controllers
  • Additional features such as changing display filters and others.

Other than that, the games on both of these consoles work really well – just like on the original consoles. So, if you are a retro gamer, then this piece of Nintendo is a must-buy for experiencing great retro games of the 1990s.

So, What About NES vs. SNES?

If we talk about NES vs. SNES, they both have the same port-style – HDMI output, USB-powered controllers, and Reset/Power buttons. They have kept the size small but given the looks of the 1990’s NES and SNES consoles.

Also, Nintendo kept two of the additional features same for both consoles, which are:

  • Support the 4 save states (or suspend points) for each game
  • 3 screen filters for the game’s display – (CRT filter, 4:3, and Pixel Perfect)

These functions enhance the gaming experience of the classic games, which are available on these consoles. However, Nintendo has put some different features to differentiate these consoles and bring unique value to their gamers. They are:

Gaming Quality

For the NES Classic Edition, Nintendo pre-installed 30 games. While the SNES Classic Edition has 21 pre-installed games with much more improved graphics. 

So, it wouldn’t be wrong to say that the NES is about quantity and SNES is more focused on the quality of the games.


NES Classic Edition includes one basic style controller with its console. Although you can get the second controller separately, it still won’t be added to the package. On the other hand, you can get two controllers inside the package of the SNES Classic Edition by paying a little extra for the second controller.

Nintendo seems to provide a complete package for multiplayer options with SNES more easily and at less cost than NES. So, SNES does attract multiplayer gamers more than the NES process and value of buying the second controller.

Additional Features

NES and SNES Classic Editions have 4 suspend/save points and 3 filters options. But, you’ll find two more added features for the SNES Classic Edition. 

That includes a 45 seconds rewind function by using the long press of the reset button for any game at any point. While the frame color changes based on the game’s landscape, giving it an extraordinary view of the game.

Buying Cost

NES Classic Edition gives you more games at less cost than the SNES. While the SNES Classic Edition has better graphics and more game enhanced options such as rewind feature and game frames. 

In other words, SNES is costlier with added options and better graphics. And the NES is cheaper with more games.

Pre-Installed Games: NES vs. SNES Classic Editions (30 vs. 21)

You can look in the following list for the NES and SNES Classic Editions pre-installed games:

NES Classic EditionSNES Classic Edition
Balloon FightBubble BobbleCastlevaniaCastlevania Ii: Simon’s QuestDonkey KongDonkey Kong Jr.Double Dragon Ii: The RevengeDr. MarioExcitebikeFinal FantasyGalagaGhosts’n GoblinsGradiusKid IcarusKirby’s AdventureMario Bros.Mega Man 2MetroidMega ManMetroidNinja GaidenPac-ManPunch-Out!! Featuring Mr. DreamStartropicsSuper CSuper Mario Bros.Super Mario Bros. 2Super Mario Bros. 3Tecmo BowlThe Legend Of ZeldaZelda Ii: The Adventure Of LinkContra III: The Alien WarsDonkey Kong CountryEarthboundFinal Fantasy VIF-ZeroKirby’s Dream CourseKirby Super StarThe Legend of Zelda: A Link to the PastMega Man XSecret of ManaStar FoxStar Fox 2Street Fighter II Turbo: Hyper FightingSuper Castlevania IVSuper Ghouls ‘n GhostsSuper Mario KartSuper Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven StarsSuper Mario WorldSuper Mario World 2: Yoshi’s IslandSuper MetroidSuper Punch-Out!!

As you can see, the NES Classic Edition is loaded with more retro games than the SNES game collection. But at the same time, SNES has got some high-quality graphics games.

Overall Specs

We hope to give you a holistic view of NES and SNES. So at a glance, the NES and SNES Classic Editions got:

SpecificationNES Classic EditionSNES Classic Edition
Release Date20162017
Built-In Gaming Library3021
Game Display Graphics8-bits16-bits
Included Controllers 1 controller (can buy the second controller separately from the package)2 controllers (can add the second controller with the package)
Controllers Cable Length2 and a half feet4 and a half feet
Multiplayer OptionYesYes
Buying CostInexpensivePricey
Console Output/Input PortsHDMI out and USB poweredHDMI out and USB powered
Added Features+ 3 screen filters+ 4 save states (each games) + 3 screen filters+ 4 save states (each games)+ 45 seconds rewind+ Frame color change

Putting all the specifications and added value of these consoles will definitely help you make the right decision of which one to buy.

So, Should I Buy An SNES Instead Of An NES?

Going through all the information about the NES and SNES Classic Editions, we can say that you can buy these consoles:

  • If you are looking for endless hours of retro games to play, then the NES is a good option for you.
  • But if you want great retro graphics, then SNES is the one you should buy. 

So, you’ll have to look into your preferences as a gamer and do an NES vs. SNES. Then, pick the one among these consoles that suits you the best.

FAQs – NES vs. SNES: Which Should I Buy?

Are you still confused about which of the two Classic Editions to buy? Here are some of the frequently asked questions about the NES and SNES that might help you:

Is SNES Classic Edition a good investment?

Since SNES is more expensive and has better graphics than the previously released consoles by Nintendo. So, it’s worth the money to buy for higher resale value. Due to the high demand for retro gaming during the pandemic, some retailers were able to sell the SNES Classic Edition at much higher rates than the original rates.

Why did Nintendo re-release the NES and SNES Classic Editions?

Nintendo had redesigned their original NES and SNES consoles into a tiny version. They developed a newer home console with some of their top classic games. The idea of this console was to bring back the iconic games of Nintendo in the modern era.

Can you still buy the NES and SNES Classic Editions?

Nintendo was unable to put up with the demand for these consoles back in 2016 and 2017. So later in 2019, the Nintendo company announced to cease the production of NES and SNES Classic Editions. That’s why these consoles are becoming rare in the gaming market.

Final Verdict

In our opinion, if we have to pick one of them, then it depends on our preferences. For instance, we’ll go for the SNES as it has better graphics than the NES. Then again, we might pick the NES for tons of games to play – 30 built-on games! 

So, more or less, we like both consoles. Because the emulated games run pretty well, and they have a great retro games collection of all times. Which one are you going to buy? Let us know in the comments below!

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