Retro Gaming Consoles | Which One Should You Buy?

Retro Gaming Consoles | Which One Should You Buy?

December 11, 2018 13 By Marvin

Who would have thought that in 2018 we would have multiple “Retro” versions of classic gaming consoles, but here we are. No matter where you are from or what age you are, you probably at one point either touched on or completely spent all of your time playing the original PlayStation 1, Super Nintendo, or Sega Genesis. I for one have very fond memories of the Sega Genesis being my introduction to gaming while still living in South Africa, when we immigrated to Australia my Dad bought us a Super Nintendo. When it comes to Retro Gaming Consoles, the emotion of how these consoles make you feel is what the manufacturers are banking on.

In today’s article, I will be going through all the more popular Retro gaming consoles to help you decide which one you should choose.

PlayStation Classic


The PlayStation 1 or PS1 was first released in 1994 and discontinued in 2006. The amazing 12-year run saw the release of now-classic gaming titles like Metal Gear Solid, Spyro the Dragon, Crash Bandicoot, Spiderman, Tony Hawk Pro Skater, Gran Turismo, and Worms. To mark the 24th anniversary of the PS1 Sony released the PlayStation Classic.

When you look at the PlayStation Classic it is instantly recognizable as a PS1 only much smaller, 45% smaller to be exact. It comes with 2 controllers in the box, built-in memory card, HDMI cable, and a micro USB cable to power it (you have to supply your own power brick). The 2 controllers it comes with are the same as the original and don’t contain any analog sticks like the original, which is fine, but one of my biggest faults is that the USB cables you get with the controls are just too short to be able to sit a reasonable distance away from the console, you can get extension cables but I feel its something PlayStation should have thought of.

Above I mentioned a few of the great PS1 games, a lot of those aren’t on this console. The console comes Pre-loaded with 21 games, out of those 21 games only Final Fantasy 7, GTA, Metal Gear Solid, Resident Evil and Tekken 3 are nostalgically great. You won’t find any HD scaling on this console and every game is in its original form, this is an issue. The games that came out on PS1 were never made with the TVs we have today in mind, when these games came out we didn’t have 1080p TVs let alone 4K. PlayStation 1s big selling point was its ability to play 3d games, on today’s TVs the Polygons and shapes on screen look downright laughable.

If you are after a bit of nostalgia, the PlayStation Classic is for you. If you hold this console to the game standards we have today you will be very disappointed but I urge you not to, take it for what it is, a nice throwback to help you relive your childhood. Worse comes to worst and you only play it a few times, it makes your a great shelf item and talking point.

Pros –

  • Comes with 2 Controllers
  • 21 Built-in Games
  • Compact design

Cons –

  • PS1 Games don’t look great on today’s TVs
  • The could have done much better with the game selection
  • Short controller cables

Games List

  1. Battle Arena Toshinden
  2. Cool Boarders 2
  3. Destruction Derby
  4. Final Fantasy VII
  5. Grand Theft Auto
  6. Intelligent Cube
  7. Jumping Flash
  8. Metal Gear Solid
  9. Mr Driller
  10. Oddworld: Abe’s Oddysee
  11. Rayman
  12. Resident Evil: Director’s Cut
  13. Revelations: Persona
  14. Ridge Racer Type 4
  15. Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo
  16. Syphon Filter
  17. Tekken 3
  18. Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six
  19. Twisted Metal
  20. Wild Arms

Super Nintendo Classic Mini

The Super Nintendo Classic Mini is Nintendos follow up to their first Retro’ed console the Nintendo Classic Mini. The original Super Nintendo had 700+ games released on the platform during its run from 1990 to 2003, of those 700+ there were a lot of standouts that to this day are still very enjoyable to play.

This retro console can pretty much fit into your palm at 5 inches long and Nintendo have meticulously recreated every detail from the original console, including fake controller connectors on the front that make it look a little cheap. You get 2 controllers in the box, HDMI cable and USB cable (you have to supply your own power brick). One of the big complaints about the Nintendo Classic Mini was that the controller cables were too short, the controller cables included with the SNES Classic Mini are longer but only slightly, it’s like Nintendo have a shortage or retro controller cable or something, there is no reason for them to be so conservative with the cable.

The best-selling games of the original SNES were, Super Mario World, Donkey Kong Country, Super Mario Kart, and Street Fighter II, you can find all these titles and more on this console, Bravo Nintendo!. The SNES Classic Mini also upscales the games to 720p and can even apply a CRT filter for that retro look. 16-Bit platformers from this era still look and function well on new TVs, especially when they have been optimized for it (Hint Hint PlayStation). Overall there are hours of enjoyment to be had from the games found on the SNES Classic.

All in all the Super Nintendo Classic Mini is an improvement over the Nintendo Classic Mini and its selection of games is top-notch. Nintendo has some more recognizable gaming titles from the past and they highlight their library well with their quality over quantity approach. Buy the Super Nintendo Classic and you will find yourself smiling every time you turn it on.

Pros –

  • Well thought out library of games
  • 720p Output

Cons –

  • Controller cables could be longer

Games List

  1. Contra III: The Alien Wars
  2. Donkey Kong Country
  3. EarthBound
  4. Final Fantasy III
  5. F-ZERO
  6. Kirby Super Star
  7. Kirby’s Dream Course
  8. The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past
  9. Mega Man X
  10. Secret of Mana
  11. Star Fox
  12. Star Fox 2
  13. Street Fighter II Turbo: Hyper Fighting
  14. Super Castlevania IV
  15. Super Ghouls ’n Ghosts
  16. Super Mario Kart
  17. Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars
  18. Super Mario World
  19. Super Metroid
  20. Super Punch-Out!!
  21. Yoshi’s Island

Sega Genesis Flashback

 The Sega Genesis Flashback is a retro console created by Taiwanese manufacturer AtGames not Sega. AtGames have created a console that has a whopping 85 games built in and a usable cartridge slot to play original Genesis games. The original Sega Genesis run was from 1988 to 1997, the best-selling game by a mile was Sonic The Hedgehog.

Much like other retro consoles, the Genesis Flashback looks like the original console, but the second you pick it up it is noticeably lighter which in my opinion makes it feel really cheap. Out of the box, you get 2 wireless controllers and there is a special on Amazon offering 2 wired controllers as well, AC Adapter and HDMI cable. The wireless controllers feel OK in hand but my one nitpick is that they don’t come with batteries and the cover on the back for the batteries is held in with a tiny screw with no included hardware to undo it. If you have original Genesis controllers lying around you can plug those straight in and they feel amazing compared to the wireless ones.

At first glance you see a massive 85 game library included right out of the box, this dwarfs anything Sony and Nintendo have offered. At second glance you notice that of those 85 games, 57 of them were actually released on the original Genesis, of those 57, 45 are legit Sega Genesis games. They clearly weren’t following the quality over quantity mantra. The 45 legit Sega Genesis games do benefit from 720p upscaling and are honestly really enjoyable to play and reminisce.

The Sega Genesis Flashback is a worthy placeholder until Sega decide to release an official Retro Console. Even with its misleading 85 games list and cheap wireless controllers the Sega Genesis Flashback still provides hours of fun and nostalgia.

Pros –

  • Can play original cartridges
  • 720p HD
  • Wireless Controllers

Cons –

  • Misleading “85 Games”
  • Cheap wireless controllers
  • AC power adapter instead of USB

Games List

  1. Alex Kidd in the Enchanted Castle
  2. Alien Storm
  3. Altered Beast
  4. Arrow Flash
  5. Bonanza Bros.
  6. Chakan: The Forever Man
  7. Columns
  8. Columns III
  9. ComixZone
  10. Crack Down
  11. DecapAttack
  12. Dr. Robotnik’sMean Bean Machine
  13. ESWAT: City Under Siege
  14. Eternal Champions
  15. Fatal Labyrinth
  16. Flicky
  17. Gain Ground
  18. Golden Axe
  19. Golden Axe II
  20. Golden Axe III
  21. Jewel Master
  22. Kid Chameleon
  23. Phantasy Star 2
  24. Phantasy Star 3
  25. Ristar
  26. Shadow Dancer: The Secret of Shinobi
  27. Shinobi III: Return of the Ninja Master
  28. Sonic & Knuckles
  29. Sonic Spinball
  30. Sonic the Hedgehog
  31. Sonic the Hedgehog II
  32. Sonic 3D Blast
  33. Sword of Varmilion
  34. The Ooze
  35. Vectorman
  36. VectormanII
  37. Mortal Kombat I
  38. Mortal Kombat II
  39. Mortal Kombat III
  40. Adventure in the Park
  41. Cross the road
  42. Jack’s Pea
  43. Jewel Magic
  44. Curling 2010
  45. Plumbing Contest
  46. Wall-Breaking
  47. Bubble Master
  48. Break a Fireline
  49. Mahjong Solitaire
  50. Warehouse Keeper
  51. Chess
  52. Memory
  53. Snake
  54. Air Hockey
  55. Spider
  56. Naval Power
  57. Mr. Balls
  58. Cannon
  59. Fight or Lose
  60. Bottle Taps Race
  61. Bomber
  62. Checker
  63. Hexagonos
  64. Whack-A-Wolf
  65. Mirror Mirror
  66. Panic Lift
  67. Black Sheep
  68. Flash Memory
  69. Brain Switch
  70. Mega Brain Switch
  71. Hidden Agenda
  72. Dominant Amber
  73. Hide and Seek
  74. Jura Formula
  75. Lost World Sudoku
  76. Meatloaf Rotation
  77. Mya Master Mind
  78. Skeleton Scale
  79. T-Rex Memory Match
  80. Yawning Triceratops


The three Retro consoles listed above all have their benefits and shortcomings, some are better than others but none of them stack up against an Xbox One or PS4. If I’m being honest, I would buy all 3 just to have them sit on a shelf in my man cave and pull them out now and again when I have friends around. The PlayStation Classic, SNES Classic Mini and Sega Genesis Flashback do enough to capture your attention and would be an awesome Christmas present or birthday present for anyone in their early to late 30s that loves gaming. I for one hope that the trend of Retro Consoles continues.