Blasts from the Past: NES and Atari 2600 Live Again Feature - The Next Level

Blasts from the Past: NES and Atari 2600 Live Again

Presenting a first-hand look at two legendary platforms given a new lease of life.

Article by Ken Horowitz (Email)
June 29th 2005, 08:54PM

Retro gaming is big these days, and companies are quick to jump on the bandwagon of scouring their back catalogues for those classics of our youth. Compilations are everywhere, and games are even being packaged into convenient little plug-and-play devices that connect right to your TV. It seemed that this was about as far as things would go, but two companies have taken the whole “repackaged for a new generation” concept to the next level.

The NES: Revised, Refitted, and Reborn

Messiah Entertainment recently announced a new 8-bit console that brings back Nintendo's grey and black monster from the dead in all its glory, while adding in some of the bells and whistles modern gamers have come to enjoy and expect from a platform nowadays. Dubbed the Generation NEX, this sleek little unit is only 1.5 inches tall and can play all your favorite titles, without the annoying blinking screens that tend to afflict the standard toaster NES units. No more cart tweaking, no more blowing and ruining your game's contacts. Just pop it in and play.

Gen NEXYou're probably wondering what's so special about that, since a new $8 pin connector from eBay does the same thing. What if I told you that the Gen NEX can also play imports? All those Famicom games you never got around to buying will tempt you once again, and they can all be enjoyed on your TV, no converters needed. The unit is region free, so you can play anything from anywhere. How that applies to hacks and homebrews remains to be seen, but you can bet your bottom dollar that someone is already looking into it. Other features include both dual mono and stereo capability, 2.4 GHz wireless controllers with rumble support, and complete compatibility with all existing NES accessories.

Messiah has taken great steps to ensure that the Gen NEX will be more than just your regular plug-and-play device. My only qualm with it is the lack of S-video output (believe me, I've heard plenty over this issue) and the fact that the pack-in controller is wired. You can pick up a pair of wireless pads separately, but it would have been nice to experience it right out of the box.

Expect the Gen NEX to make a splash debut at this year's Classic Gaming Expo, August 20th & 21st, at the San Francisco Hyatt Regency. It should retail for about $60, and will later be available on Messiah's web site. I expect this to be a big seller in the retro community, and can already see the price of those top-loading NES units plummeting (it's about time). This is a big release folks, and one can only hope to see other classic systems get refitted in this fashion. Psst Sega, where's my all-in-one Genesis/Sega CD/32X unit?

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