I understand why people are excited for the new 30 game mini-NES console, but would they still be excited if they knew they could get the full NES, SNES, and Genesis libraries on their Wii for cheaper?

Nostalgia is all the rage these days, and what's more nostalgic than old video games? There's something about how much they did with so little back in those days, that makes rather crude looking games transcendent. It's almost like you get a little piece of your younger self back when you mash buttons through titles like Super Mario Bros and Ghosts N' Goblins.

The excitement over the new mini-NES with 30 built in games is understandable. A couple years back, I thought the only way to play classic Nintendo games was to spend way too much money on cartridges for my old console. If that were true, then waiting until November to fork over $60 bucks for a 30-game NES sounds pretty good. Then I learned about something called "softmodding," and the rest, as they say, is history.

Softmodding is a way that people modify their Nintendo Wii consoles, that allows them to ad emulators (we'll get to that in a minute). A friend of mine, who is definitely not me, named Mikey did this to his Wii. Before that, it basically sat there completely unused aside from the occasional game of Wii Bowling. Now, after softmodding, Mikey can play every single game released (and some that were unreleased) for the NES, SNES and Sega Genesis on his Wii.

The best part this process is that it's simple and cheap. You can learn how to do it on YouTube, and it only requires a computer, roughly an hour of free time, and a 4gb memory card (around $5, give or take). Yeah, the entire NES library is around 1gb in size... crazy, huh? Even if you don't have a Wii, you can pick one up for relatively cheap these days. Prices vary, but you can definitely get one for less than the $60 that the new mini NES costs. So instead of spending more and being stuck with 30 games you didn't pick (you read that correct: you can't ever get more games for the new NES mini), why not save a few bucks and turn your Wii into a retro gaming beast?

I asked Mikey, who is by no means a brilliant hacker, to show me how this is done. He pointed me in the direction of these easy to understand YouTube tutorials:

Step 1

Step 2

Mikey tells me that downloading ROMs (games for the emulators) isn't covered very well in the above videos, but assures me this can be done quite easily and is "hella Google-able."

Now, I can't speak to the legality of these processes, but Mikey (and several other people I know) have done this and it seems to be quite low-risk. As always, proceed at your own caution. The games all work great for the NES, SNES, and Genesis emulators, the N64 one -- not so much. None of the games I wanted to play worked, which was quite disappointing.

Using the Wii's classic controller works well for SNES and Genesis games, but is a little too much for the NES games. I'm actually really excited for November, because they're releasing those OG Nintendo controllers for the NES mini, which are -- you guessed it -- compatible with the Wii! It'll be cool to play the old games with the original controller again... when I'm at Mikey's house.

The only real issue Mikey has experienced is one to which  I can also attest -- settling on what game to play. There are so many options, that often times we'll just skip to a different game every 5 minutes.

Well, have fun! It may take an hour of moderate concentration, but it beats waiting until November.

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