If you’re into retro video games you have probably heard about the Analog Super NT. If not this is one of the hottest pieces of retro video game tech currently available in the marketplace. The selling point of the system is that you’re able to play Super Nintendo games in 1080p 60 frames a second with zero lag. This isn’t software emulation like the Retron 5 or other clone systems, but hardware based. There are a lot of other videos and blogs that break down the tech. Since I’m not technically suave like YouTubers or reviewers, this is a different type of review.
My first video game system I remember playing was the Super Nintendo. My parents gave it to me as a gift when I was around six years old. Considering I’m writing my own video game blog now you could say I fell in love with the system. Being able to control the characters with just a push of the button blew my mind. The color palette in some of the first games I played like Super Mario World, F-Zero, and even Super Bowling captured my attention. Over the years I have collected and played a variety of systems and video games but I keep coming back to the Super Nintendo. Memories of playing the Super Nintendo with my recently deceased father has solidified itself as being my favorite console to play and collect for. I’ve inadvertently found a way to grieve and remember the good times we used to share together. It’s weird, strange, and a bit comforting but I keep telling myself that everyone grieves differently.
Plugging in a retro video game system into my HDTV has been causing me more problems recently. Composite cables just doesn’t capture the magic I used to have for my retro consoles, especially the Super Nintendo. Colors are off, the image is blurry, and there is some lag that throws off precision gameplay. With 4K televisions becoming the norm, a 240p signal just doesn’t cut it anymore. I also do not want to have a bulky CRT TV in my living room taking up space. Thus began my quest to find out how I can get the best picture out of my systems that’s easy and cost effective.
Why aren’t there more light gun games available to purchase? I was hoping that with the Wii we would see a resurgence of the genre. Especially with all of the shovelware on the Wii, I figured old arcade ports would be a no-brainer. While the Wii did receive a couple of games from the House of the Dead series and Ghost Squad there was still a lot of untapped potential. Gone are the days of playing Time Crisis, Point Blank, and all of the other series I grew to love. I should do some more research and find out what possible with today’s technology, otherwise I’m stuck with what a random arcade has to offer.
A Better Picture Means More Money
Before the Super NT was announced I was looking at different cables and various upscaling options. I did not want to get a Retron 5 due to it being software emulation (and a sketchy way on them acquiring the software at that), poor build quality, and some games not working on the system completely. Going the route of a Framemeister, OSSC, or scart cables were too expensive (Around $500) and had some technical limitations that quite frankly I didn’t want to fiddle around with. I wanted something simple, a product that I could throw money at without having to worry too much about getting the settings exactly right. Sitting down on the couch and playing after a long day at work is what I wanted.
After spending too much time researching the issue my two options were either the HD Retrovision cables or the Super NT. A lot of these modifications are small batch productions made by enthusiasts so that means a lot of downtime and waiting between restocking. At the time of placing my order, HD Retrovision announced their restock but it was too late. I was already on the 1080p hype wagon that the Super NT had. While I won’t be playing on original hardware, the game and controller are original and the system has the same aesthetic as a Super Nintendo. At least that’s what I’ve been telling myself as I tend to be a purist in this respect.
HD Retrovision still got some of my money as I bought their Genesis cables with Saturn and PlayStation adapters. As of writing this post I’m not sure when they’ll come in, probably in a month or two. *Minor Update* The HD Retrovision cables took a little over a week from processing to delivery time. It was a nice surprise that they showed up on my door with about a day’s worth of notice. So if these retro updates keep up, I’ll have to do some rewiring and replace my composite switch with either component/HDMI switch.
A Lot of Waiting
Oh yeah there was a lot of waiting involved. From the time of my order to when I finally received it was a little over a month. Processing and packing time with a small team is understandable. The biggest problem I had with Analog was with how they handled shipping. The cheapest shipping cost was around $40 dollars as they used UPS. This wasn’t next day express priority mailing either. Shipping was literally a truck driving from California all the way to Florida. Living in the age of Amazon and other retailers I really question what type of UPS shipping add ons they were using. Checking out the cost myself using UPS’ shipping estimate I was able to bring the cost to around $24. That’s from Los Angeles to Florida with a 5 pound package. Reading online about a lot of other customers getting charged around $40 made me speculate a bit. Other companies will typically build the shipping cost into the final price of the product and offer free shipping. Or they could have shopped around for a cheaper shipping service. Either way the high shipping cost left a slightly sour taste in my mouth, especially after how long it took using ground shipping. I guess that’s just the price of a retro game collector.
Feeling Like a Kid Again
When the system finally arrived up my doorstep I was surprised and ecstatic that I did not have to provide a signature. There’s a building anticipation when you pre-order a video game online and only to receive a “We’re sorry we missed you” email. Definitely one of my top first world problems I’ve had to experience. Luckily that was not the case this time as I tore into the box. Everything was nicely packaged and padded and it came with a replica Super Turrican Director’s Cut game box. I can see where some of that additional shipping cost went.
After plugging the system in and updating the firmware, I put in the game that started it all for me, Super Mario World. A fitting start as I feel like I know this game inside and out. Overwhelming would be the best way to describe my initial reaction with the console. I was initially blown away by the clarity and sharpness of the pixels. After play a couple of levels I moved on to test the sound and what better way than F-Zero. Big Blue is my favorite off of the game’s soundtrack and it pumping through my 5.1 surround sound was like I was a kid again. In fact the whole experience was like being a kid again. After having this realization, that’s when I became overwhelmed. All of my Super Nintendo games just became playable again. Over the next week I tried various games to test the limits of this system. My Super Famicom version of Mega Man 7 worked flawlessly. The Super Game Boy worked great. Even my reproduction copy of Super Back to the Future 2 worked without a hitch. There’s a big stack of old favorites next to the system so it’s safe to say that the Analog Super NT is going to be my go to system for a long time. I highly recommend picking up the system if you already have Super Nintendo cartridges, otherwise you may want to explore other, more cost effective options.
If you’re looking for a great technical review of the Super NT I recommend watching My Life in Gaming’s breakdown of the system. They’re not afraid to dive deep into the technical aspects of the hardware while keeping the dense subject matter entertaining and informative. I also recommend that you check out their other videos as well.
Have you tried the Analog Super NT or thinking of purchasing one? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.
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