The Best Consoles that Play NES and SNES Games

Thanks to some devoted hobbyists, retro gamers can now play their favorite NES or SNES cartridges without even owning an original console. Companies like Hyperkin have been releasing these systems for years, providing the new generations of retro gamers with an easy and relatively inexpensive way to experience the best games of the past.

These consoles can seem expensive, but compare it to acquiring original hardware which will have region protections and are costly to repair. This new generation of retro hardware provides a cost-effective way to get your retro gaming fix without breaking the bank.

The RetroN Series

Probably one of the most popular series of retro gaming hardware out there is the RetroN series of consoles. Hyperkin has developed one of the best systems for playing all kinds of old cartridges in one beautiful little package. While the RetroN 1 is only able to play NES titles, the RetroN 2, 3, and 5 can play both NES and SNES along with a few others.

The RetroN 2 is a cheap and straightforward way to experience NES and SNES titles without an RF hookup. This awesome console plus two wired controllers retails for about $49.99 and is a fantastic deal for someone looking for an inexpensive way to experience Nintendo’s 8 and 16-bit highlights. There is also an HD version available for $74.99 that includes Super Famicom support.

The RetroN 3 is a bit of an upgrade to the RetroN 2, providing SNES, NES, and Sega Genesis support for a slightly higher price point. The design is pretty slick, allowing gamers to turn their dial to whatever console they want to play to easily switch between cartridges. This console, plus two wireless controllers, retails for about $69.99 with an HD version that supports Super Famicom and Mega Drive games as well for $84.99.

Finally, the RetroN 5 is the beefiest of the RetroN line of consoles, but is also the most expensive. The basic console supports HD while also allowing gamers to play cartridges from the Game Boy Advance, Game Boy Color, Game Boy, SNES, Super Famicom, NES, Famicom, Sega Genesis, Sega Mega Drive, and the Master System in one package. This is all accessible through a nice little GUI on bootup, which provides excellent usability. The console comes with one wireless controller and ports for any classic controller gamers could want. The RetroN 5 retails for $159.99 and is a fantastic little console for retro gaming fans of any type.

FC Twin

This console has been around for a little while, offering NES and SNES compatibility in one small package. Released in 2006, the FC Twin is a hybrid console with a slot for NES cartridges alongside a SNES slot. The console comes included with two SNES styled controllers, an A/V connector, and an AC adapter.

Since this console uses A/V rather than HDMI, it will not natively display in HD. This is an easy problem to solve though as there are plenty of A/V to HDMI converters listed on Amazon for around $20 and provide clear upscaling.

Unfortunately, some games will not work on the FC Twin due to some weird software incompatibilities. A recent build of the console has ironed out most of these issues, but a few cartridges still may not work. There is a full list of these incompatibilities on their wiki.

The FC Twin sells for about $139.99 and is available on Amazon, as well as some reselling sites like eBay. It is an awesome machine that bundles two classic consoles into one, so you will definitely be saving money buying this rather than a SNES and a NES, with all of their peripherals.

Retro Duo

Retro-Bit is another manufacturer that has been selling retro recreations for years. Their consoles have always been pretty popular among retro gaming enthusiasts as they offer an easy way to play classic games at a fair price. There have been a few iterations over the years, each offering cool upgrades and a few different ways to play.

Their first console, the Retro Duo, was your typical gaming console that had one port for NES and another port for the SNES. It was released in 2008 and praised for its ability to play titles that other recreation consoles struggled with. The Retro Duo sells for $59.99 and comes with two wired controllers, an AV/S cable, and an AC adapter. The wired controller ports are also compatible with any SNES controller.

The next version of their Retro Duo stands out among all of the other consoles on this list. Unlike many recreation consoles that only work on a TV, the Retro Duo Portable offers the same NES and SNES compatibility, but on the go. Due to the lack of a second cartridge port, you must use an adapter to play NES titles, but this adapter is pretty small and included with the console. The Retro Duo portable sells for about $169.95, but it’s a pretty good deal considering the small form-factor and eight-hour battery life.

Retro Freak

The Retro Freak Premium is the most expensive option on this list, but for good reason. This console from Japan is full of amazing features and compatibility, making it a fantastic little console for retro gamers everywhere.

The Retro Freak supports up to 11 different classic consoles such as the NES, SNES, Genesis, every GameBoy, PC Engine, and Turbografx-16 and their versions from other regions. The system doesn’t just play these games either. Players will get full control over their title with save state options just like an emulator. These save states can be saved to an SD card and loaded later as well. The SD card also serves as an easy way to load your own games on the console, expanding your library quickly.

The console also includes a controller adapter, allowing gamers to use original or recreated SNES, NES, Sega Genesis, and Turbografx-16 controllers. Finally, the Retro Freak Premium has HDMI outputs with 720p scaling built in. The Retro Freak Premium ships from Play-Asia for $289.99, but it definitely earns that high price tag.

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  • October 7, 2020
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