The Super Nintendo Mini is Coming, But What Does That Mean For Switch’s Virtual Console?


That was literally my reaction to hearing the news just a few minutes ago that yes, our dreams have been answered: Nintendo are releasing a mini replica of the Super Nintendo, the first console I ever owned, full of the games I cherished as a child and still do.

Following in the footsteps of last year’s famously ill-stocked NES Mini, the SNES Mini  – or Nintendo Classic Mini: Super Nintendo Entertainment System as it’s officialy known – is a compact version of the iconic SNES (at least here in Europe – the North American version is as ugly and boxy as it ever was) loaded with twenty-odd brilliant and timeless games. It’ll cost $80/£80.


But as much as I cannot wait to play Super Mario World, A Link to the Past and Donkey Kong Country again in their true form, I can’t help but wonder: what does this mean for the Nintendo Switch and virtual console?

Since the Switch’s release back in March, Nintendo has been surprisingly shtum about any sign of virtual console. We assume it’s coming – and Nintendo has confirmed that following the official launch of their paid online service next year, subscribers will get free classic games – but as for a true virtual console and eShop filled with old classics… we’re just not sure.

I mean, if these SNES games were available to play on your Switch, would you still want to buy a separate console for them?

(The answer might still be yes because the teeny tiny SNES is just so damn cute…. but that’s neither here nor there.)

I’m excited for the Super Nintendo Mini, and I’ll be rushing to pre-order one as soon as I can – but am I buying it at the cost of forgoing the ability to play these games on my Switch?

I suppose the real question is just how many units of the Super Nintendo Mini will be produced? The Mini NES was notoriously under-stocked, so lots of people who wanted the console missed out – unless they were willing to pay up to four times the RRP from eBay scalpers, that is. If the Mini SNES goes the same way, perhaps both consoles will be nothing but rare curios in Nintendo’s back catalogue in a couple of years, with a virtual console taking pride of place and allowing us to play NES and SNES games on a much more functional and valuable device.

But if Nintendo does learn from its production mistakes and actually meets demand of the Mini SNES (long shot, I know…), then this $80 box could negate the need for a Switch virtual console at all.

Hopefully not. Hopefully Nintendo will see a place for both a virtual console and a physical SNES. I know most of its fans will. Because just look how cute it is.

Pre-order the Nintendo Classic Mini: Super Nintendo Entertainment System from Amazon.