While Nintendo’s NES and SNES Mini consoles set Target checkout queues ablaze at their release, evoking nostalgia and curiosity among many, one of their biggest complaints (besides from the short controller cable lengths) was their locked nature. The libraries of games included were well curated – no argument there – but Nintendo missed out on a great opportunity to expand revenue but not granting the devices access to the internet – possibly to services like Virtual Console.

Looking aside from making money, many were disappointed about the limited list of games the consoles could play. You were bound to get bored of them… eventually. A manufacturer from China is hoping to address this problem as they’ve developed a peripheral that allows original SNES cartridges to be played through the SNES and NES Mini’s. Sporting an aesthetic that wouldn’t look out of place for any other add-on you might have plugged into a console in the early 90’s, the Classic 2 Magic simply plugs into the power port of the Mini’s and is then plugged into a power source, essentially acting as a pass-through.

Better yet, it’s region free. This means it’s compatible with all Mini’s around the world but will also play SNES cartridges from any region too. The device also sports its own USB port, meaning ‘backup’ ROM’s of games can be played. If you get a bit sick of the SNES, emulation support for a bunch of different systems is also a feature. Yes, that now means you play Vectrex games on your SNES or NES Mini. Get keen.

You might be wondering how the Classic 2 Magic works. While no disassembly of a Mini is required, it appears to mod the firmware of the Mini console – akin to something like the hakchi2 softmod that enables emulation. This adds a hardware component, and as far as I know, this is the first device that allows you to play actual cartridges on the Mini’s.

There is of course a legal grey area with using ROM’s (ahem, “backups”) but surely there isn’t anything wrong with using original cartridges. At the very most it likely breaks Nintendo’s terms of service, if that bothers you – but hey, I’m a simple video game writer, not a lawyer.

The Classic 2 Magic is set to release in September for a reasonable price of $60 (presumably in US dollars). Currently, there are suppliers set for China and Europe, with America and “rest of the world” coming soon.

Brendan Meharry Brendan Meharry (92 Posts)

Growing up while the fifth generation of consoles reigned supreme meant that Brendan missed out on much of the 80’s and early 90’s of gaming the first time around. He either lacked the cognitive ability to play them, as naturally, he was a baby - or he simply didn’t exist yet. Undeterred, Brendan started a blog called Retro Game On in 2011. This followed his exploits as he collected and played everything he could get his hands on no matter what the release date. While RGO is mainly YouTube focused these days concentrating on video reviews and historical features, the itch to do some old fashion writing never went away. More recently, Brendan has been a staff writer for the gaming website, GameCloud, mostly focusing on the indie gaming scene in his locale of Perth, Australia.