The adorably tiny, $60 NES Classic Edition is officially a collector's item at this point: Nintendo halted production as of April, and has no plans to make more in the future.
Other than going to places like eBay, where you'll pay a premium for the system, there's another strong option for buying something similar to the NES Classic Edition without actually getting it: It's called the RetroN 1 HD.
Try to ignore the dumb name for a second while you take a gander at this attractive little box:
Not bad, right? Here's the kicker: It costs just $39.99, and it can play every single NES game. Here's the deal.
Unlike the NES Classic Edition, the RetroN HD 1 is built to play every NES game ever made. You slap an NES cartridge into the opening on top, and you're off to the races.
The console works with Nintendo Entertainment System cartridges from North America (NTSC), as well as those from Europe (PAL). It's unclear if the console will play Japanese cartridges from the Famicom game console, but it seemingly cannot; we've asked Hyperkin and haven't heard back yet.
That said, compared with the 30 games included on the NES Classic Edition, the RetroN 1 HD is a major step up. Granted, you'll need the cartridges, but you should have no problem finding your favorite NES cartridges for ridiculously low prices ($2-$3 apiece for most).
BONUS PRO TIP: If you have NES cartridges that don't boot up, try cleaning the exposed part of the cartridge (the bottom part) with alcohol on a cotton swab. If the cartridge doesn't boot up after doing that, it's almost certainly broken. Do not blow on your cartridges — that does nothing (other than make them dirtier).
What do you get in the box for $40? Here's everything we know:
Hyperkin says you get three main things in the box:
-One premium classic-style controller
-One 3 ft. HD cable
-One 6 ft. micro-USB charge cable
That means that there are no games included — part of the reason that the system costs $20 less than the NES Classic Edition — so you'll need to snag some of those as well. But you probably already have a bunch of old NES cartridges sitting around collecting dust, right? Right.
Other than just playing your old NES games, the RetroN 1 HD — living up to the "HD" in its name" — actually upscales them to high-definition.
You might be wondering what "upscaling" means when we're talking about 8-bit games from 30 years ago. In the case of the RetroN 1 HD, it means you can play those games on your HD television in the correct aspect ratio (16:9) instead of having massive black bars on either side of the screen.
Because these games are so old, they are presented in a 4:3 aspect ratio — which is to say, "they weren't presented in a widescreen format." As a result, NES games can look unfortunately scrawny on a modern television. The RetroN 1 HD fixes that issue.
BONUS: There is a switch on the bottom of the RetroN 1 HD that enables you to switch between the classic aspect ratio (4:3) and the modern one (16:9), if you're into that kinda thing.