It's a bit of a boom time for retro gamers looking for souped up versions of the original Nintendo Entertainment System hardware. After decades spent dealing with cheap, compromise-ridden Famiclones and janky emulation-based hardware, we now have two competing lines of high quality, highly authentic, HDMI-compatible NES reproductions.
We reviewed the first of these, the Analogue NT, earlier this summer and were impressed with its case construction and its crisp, lag-free graphical output, even as we balked at the more than $500 price tag. But we're even more impressed with the RetroUSB AVS, a system that provides much better value, performance, and features in many ways.
Bad-looking case, great-looking games
Out of the box, the AVS certainly doesn't win any awards for case design. The boxy plastic trapezoid mimics the color scheme and button design of the original, boxy NES from 1985. That might be a nice nostalgic nod for some, but overall it makes the system look and feel like a cheap antique toy, especially compared to the smooth aluminum lines of the Analogue NT.