Well, it’s the time for all those awesome Christmas gift guide posts to start pouring out, isn’t it? So, I thought I’d jump on the band wagon, so to speak, and do one of my own! And that’s not at all because I’m having a bit of trouble deciding which game to review right now… Not at all…
However, rather than do a “best gifts for a Dad” or something like that, I thought I’d look at some of the coolest gifts that you could buy a retro gamer! Or more specifically, someone who is just starting to collect retro games. Partially because I think it will help people with gift ideas, and partially because I’ve really only just started my collection and I am putting together a guide of things I’d want for Christmas as well… So yeah, this is a bit self-serving, but then again, we always talk about things that we would want or thing we like, right?
So, here we go! This is my Christmas gift guide for new retro game collectors.
SNES Mini Classic
We’ll start with the most obvious one, shall we? The SNES Mini Classic came out a few weeks back and flew off the shelves. If you hadn’t preordered one (I didn’t) then you almost certainly won’t have one at the moment.
The SNES Mini Classic is a modern, much smaller version of Nintendo’s awesome classic from the early 90s. It features a whole bunch of built in games, include the never-before-released Starfox 2, and supports HDMI output, so you can play all of these outstanding games on your HD TV! On top of that, there are already downloadable patches the people have created which allow you to put other games onto it as well!
Anyone starting a retro gaming collection, or anyone who loves retro games in general, is going to want one of these.
I may be a little biased here, since I am collecting for the PlayStation 2 myself, but it really is a great console to get started on! It has one of the (if not the) largest library of games available for any console! On top of that, whilst some games are really expensive (e.g Rule of Rose), you can pick most games up for anywhere between £0.75 to £20. There’re so many games available that there is literally something for everyone!
If you know someone who is just getting started, or wants to start retro game collecting, then the PS2 is a great place to begin! And if you can get your hands on the Hyaku Shiki Gundam Gold PS2, then they’ll have one of the coolest gaming consoles ever! But be aware that the Hyaku Shiki model can can only play Japanese region games.
Retro Bit Trio
Whilst there are other third party systems that can play more retro consoles, the Retro Bit Trio is probably one of the most cost effective. In short, it is 3 consoles in one; the original NES, the SNES and the Sega MegaDrive. Now, you’re probably thinking “why would I get this when you already mentioned the SNES Mini Classic?”
Good question… And the main difference between them is that the Retro Bit Trio actually lets you use the original game cartridges, rather than just ROMs (or digital versions) of the games. So, in terms of collecting, having the Retro Bit Trio means that you can collect the original games for all three of those systems! It also means that, whilst you’re collecting the games, you don’t need to spend money on the individual consoles to play them. Pretty damn cool, right?
Retro Duo Portable
Made by the same manufacturers as the Retro Bit Trio, the Retro Duo Portable can play, and I quote, most 8-bit NES games and most 16-bit SNES games. It can also play MegaDrive games if you purchase an adapter as well. But there is a significant difference between itself and the Retro Bit Trio. You see, the Retro Duo is considerably smaller and has a built-in screen!
Looking like a strange mix between the original GameBoy Advance and a PlayStation controller, the Retro Duo Portable is just that; portable. It allows you to use those wonderful original cartridges whilst out and about! So it makes for the perfect gift for a retro game collector who travels a lot.
RCA to HDMI Upscaler
The thing with retro consoles like the SNES, MegaDrive or even the PS2, is that they came out before there was HD TV. Therefore, they don’t use HDMI cables to connect to TVs, and don’t run at 720 or 1080p, like modern TVs do. They use what us called RCA; those old cables that have a set of red, yellow and white plugs on the end. Modern TVs don’t have sockets to put these in, so you simply cannot connect retro consoles to modern TVs (with the except of third party consoles like the Retro Bit Trio).
So, in order to be able to play these consoles on modern TVs, at the right resolution, you need to use an upscaler. This will convert the RCA video and audio into HDMI, allowing you to connect it to your TV. Therefore, it is highly recommended that every retro gamer has one. They range from £10 to over £100, depending on how many connections you need. For example, if you just have the one console, then a £10 upscaler will be fine. However, if you have multiple retro consoles (or are planning to), then getting the more expensive multi-channel upscalers that allow for switching between input channel is a great idea!
And That’s All Folks
If you’re looking for ideas on what to get someone for Christmas when they have just started collecting retro games, then those 5 would be my recommendations to you. I can guarantee they won’t be a poor investment! Any retro gaming fan or collector would be really happy to have any of these, so they’re a great start if you need some inspiration for gifts.
Have you already finished you Christmas shopping? Do you still have loads to do? Would you consider buying any of these? Let me know in the comments below!