The best mini retro games consoles & handheld consoles to buy in 2019

By Aaron Potter | | 577 |

In case you hadn’t heard, nostalgia in video games is big business these days. Just when you think you’ll get to settle down to the latest triple-A blockbuster title, there’s always the temptation to dive into retro-fuelled indie releases like Shovel Knight, Axiom Verge, or Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night. On top of this, 2019 is a time that sees a whole swathe of retro mini consoles openly available to you – each one hosting some of the best game libraries found in the 8, 16 and 64-bit eras of gaming.

Throwback game consoles have always existed in some shape or form previously, but it was really with the released of the NES Classic Edition in 2016 that first-party publishers themselves decided to make them in-house. This means that rather than receiving a cheap plastic box full of shovelware, companies like PlayStation, Sega and Nintendo have taken the time, care and attention to faithfully recreate the look of their popular consoles; each one stacked with a curated collection of classic games.

Mini retro games consoles

Here we’ll break down everything you need to know about every released and upcoming retro mini console we know about thus far. If you want to relive some of the classic days of gaming, odds are that one of these will help satisfy that pixel-based thirst!

Sega Mega Drive Mini

Ideal for anyone wanting to re-experience the joys of 16-bit gaming, the Sega Mega Drive Mini acts as the latest retro mini console to hit the scene. The box successfully recreates the classic look of Sega’s most famous console, shrinking the design down to a slick, more miniaturised form that also comes packaged with two classic three-button controllers. Like many of these throwback consoles you won’t need to fumble around with excessive wires or SCART inputs; just plug it in to any modern TV setup via a standard HDMI connection.

Sega Mega drive mini console

So what games are included in the Sega Mega Drive Mini? A staggeringly generous 40 of them in total make an appearance, with some of the highlights being Sonic the Hedgehog (duh!), Altered Beast, Ecco the Dolphin, Street Fighter and Golden Axe. There’s a lot of variety in the games offered on the recreation of Sega’s classic system, meaning that everyone from fighting game fans to side-scroller veterans will likely be pleased.

The Sega Mega Drive Mini retails for a standard UK price of £69.99, but you can find the best price for it below:

PlayStation Classic

The recently released PlayStation Classic is currently the only retro mini console out there that allows players to dive back into the joys of 64-bit gaming. What this essentially means is more processing power and therefore more polygons, marking a time where players could easily step into the world of full 3D games for the very first time. The PlayStation Classic released on December 3, 2018 – the 24th anniversary since the release of the original. The PAL version comes pre-loaded with 20 games, all representing the best of the classic platform.

PlayStation classic mini console

When picking one up you’ll get a shrunken version of the original PlayStation One and an original gamepad that even lacks the analogue sticks, which came later in the console’s lifecycle. Of the 20 games you’ll be able to replay such classics as Metal Gear Solid, Tekken 3, Rayman and Final Fantasy VII – that’s hundreds of hours of gameplay awaiting anyone that wants to live their life like its 1994.

You can grab the PlayStation Classic for a relatively low price these days, with most retailers stocking the throwback console for just under £40. Check out the best current prices below:

SNES Classic

While the NES Classic may have warmed us up to the concept, it was really its follow-up, the SNES Classic, that most people couldn’t wait to get their hands on. That’s because the SNES has been continually thought of as a games console with one of the best libraries ever – so a miniaturised version that is easy to plug in and play can only be a good thing. The micro console features 21 classic 16-bit games in total, including an entirely new one never released before.

SNES Mini Console

Star Fox 2 was originally canned towards the end of its development because the release of the SNES’ successor, the Nintendo 64, was quickly looming. The SNES Classic was good cause for Nintendo to finish what they started, however, and now it appears here alongside another 20 classic games. Of those classics we’d recommend: The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, Super Mario World, Super Metroid and Street Fighter II, to name just a few.

At the time of release the SNES Classic was highly sought after. Now, though, we make it easy for you to easily grab one by gathering up the best prices currently available below:

NES Classic

The retro mini console that started it all, the NES Classic celebrates the early days of home console gaming by recreating the look and feel of Nintendo’s first entry to the market. It’s sold over 2 million units since its initial release, giving Nintendo cause to feed players’ hunger for nostalgia through a bolstered Nintendo Switch online eShop and the SNES Classic console. The NES Classic comes with the console itself as well as one controller, but you can purchase another separately.

NES Mini Console

The games featured in the NES Classic’s library is a great way to see the roots of classic Nintendo franchises like Zelda, Mario and Donkey Kong. There are 30 to check out in total, of which we’d recommend Bubble Bobble, Metroid, Kid Icarus, Ice Climbers and the always excellent Super Mario Bros. 3.

Eager to relive the days of the 80s with some 8-bit games? Here’s where you can find the best deals on the NES Classic on the internet:

Handheld consoles

For reasons good or bad, there’s not a lot of handheld consoles around these days. But that hasn’t stopped us from highlighting your couple of options. With either of these you can take your gaming career with you wherever you go, no longer limited to simply playing at home on the big screen.

Nintendo 2DS

The Nintendo 2DS represents the last bastion of handheld gaming this generation, finishing up the ever-popular DS line with an affordable device that works with both DS and 3DS games alike. This makes its catalogue of titles incredibly large and full of variety, making it perfect for all types of player. It’s on this list because, by this point, the Nintendo 2DS could easily be considered a classic console. The good news is that the price point is now incredibly low, as such.

nintendo 2ds handheld console

There are numerous Nintendo 2DS console bundles to choose from, whether you’re into Mario Kart, Tomodachi Life or Super Mario Bros. 2. Here are the best prices found on each below:

Nintendo Switch Lite

From one of the oldest Nintendo Switch consoles to the absolute newest, the Nintendo Switch Lite may not have yet hit store shelves but there’s already enough info to assume that it’ll be a future classic. The Switch Lite successfully reinterprets Nintendo’s popular hybrid console for a younger generation of players, taking out the Joy Cons’ detachability and having them built-in for a safer approach to play.

nintendo switch lite handheld console

The Lite also extends the battery life of the original Nintendo Switch model to between 3-7 hours (depending on the game), upping its use as primarily a handheld console by having it run for much longer. What’s more, there’s a slew of both modern and classic games to play on it, too. From the high-speed racing action of Mario Kart 8 Deluxe to all the inky fun primed to be had in Splatoon 2, there’s plenty on offer.

The Nintendo Switch Lite won’t officially release until September 20th, but you can still get your pre-order in ahead of time with any one of these great deals:

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