We expected Nintendo to make a console announcement this year, but we didn't anticipate that it would be a reborn NES.
Nintendo's beloved, formative console will get a rebirth of sorts this November with the Nintendo Classic Mini: Nintendo Entertainment System (or NES Classic Edition in the States). It's a smaller, all-in-one box that plugs into your TV with an HDMI cable and comes bundled with 30 games built right into the hardware.
And they're classics, too, by and large: nearly any of these pixel-packed entries could be someone's favourite game, and at US$60 (about S$80) for the whole thing, it's much cheaper than buying Virtual Console games on Wii U or 3DS, or stockpiling cartridges.
Still, there are a few notable omissions that we can't help but point out. Here's the best of what's there – and the ones we wish had made the cut.
Super Mario Bros. 3
Our pick for the #2 best Mario game of all time is also easily one of the top games found on this compact NES. It's the 2D platform-action game perfected: Nintendo took the original Super Mario Bros. template, amplified the creativity and personality, and delivered a brilliant adventure through and through.
While future side-scrolling Mario entries delivered more content and further twists, few games are as iconic or memorable as Super Mario Bros. 3. If you haven't experienced it at some point in your life (or it's been a while), put this atop your to-play list.
The Legend of Zelda
Picking which NES game deserves the most admiration feels like choosing your favourite kid, but really, The Legend of Zelda is absolutely on par with Super Mario Bros. 3. The original set the template for action role-playing adventures, and kick-started one of the greatest franchises in all of gaming.
And it totally holds up. True, the 1986 original isn't as vast or flashy as the also-essential follow-up games, but there's still a sense of mystery and wonder to the world, not to mention a serious challenge. Revisit this before playing next year's Breath of the Wild, for sure.
The King of Kong might have focused on the original arcade obsession, but Donkey Kong is just as addictive on NES. As ever, as proto-Mario (Jumpman), you'll leap over barrels and fireballs while climbing ladders to confront the titular gorilla over stealing your lady love.
It's a game of skill, memorization, and tenacity as you learn the patterns, time your jumps and movements appropriately, and try to push further and further into the stack of tough stages. Donkey Kong is a prime example of how enthralling a relatively simple game can be.