Not sure if I have reviewed this clone system on here before. But here I go again. Don’t mind going again. You might mind me going again. I don’t. Sorry for the long blog.
The Disclaimer: If you are the type of person that is a “Diehard Nintendo Purist” and need everything perfect when it comes to playing all your favorite NES games, then you need to have, and stay with, an Official Original NES console. Please stay far away from clone consoles. Now for the rest of us………..
The Preliminary: The Generation NEX is built around the Nintendo-on-a–chip technology or NOAC as it is commonly called. This is an attempt to fabricate the original NES hardware on a single computer chip. It looks like a glop on a PC board most of the time. The technology is not perfect in that it does not fully imitate the hardware perfectly. They just don’t have access to the original info on the technology for obvious reasons. Nintendo keeps that to themselves. But the NOAC is cheap to make and mass produce. Some, or many, manufacturers have taken advantage of that. Over the years there have been literally hundreds of NES clone systems built around the NOAC.
The NOAC technology not being perfect results in some, if not all, NES games playing less than perfect and there are some games that do not play at all. The main problems are, colors being off, music or sound not exactly right, some instances of garbled graphics, which could pertain to sprites or background. Making some games unplayable. There seems to be different levels of success with the NOAC. Some clones work better than others giving different results. That may depend on the manufacturer. But all share the common problems. That being the situation, there are still loads of games in the giant NES library that are not hindered by any of the problems in its playability, and enjoyment. But as I said before, if you are the type of person that stops and says, “Wait a minute that color is a shade darker!” Aiiiiiiigh!!! Or “There is a crisp sharp twang there that I don’t remember!” Hiiiuuaaugh!!! Then you need to stay with that old NES original hardware.
The First impressions: (I purchased this back around the first of 2008 and this was my first impressions. I am editing for this blog. Consider this an update.) The total design of the unit is almost a tribute to the original 8-bit NES system. It looks like a miniature version of that first big bulky gray NES console. The system itself, the outer plastic shell, is of a very nice sturdy quality build. Having purchased a few imported gaming stuff, I am impressed, no egg shell here. This particular clone is produced or was marketed, maybe both, by the now defunct Messiah Entertainment Inc. This system was originally released in 2005. Messiah claimed that their clone system was the perfect replacement of the NES and would play everything perfectly. That was met with a lot of hostility from gamers once the truth came out, it was just another clone system. Has the same problems as others. Messiah went bankrupt. Sorry.
My original interest, which drew me toward this particular system clone, is its ability to play both the NES and the Famicom games. They are both the same system, one was in Japan and the other here in the US. The main difference between the two is the pin-out that was used on the game carts. The NES used 72 pins and the Famicom used 60, making them non-interchangeable. An adapter would have to be used, for example, on the Original NES to play the Japanese games. This comes prepared for both by way of having two game cart slots, one on top for the Famicom games and one in front (like the old NES) for the NES games. You cannot have a game cart in both slots at the same time. You are warned not to. I take it that it could damage the system, which is very understandable.
The controller, that comes with the system, is a nice quality build and feels nice, responsive, handles very well, and comfortable when playing, though, for some, it is not the original. The buttons are arranged very differently. The start and select are located above the A and B buttons, odd. There is also a turbo and slow motion feature built in the area of what should be the “select” and “start” buttons. If this pad is a problem, no fear you can use all of the original NES controllers, light guns, etc. (I use the original OEM NES controller myself.) The system also has a built in wireless feature that accommodates the wireless controllers that were available, for purchase at the time, from the Messiah Entertainment Inc. You can now occasionally find them up on eBay for a “price.”
And how are the games? They are the original Nintendo game carts. Retro Gamers know what I am talking about. People that grew up with an NES know what I am talking about. What more can I say. Messiah Entertainment Inc. did have a list of compatible games on their, now non-existent, web site. Can’t find a list today around the Net. There was a claim of 97.25% compatibility. But I don’t think that has ever been confirmed by Gamers. There was a claim of over 700 NES games that they have tested and found working and playable. All of my games, that I have, play great. I have no problem with any of them. That is, as well as a clone system can play them. I have no issues with it, if you know what I mean. I still have loads of fun. The system has prompted me to look for more games to purchase. At this point flea markets, garage sales, video game store bargain bins, auction sites, become your best friend. (I have seen several stores pop up in my local just in the past few years carrying old NES games, sweet.) Also all my Famicom games play with no problems. I would still advise cleaning all of your games very good before inserting them into the NEX, especially if they have been stored away for a while. I had no problems with getting anything to boot up and run. (Except for Millipede that I purchased this past week. Just needed a good cleaning.) I have read, that some say, the game carts fit tight and are troublesome to remove. The grip is horrible, they say. But I had no problem to that extent, what so ever, even close to that type of experience. My game carts seem to fit like they do in my Daughter’s Original top loading NES. And they still feel pretty snug to this day. It also plays the multi-carts, sometimes 400-n-1, of NES games that you find all over the Net. Good way to get a good collection all in one cart, if you don’t mind not having the original item.
The Final thoughts: When Messiah Entertainment first announced the Generation NEX, they gave the impression that it was a Heaven sent replacement for the aging NES. They did not, up front, reveal that the system was built around the NOAC. I think they paid dearly for that with all the negative feedback and reviews that flooded the net in those days. If they had been more open, I think there would have been a more positive atmosphere around the NEX. And they might have still been around. You got to be honest with gamers.
It is a high quality clone system. And it is up to the individual, whether or not, they deem that it is worth the price. I would not recommend it because the originals are now cheaper. In its day, you could get cheaper clones for much less, but from what I have seen, honest thorough comparative reviews, the NEX had a better performance with the NOAC when playing NES games, in its day. I got my NEX inexpensive at the time. It has since become somewhat of a collector’s item. You can purchase the original NES that has a new 72 pin replacement for a lot less than the price of the NEX. You are then guaranteed full compatibility with all NES games. But to play Famicom games you will need a converter. Not that expensive, what, $9 USD. For me, I feel that I got what I wanted at that time and it satisfied my need. I like the very convenient size and the ability to play Famicom games without a converter. None of the games that I presently own are incompatible with the NEX. Parts of this review was written nine years ago. I am now 62 years old and still playing on the Generation NEX my NES and Famicom games. But recently I have been wanting to get me a “real” Famicom and NES console. There are a lot of games that I really don’t know how they are supposed to sound, the effects and music. Might be missing something. And there is that deep longing for a clone system which finally gets it right. The old consoles are aging. Not sure how much longer they will last. The point is, those old games are still fun. And see, when it is all said and done, it is all about that old NES gaming.