The palm-sized NES Classic Edition console looks a lot like the system it’s named for, with some key differences. For one, it’s a whole lot smaller. But another alteration Nintendo’s made to the modern revamp of its very first home console isn’t apparent until you actually get your hands on the system on Nov. 11: The cord on the Classic Edition controller is a whopping 5 feet shorter than that of the original.
We put the controllers, which are essentially identical in every other way, side by side to see how they measured up. The NES Classic Controller has a cable that runs approximately 30 3/8 inches long, whereas the original NES controller’s cord is 91.5 inches long — more than three times the length.
For another point of comparison, we plugged the Wii Classic Controller Pro into our tiny NES; it’s one of the other Nintendo controllers that are compatible with the hardware, along with the standard Wii Classic Controller. At 34.75 inches, the Pro’s cord is almost 4.5 inches longer than the NES Classic Controller’s cable. (For this comparison, we unfortunately didn’t have a Wii Classic Controller handy.)
That means the default controller that ships with the diminutive NES Classic is the shortest of all of Nintendo’s options. There’s a good reason for that, though, at least as far as we can tell. Unlike the hardware it mimics, the NES Classic has a reset button that lets players return to the system’s dashboard of games at any point; the function also suspends games without losing progress.
Your big, old-school NES certainly can’t do anything like that. But instead of adding an extra button to the iconic controller, Nintendo added the home button to the console itself — which means that players need to be within reach of the unit.
It’s a compromise Nintendo fans will have to make for the sake of added convenience in other areas. There are already third-party companies in the wings ready to release wireless controllers, extension cables and other accessories that are compatible with the NES Classic, including Nyko, Insignia and My Arcade. We wouldn’t be surprised if additional manufacturers came knocking with peripherals to make the light-as-a-feather device a bit more accessible for the modern user.
But the whole point of the NES Classic is that it otherwise looks like the NES we all remember ... just, y’know, a lot tinier. The original North American model of the NES measured 10 inches wide by 8 inches deep by 3.5 inches high. Nintendo is billing the NES Classic as a console that can fit in the palm of your hand, and that very well may be true: The unit measures just 5 1/8 inches wide by 4 inches deep by 1 11/16 inches high.
Browse our gallery below to see how the 2016 controller measures up to its 1985 inspiration — and good luck telling them apart in the photos.
Photos by Samit Sarkar/Polygon
- Can you tell which one is which?
- Even the screws are in the same places!
- Back to back, they’re identical.
- Yup, the cable comes out of the same spot, too.
- Now you can tell who's who! Even when it’s doubled back on itself, the original NES controller’s cable is significantly longer than the NES Classic Controller’s cord. (Taping down the cables was the easiest way to get them to stay taut.)
- The NES Classic Controller’s cable is about 30 3/8 inches long, while the original NES controller’s cord is approximately 91.5 inches long.
- Even the Wii Classic Controller Pro’s cable is almost 4.5 inches longer than that of the NES Classic Controller.
- It’s not apparent from this photo, but the plugs at the ends of the two cables are almost exactly 5 feet apart.
- The length of the cable is much more similar here.
- All right, we’ll let you in on a secret: The original NES controller’s cable is slightly thicker — by just a few millimeters — than the NES Classic Controller’s cord.