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Does the NES Classic play cartridges?

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A common question, answered

NES Classic box Samit Sarkar / Polygon

The NES Classic will not playing existing Nintendo cartridges.

While the system looks like the original NES hardware, it only plays the 30 games that are saved in system memory. You will not be able to add any more games in the future, nor can you insert NES cartridges. It’s also significantly smaller than the original hardware, as you can see in the image below. The NES Classic is the system on top.

NES Classic Edition teardown gallery Polygon

These are the 30 games that are included in the hardware:

  • Balloon Fight
  • Bubble Bobble
  • Castlevania
  • Castlevania II: Simon's Quest
  • Donkey Kong
  • Donkey Kong Jr.
  • Double Dragon II: The Revenge
  • Dr. Mario
  • Excitebike
  • Final Fantasy
  • Galaga
  • Ghosts'n Goblins
  • Gradius
  • Ice Climber
  • Kid Icarus
  • Kirby's Adventure
  • Mario Bros.
  • Mega Man 2
  • Metroid
  • Ninja Gaiden
  • Pac-Man
  • Punch-Out!! Featuring Mr. Dream
  • StarTropics
  • Super C
  • Super Mario Bros.
  • Super Mario Bros. 2
  • Super Mario Bros. 3
  • Tecmo Bowl
  • The Legend of Zelda
  • Zelda II: The Adventure of Link

You can read our review of the NES Classic, learn more about the system in the video below, or learn more about the system in our FAQ.