Nintendo's NES Classic Is the Perfect Road-Trip Companion
CARS.COM — Proper road-trip accessories may be a can of fix-a-flat, a cellphone mount and tasty beef jerky, but Nintendo's NES Classic Edition loaded with 30 vintage games is something I want to bring on my next drive. The bite-size gaming device has a smaller footprint than a CD case — you remember those music-playing things that used to accompany road trippers — and easily fits in a backpack or medium-sized center console.
The NES Classic is compatible in several SUVs and minivans with rear entertainment systems and only needs power from a USB port (an AC power adapter is also included) to display vintage video game goodness via an HDMI output. Rear USB and HDMI ports are increasingly common in family haulers, including our 2017 Chrysler Pacifica long-term test minivan with the optional Uconnect Theater. The Pacifica Uconnect Theater's tic-tac-toe and checkers games aren't going to keep a tweener occupied long, if at all, so "Mario," "Pac-Man," "Donkey Kong" and Samus Aran of "Metroid" can pitch in and help.
Many Hondas also come with an HDMI input for the HondaLink multimedia system. NES Classic gives HondaLink a renewed purpose, because we didn't find it very valuable on its own. Now, HondaLink can facilitate a quick game of "Tecmo Bowl" at a rest stop.
NES Classic's unreasonably short controller makes perfect sense being played in a car, but using Nintendo's time machine to kill time on the road — not while driving, of course — isn't the only reason why it's a great road-trip companion. NES Classic would be perfect for when you get to the hotel on a boring work trip, are stuck at crazy Aunt Agnes's house for a holiday or it's raining during the annual family beach vacation.
Here's the bad news: chances of buying an NES Classic ($59.99) have just been smashed with a "Donkey Kong" hammer. Nintendo recently announced it discontinued NES Classic. While it may not be a road-trip essential for everybody, NES Classic's discontinuation is unfortunate for something so portable, affordable and fun.