Review: LEGO’s NES delivers a unique collectible packed with Nintendo charm

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LEGO NES

LEGO and Nintendo teaming up has been one of the most highly-anticipated collaborations in the history of the brand. After releasing its first lineup of kits at the beginning of the month, we’re now taking a look at the new LEGO NES to see if it truly delivers on the hype. Be sure to head below the fold for a closer look at the new creation and to see how this unique collector’s set stacks up.

Hands-on with the new LEGO NES

LEGO’s new NES kit enters with 2,646 pieces to assemble the console itself alongside a controller, Super Mario Bros cartridge, and retro TV to go with it. Two included instruction booklets have you craft all of the Nintendo aspects of the kit separately from the TV, so two builders could get in on the fun together. The manuals also include some information about the original NES, as well.

First and foremost, the LEGO NES is a display piece aimed at fans looking to build one of the most iconic aspects of retro gaming out there. The set very much leans into that with high attention to detail across everything included. Even for what’s possible for the blocky medium that is LEGO, this creation feels like it’s able to nail the overall design of the Nintendo Entertainment System alongside all of the other expected elements.

On the outside of the NES itself, you’re looking at a pretty faithful recreation overall. It isn’t exactly the same scale as the original, as LEGO opted to assemble a slightly smaller version of the NES here. Despite slimming down the size, you’ll still find all of the facets of the original including ports and an opening hatch on the front.

Those authentic details carry over to the inside of the LEGO NES as well, with arguably the coolest aspect of the build here. There’s a built-in cartridge mechanism that allows you to insert the included copy of Super Mario Bros. in just the same fashion as with the actual console. This part of the assembly employs one of more standout techniques for the set and rounds out the experience with the console.

The controller on the other hand is nearly identical in size to the actual version. Just the LEGO NES, there are plenty of printed pieces utilized here to pull off the iconography you’d expect from a gamepad, as well as a rubber tube piece that acts as the cable.

The brick-built TV steals the show

Now as cool as the NES is, the real star of the show in my book for this set is the brick-built TV. Aside from just being the most compact aspect of the kit and taking up the most bricks, it takes the entire build from a nifty piece of nostalgia to one of the most interesting LEGO sets to date. That same immaculate attention to detail from the LEGO NES itself carries over here with a retro design that fits right in with the rest of the 1980s’ vibe.

Alongside a built-in antenna on the top, volume knob, and vintage stand, this TV’s main feature is its ability to let you run through a portion of the Super Mario Bros. game. Depicting a looping section of the famous World 1-1, turning a crank on the side lets you send Mario through the 8-bit world.

Absolutely packed with interesting techniques

As one of Nintendo’s first official LEGO kits, the NES delivers plenty of new printed bricks to help recreate the vintage stylings of both the console and Mario gameplay. The Nintendo Entertainment System, controller, and TV all pack some new parts for logos and other printed icons, but the new bricks for the Super Mario Bros. recreation are easily the coolest.

From various enemies like Goomba and green shells to power-ups like the iconic mushroom and even Question Mark boxes, all of the essential details are here. Best of all, there’s a new Mario piece that perfectly recreates his original design in the game.

The way that LEGO was actually able to implement the looping backdrop for Mario to traverse is also pretty genius, with a carousel-like build that stands out from pretty much every other kit on the market. It uses tread elements with the actual tile bricks attached and really does the 8-bit stylings of the game justice.

LEGO NES Value 

LEGO’s NES is clearly aimed at older fans or collectors and enters with a $229.99 price tag to match. Shelling out that cash earns you 2,646 pieces, which puts this set at less than $0.09 per brick. That’s certainly a solid value on paper for a licensed set, and the included assortment of bricks is yet another plus. That’s not to mention that the overall build absolutely delivers on the cost. Aside from just the utter display and collectibility of the LEGO NES, the features and authenticity really seal the deal.

How does it compare to the LEGO catalog?

Aside from just being a pretty solid value, the LEGO NES is about as unique of a set as you can come by. There are few gaming-oriented kits in the LEGO catalog to begin, let alone collaborations with Nintendo. And right now, all of the other sets are geared towards a younger audience with the Super Mario themeEven without looking at the price, if you’re considering the NES for its nostalgic vibes, then there’s nothing to recommend in place. It stands unparalleled as one of the coolest collector’s items for Nintendo fans, brick-built or otherwise. 

Final thoughts 

Hands down, the NES is easily one of the coolest sets LEGO has ever produced. Its attention to detail is unparalleled, especially in the ability to accurately depict the iconic design of the NES. Outside of the Star Wars universe, there haven’t been all that many adult-themed sets that cater to collectors quite like the NES does. That’s amplified even more by the fact that this is really the only Nintendo build aimed at being put on display, rather solely on the play features. 

So at the end of the day, it’s an absolute must for Nintendo fans in my book. I wouldn’t even consider myself the biggest fanatic of the old-school Nintendo scene, and I absolutely adored just how unique this build really is. The set is worth it alone for the TV and the Super Mario Bros. recreation, everything else is just icing on the cake. So while you may come for the retro vibes of the NES reliving the glory days, you’ll stay for the complex building experience and overall novelty that LEGO has crafted here. 

Buy the LEGO NES right here

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