Okay folks, it's time for the NEX bashing to stop. Let's review what's bad about the NES clone:
1.) They took preorders from people who believed their admittedly incredibly shady press releases, interviews, FAQ answers, and fanboy marketing.
2.) They seem to have a few pins miswired in the Famicon port. Nobody's sure yet if that means that the games won't sound right for Famicon games.
3.) They posted compatibility testing (still in progress) after starting NEX production. (That really is less than impressive.)
4.) Nobody's tested the wireless base in it yet.
Now let's hang on and step back. Assume you're an NES lover and you've managed to create wireless NES controllers that apparently work fairly well. You know there are NES clones out there for $38 shipped. You've got no Ellsworth quotient, so you'll never be able to swing creating a better NES-on-a-chip, but you'd still like to make the best NES clone out there. Nintendo, by the way, ain't giving out the design to the NES innards any time soon.
What do you do? Well, you take the most affordable NES on a chip (NOAC) out there and make the NEX, that's what. Now that we know that it's using the ever so dreadful NOAC, which strangely means something much more sinister than Ellsworth's Commodore on a chip (which apparently recreates C=64 internals pretty danged accurately), let's see what the NEX upside is...
1.) Best cartridge slot in the clone business. Very small footprint in your entertainment console.
2.) No Famicon adapter needed, provided the pins aren't a big issue.
3.) A no footprint wireless base built-in. Now I'll admit, that's bringing the price way up if you don't want to use 'em, but remember, that's what the NEX creators know how to do well. Let's pretend you want 'em. I do.
4.) Compatible with original NES controllers (not a big deal; many clones seem to have this, but this NEX slam seems to ignore this feature).
5.) Coolest looking case for an NES clone out there, bar none.
Look, I agree, people who preordered got screwed. The FAQ for the NEX allows optimistic people to believe this isn't some old, crappy (possibly even a particularly crappy) NES on a chip. Still, I'm not sure why people expected too much different. The first few Atari retro collections had trouble -- the Activision stick's emulator had collision detection issues in some games (the Imagic game(s), iirc), the Atari 10-in-1 joystick had Pong on it (are you kidding? A paddle game that really should only be played with two players that's on a one-player joystick?!), the Flashback 1.0 had freakin' 7800 controllers and was, itself, an NES on a chip rigged to emu the Atari, and did that poorly... The NEX really is toeing quality control expectations pretty well.
If you preordered, take it back. You were sold something you didn't order. If you didn't, consider the NEX. I've read nothing that tells me this isn't the highest quality NES clone (as oxymoronically as that sounds) on the market. It really is an impressive, unique, intriguing piece of hardware. As I told Matt, it's got it all: something crappy (its NOAC), something done horribly right (dual cart slots and footprint), and something completely random jacking up the price (integrated wireless base). Now that's interesting hardware. And if it plays Double Dribble, Baseball Stars, Tecmo Bowl, Blades of Steel, Duck Hunt, and Golgo, well, I'm game. And if there's an NEX 2.0, even those burned by the preorder should think about coming back.
I applaud you for writing this.
The Messiah Generation NEX is a great piece of hardware, IF you know what you are getting into.
This is the ultimate all-in-one NES look alike that the general public needed to be completely pulled into the retro gaming craze (whether that is good or not is another story).
Its a shame that it didn't live up to its implied promises, but to give these guys credit, their first try wasn't too bad. They are also currently working on fixing at least the minor problems (video shift and sound) for a re-release by end of Q1 2006. When I plan to take my money and splurge!
it may not be anything more than a another clone with built-in-wireless and a nice looking skin for nearly twice the price, but I'm sold!
The piece of hardware is expensive, but if you are a marketing person, you know that the high price point over the (inconvenient and conventional looking) other clones can be offset by aesthetic and simple ease of use. talk to hp and apple about the iPod regarding that one.
You are a genius. If you know what you're getting into, it's great. If you don't (like that @$$hole over at Vintage Computing.com), you are dissatisfied. I think that I may have to review the thing for my show. I want to be able to give a favorable review.