The worlds of American news media and knock-off Chinese consoles loaded with ropey ROM hacks collided recently in a report from NBC News that focuses on a cheap SNES Classic clone which includes 'X-rated' games.
The machine in question is the Super Mini SN-02, one of the countless unofficial clone systems which flood out of Chinese factories each year. Designed to mimic the appearance of the SNES Classic Edition, it comes pre-loaded with 821 games – many of which are either duplicates or unauthorised ROM hacks.
This won't be news to anyone who knows the dodgy reputation of these low-cost gaming devices, but NBC has spoken to concerned parents who purchased these devices for their children and were shocked at what they saw when it was booted up. Some of the hacked games contain nudity (albeit of the cartoonish, 2D kind), while others are racist in nature.
NBC reports that a version of The Jungle Book included on the console features a naked Mowgli, and it even went as far as to contact Disney for an explanation. The company hadn't responded by the time the report was broadcast, but we'd imagine it will be somewhat confused about why it's being chased up over an unofficial and unauthorised hack of a 30-year-old NES game.
While it's perhaps unfair to expect NBC and the parents involved to be aware of the rather dubious nature of these systems, it does raise a crucial point about the channels in which these devices are sold; the Super Mini SN-02 was being sold on both Amazon and Walmart, so you could forgive customers for assuming it wouldn't come pre-loaded with questionable content.
NBC reports that both retailers have promised to review the product, but, at the time of writing, the console is still available on Amazon from more than one third-party Amazon Marketplace reseller.
It's interesting to think what Nintendo itself makes of all of this, too; the console is clearly designed to imitate the SNES Classic, and, as one of the parents in the report says, it looks just like that system – so many will assume it's an official product. Some are pointing the finger directly at Nintendo for this situation; after all, the company has prematurely killed off its Mini Classic systems despite there being clear demand for them:
What's your take on this? Should buyers know better when it comes to these cheap-looking machines, or should retailers like Amazon take a harder line to prevent their sale? Let us know with a comment below.