The best retro video game consoles for 2022 | Games consoles

Since the hugely successful launch of the Nintendo NES Classic Edition back in 2016, the retro games console has become a lucrative little side hustle for the big console manufacturers and smaller retro hardware companies; so much so that machines such as the SNES Classic Mini and Mega Drive Mini – which are both excellent – are now hard to get hold of without paying vastly inflated prices. Here, though, are six superb alternatives you can buy now without too much of a hunt or the need to take out a second mortgage.

PC Engine CoreGrafx Mini (£100)

PC Engine Core Grafx Mini
A modest dream come true … PC Engine CoreGrafx Mini. Photograph: Konami

You can still grab one of these on Amazon in the UK and it’s worth it. If you never owned a PC Engine (or TurboGrafx as it was known in the west) here’s your chance to appreciate one of the great 16bit machines, where well-known favourites Castlevania and R-Type rub pixellated shoulders with arcane wonders such as Military Madness and JJ and Jeff. You get a save function, some basic screen display modification options and two joystick ports for multiplayer fun. For those who grew up in the early 1990s and couldn’t afford this most revered of consoles, it’s a modest dream come true.

Evercade VS console (£110)

Evercade VS game controller.
Unapologetic 80s design … Evercade VS console. Photograph: BJP Photography

Developed by UK company Blaze, Evercade is a really interesting contender in the retro hardware space. Both the VS console and the more recent (and also highly recommended) EXP handheld run emulated games, but they’re all officially licensed and come on multi-game cartridges, each exploring the back catalogue of different developers. Games play in 1080p resolution – and on the VS console, up to four players can take part at once. I love the unapologetic 80s design of the machine and the selection of titles available is superb, ranging from Commodore 64 classics to cult arcade gems by industry greats Toaplan and Jaleco. An excellent buy with the promise of more new cartridges to come.

Amiga A500 Mini (£115)

Amiga A500 Mini console.
Indulge your nostalgia … Amiga A500 Mini console. Photograph: Amiga

Featuring 25 classic games, a modern save function and the ability to load more titles via the USB slot, this is a great way to indulge your nostalgia for Commodore’s 16bit computer. The controllers feel a little cheap, but you’re soon lost in the wonders of Another World, Speedball 2 and Stunt Car Racer. If your memory goes back further, the cheap and cheerful C64 Mini is still widely available at around £60 and packs in 64 titles, all playable in 720p resolution on your modern TV.

Sega Astro City Mini (£140)

Sega Funstock Astro City Mini 1.
Arcade-quality controls … Sega Funstock Astro City Mini 1. Photograph: Sega

The only mini console from Nintendo and Sega that is still widely available at a non-ridiculous price is this beautiful little arcade cabinet, designed to celebrate Sega’s 60th anniversary. Packing in 37 classic titles from well-known greats such as Virtua Fighter and Shinobi to lesser known oddities Ninja Princess and Dark Edge, there’s plenty to discover, and while it has a built-in 3.9-inch display, you can also plug it into your TV. The arcade-quality controls are excellent too.

Analogue Pocket ($220 + shipping)

Analogue Pocket.
Awesome performance … Analogue Pocket. Photograph: Analog

Boasting a completely different approach to retro hardware, Analogue makes multi-system devices that run original games rather than emulators, with a focus on getting as close as possible to the true experience – just with modern display and processing technology. The Pocket is compatible with Game Boy, GB Pocket and Game Boy Advance carts, but you can also buy adaptors for the Sega Game Gear, Neo Geo Pocket Color and other platforms. The performance is awesome via the 1600 x 1440 resolution display – it’s the perfect way to rediscover your old games; like buying a top of the range record player to hear dusty old vinyl albums once again.

Anbernic RG353M (£220)

Anbernic RG353M

Shenzhen-based manufacturer Anbernic has been producing excellent retro consoles for several years, and this latest iteration is the best yet. Running a dual Android/Linux operating system on a quad-core RK3566 processor, it can emulate everything from the Game Boy to the Dreamcast, and while lots of games are included, it’s possible to download and play many more via an SD card. The 3.5-inch screen is clear and bright, and the metallic body feels sturdy and high-spec. This is the one to go for if you’re technically minded and happy to tweak settings and hunt for games and emulators online. If the price is too high, the older RG350P (£90) remains a great budget alternative.