Theme: LEGO 18+
Release Year: 2020
Cost: AU $349.99
Of all the sets to be released this year, the NES was top of the list, easily the favourite. I was so excited to grab a copy of this set – as soon as it came in, I got to building it. Needless to say, I was extremely impressed.
The actual console came out way back in 1985, and is one of the most iconic consoles ever made. It’s also spawned so many beloved games and memories for gamers all over the world. Inside the large box are 25 bags across 21 build stages, and two instruction manuals – one for the console, controller and game pak, and the other for the TV. There’s also a very small sticker sheet with three stickers – the rest of the detailed tiles are printed.
The instructions include some history and images from the console and a few screenshots from the popular games. The stickers that are included are applied to the game pak and the back of the TV – the TV on in particular looks spot on.
The build process is really interesting, especially for the game pak holder mechanism in the console itself. Using Technic, springs and a couple of surprise tiles and slopes, the locking mechanism is very clever, although I did find that it wasn’t perfect.
When the tray is depressed, the Technic axle slides forward and sits against the orange peaked 1×1 tile. Pressing it down again (should) release it forward, allowing the tray to raise completely and slide back to the reset positio. For me, both the locking and unlocking mechanism didn’t engage or disengage when required. After encasing the build it continued to fail to disengage, which is a real pity.
The shape of the console is absolutely spot on, using 1x2x3 inverted slopes. The audio jacks on the side are also really well executed, using upside down window frames to encase them.
Moving up the top of the console, the cooling vents are built using interspersed 2×2 plates with 2 studs. It’s repetitive, but fantastic. Inside the side of the console, backing up to the vented area is a super cool easter egg. It’s a portion of World 1-2 from Super Mario Bros. This was the first underground course in the game, and is pretty iconic. There’s even a microscale Mario!
It’s great to see stuff like this included – normally this part of the console is empty, so having fun inclusions like this is a real treat.
The front cover uses a 1×4 panel element to really neatly give a small edge to grip when opening the console, and the game pak itself is very simple, using stacked plates and tiles, plus a couple of stickers for details. What’s also very interesting is the inclusion of the new 2×6 tiles in not only dark bluish grey, but light bluish grey in the console as well.
The controller has a plethora of coloured elements inside, as well as a very clever way of holding the “cable” in place, but I won’t spoil that. The dimensions of the controller are spot on. I just wish you could actually depress the buttons! On to the TV.
Get ready for a whole lot of Technic – there’s a fair bit. There’s wheels that drive the screen movement smoothly, and some vertical axles that actually do the spinning. The back of the TV looks amazing. The ports on the side are spot on, especially the coaxial cable port in light bluish grey. The vents on the side are also nice, using 1×2 plates with slides stacked up. The cover for the cathode-ray tube is added on, and then it’s time for the repetitiveness of the screen animation.
The screen uses twin dark bluish grey treads made up of 60 elements, all connected together using plates and Technic pins. Get comfy folks, this will take a while. Make sure you take your time with it – I found having a ruler or something to mark where you were at was helpful. The instructions break it down somewhat, but I still messed up on occasion. The coloured tiles at the top of the assembly interact with the Mario from 71360 to get different sounds. I don’t have one of these, so I can’t comment on it, but the video footage looked pretty cool.
After the screen is wrapped around and dropped in, the exterior of the TV is finished, by building and adding the front panel. A ingenious use of a flexible rod against a gear to create a soft clicking sound as the channel selector is moved. It’s absolutely perfect.
The finishing touches include a bunch of reddish brown 6×6 tiles to complete the top, followed by the stand that’s built upside down. The TV simply rests on top of this loosely, using some plates to stop it sliding around. Raise the antenna, slide in the game pak and away you go!
The finished set is superb. I was so thrilled to get a copy of this set! While I didn’t have a NES growing up (we had a SNES), as a gamer, this set just screamed at me. One look at the set and you’ll be forgiven to think it’s the real deal, only to get closer and realise it’s LEGO. It’s only slightly smaller than the real deal, but without them side by side it’s not noticeable.
I’m a little disappointed with the mechanism not working for me. I’ve tried to analyse why it’s not working and can’t figure it out. If anyone has a solution, please let me know! It’s still a lot of fun sliding the game pak in place.
The additions of the ports around the outside of the console are great, but I would have loved to have a way to connect the console to the TV. The TV is the much needed pop of colour in this otherwise very grey set, and it’s stunning. The mechanism is brilliant, allowing Mario to smoothly traverse the stage. It’s also got a ratchet mechanism in the back, which stops the level from going in reverse.
The mechanism itself was thoroughly tested, with the instruction manual mentioning that the design team got it scrolling in a 20 hour test. I’ve not found it to be an issue yet. It’s magnificent.
The controls on the TV are also fantastic, with buttons and dials to control the channel, volume, brightness and contrast. The other side’s detail includes 40 black 1×1 plates upside down to create the speaker texture. This is really clever. The printed tiles dotted around the screen include a Super Star, Red Shells, coins, Goombas and more. It’s really cool. I’m wondering if there will be any fans that will create their own levels to swap out. I’m sure it will happen!
This is an absolutely magnificent set. I think it has a good chance of being set of the year, but it’s up against some stiff competition! I’ll be sure to do a poll again this year to hear your thoughts.
For AU $350, this is a must buy if you’re a NES fan, or old school gamer. I’m absolutely thrilled to have this set in my collection! This will be one that stays built for a long time to come.
ELEMENTS & MINIFIGURES: 17/20
DESIGN / APPEARANCE: 20/20
VALUE FOR MONEY: 9/10
A special thank you to LEGO for sending me a copy to review. All thoughts on this set are my own and are not influenced in any way, shape or form. The provision of sets for review does not guarantee a favourable review.