Pocket-lint is supported by its readers. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more

(Pocket-lint) - We might be staring down the barrel of brand new generations of consoles from the giants that are Sony and Microsoft, while Nintendo's Switch plugs away as a quiet favourite, but the last couple of years have seen another parallel trend startup.

Retro consoles have come out of nowhere to become a fixture in the videogames market, with a range of companies revamping their old hardware, generally by shrinking it down and including games on its memory.

Whether you want to revisit the games of your childhood or play some classic titles for the first time ever, they offer amazing fun without complicated modern setups. 

Still, though, you probably don't fancy buying every miniature games console on the market - it might be helpful if we could narrow them down to just the very best options on the market. So, that's what we've done! These are the top modern retro consoles for you to pick from. 

Our pick of the best retro consoles to buy today

Pocket-lintThe Best Retro Games Consoles For 2020 Go Back To The Future image 2

SEGA Mega Drive Mini


Taking the top spot in our estimations goes without any doubt to the Mega Drive Mini from SEGA (or Genesis Mini if you're not from our little part of the world). It's got everything you'd want from a mini console, including a great little recreation of the original console itself, brilliant controllers, an easy setup and, all-importantly, a superb collection of games. 

You get 42 games included, all of which load up super quickly, and in many cases you're able to play different regional versions of the games if you're a real connoisseur. Whether you're there for SEGA's mascot, Sonic, or other classics like Earthworm Jim and Streets of Rage II, you'll find a classic to enjoy for sure.  

Pocket-lintThe best retro games consoles for 2020 Go back to the future photo 7


If you prefer your retro gaming action handheld, Nintendo has a new solution for you, in the form of its delightful little remake of the original Game & Watch, which comes with the addition of some Mario games for you to play through on its tiny screen. 

It's a brilliant little revamp that's a joy to play on, and while you don't have dozens of game to pick from, it's nice and affordable, and its retro packaging is also sure to make any long-term Nintendo fan smile.

Pocket-lintThe Best Retro Games Consoles For 2020 Go Back To The Future image 3

SNES Classic Mini


The SNES Classic Mini was Nintendo's second go at a miniature console, and went down just as well in terms of numbers sold as the NES Classic Mini. It's a great effort, too, with an iconic design shrunk to size and a selection of games that includes some all-time classics.

There are a couple of hiccoughs, though, including controller cables that are far too short, but including two controllers in the box makes for great multiplayer fun straight away to make up for it. This is a great little machine, especially if you grew up on Nintendo's amazing games. 

Pocket-lintThe Best Retro Games Consoles For 2020 Go Back To The Future image 4

NES Classic Mini


The NES Classic Mini felt like it really kicked off the craze of miniature retro consoles when it released back in 2016 to immediate sell-outs and stock shortages. It is still a great device, with a classic design and some stunning games on board.

That said, its ludicrously short controller cables are farcical to use in a living room, and it didn't include some necessities in the box, from a power supply to a second controller. Still, if you can get it set up right, likely with your own extensions, it's got a trove of 30 games to play, some of which are still influencing game design now. 

Pocket-lintThe Best Retro Games Consoles For 2020 Go Back To The Future image 5

PlayStation Classic


Sony wasn't going to be left out of the club, although it took a couple of years for it to catch up to Nintendo and release the Playstation Classic. It's a solid member of the retro gang, too, bringing 3D graphics to the table as well.

Once again, this is a well-built bit of retro history, with great controllers and a main console that triggers our nostalgia. Sadly, while there are some classic games on board, like Final Fantasy VII and Metal Gear Solid, there are also some big misses including early Tony Hawk games and the WipeOut series. Its limited selection of titles is what holds the Playstation Classic back a bit. 

AmazonThe Best Retro Games Consoles For 2020 Go Back To The Future image 6

C64 Mini


Our final pick is one that might not have quite as wide an audience as the consoles above, but which could still be a great addition to your home. This 80s classic is reproduced lovingly, and comes with a massive, and appropriate, 64 games on it, plus a joystick controller to add to its purely decorative keyboard.

Only a few of those games are really memorable, of course, but that's fine at its price. The reality is that the Commodore 64 won't have quite the same wide appeal as a Nintendo or SEGA console, but for those who want to revisit it, this is a fun and quick way to do so on your modern TV. It's just a shame that the joystick you'll be using is pretty cheap-feeling. 

SegaThe best retro games consoles for 2020 Go back to the future photo 9

Sega Astro City Mini


Available in extremely limited numbers, this miniature little arcade cabinet from Sega is a perfect choice if you want to revel in some nostalgia. 

It comes with 36 games installed, including some true arcade classics, and is small enough to be a perfect addition to your collection without taking up huge amounts of space like a full-size arcade machine. 

Writing by Max Freeman-Mills. Originally published on 22 January 2020.