(CBS) - So you bought a bunch of old Nintendo and Super Nintendo games from a neighbor's garage sale. Now what?
You could buy a used system on eBay, but it's a gamble - since old Nintendo systems don't have a very good survival rate. Plus, older video game consoles are not typically compatible with modern HDTVs and connect natively through an RF cable.
If your goal is to find something quasi-authentic to the retro gaming experience, the Retro Duo NES/SNES game system is a possible option. This console allows you to play both old Nintendo SNES and NES games on most modern TVs.
Though it is not licensed by Nintendo, it plays most old cartridges without an issue, according to Think Geek. I tested this throw-back machine and had no problem playing the few games I could salvage from my basement (see photo above).
No surprise here: playing my old Super Mario Bros. game on my Samsung LCD HDTV wasn't 100 percent visually pleasing. The console does not upconvert your games to HD and connects via a standard composite or s-video.
One thing I should also mention is that the emulation is at times spotty with the less popular games. You can especially hear it in the music, which still sounds good but is slightly altered or missing that extra 8-bit or 16-bit beat. If you're a nerd like me, you'll notice these minor glitches. But again, it's better than having a system that freezes every time someone stomps their feet near the console. And essentially, that's what the Retro Duo is - a decent $50 cart player that won't freeze up.
Of course, you could just (legally) download a bunch of roms and emulate the experience on your PC for free. But to me, it's just not the same as holding a controller and watching Mega Man jump and shoot on your television screen.
The Retro Duo is strictly for the nostalgic gamer, not the cheap one. There are plenty of roads you can take to play Super Mario Bros. in its 8-bit glory. It just depends on what you already own.
If you don't have these game cartridges already, I'd hold off all together. Looking for some of the more obscure NES or SNES games can be challenging and expensive (hope you're not an Earthbound fan). It's just not worth it considering that the Nintendo Wii's virtual console store has a large selection of classic NES and SNES games to download. They can go from five to 15 bucks, depending on the title, and you'll never have to blow into them.
But, if you have a box filled with old Nintendo games you want to dust off and play, this is definitely an option.