LEGO NES Review and Guide

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Donkey Kong, The Legend of Zelda, and Popeye were some of the first video games for Nintendo Entertainment Systems. Still, it was Super Mario Bros. that made this gaming console legendary. This LEGO NES review will walk you through the features of a rare LEGO building kit that evokes gaming nostalgia.

Although it has all the characteristics of sets published in Ideas, Technic, or Creator Expert themes, the Nintendo Entertainment System 71374 was released within the Super Mario theme geared toward younger audiences. So, this building kit isn’t ideal for most fans of LEGO Super Mario sets.

Bottom Line Up Front

Like all LEGO build-to-display sets, the Nintendo Entertainment System 71374 lets you create an accurate replica of one of the most emblematic gaming consoles ever made. However, even experienced builders might struggle to assemble it.

See also: The best LEGO castle sets of all time.

The Ins and Outs of LEGO Nintendo Entertainment System 71374 Set

Basic info:

  • Release date: August 1, 2020
  • Piece count: 2,646
  • Age group: 18+
  • Price range: $$$

Prince of Persia, Minecraft, and Overwatch are some video games that served as inspiration for entire LEGO themes. None of these themes contained a set based on gaming consoles these video games were made for, which makes the LEGO NES 71374 model unique.

Moreover, this building kit doesn’t have the characteristics of LEGO Super Mario sets even though it contains numerous references to the Super Mario Bros. video game.

Besides the authentic gaming console replica with almost identical dimensions to the source model, the set also includes a miniature vintage CRT TV set and a video game controller.

The set features only the Super Mario figure that is a part of the TV’s mosaic mechanism.

The Adventures with Mario Starter Course 71360 has an electronic Super Mario figure that plays sound effects synchronized with the movements of the mosaic. LEGO doesn’t plan to retire this set soon, as its earliest expected exit date is the first quarter of 2023.

See also: LEGO Batmobile review

Packaging and Building Instructions


Basic info:

  • Number of bags: 26
  • Instruction manual booklets: 2

The minimalistic design of the set’s box resembles the design of all LEGO models aimed at adult audiences. Its front cover depicts the assembled TV set, gaming console, and controller, while the LEGO and Nintendo logos are located in the lower left and right corners.

The underside shows the display model from a similar angle, and it contains several images of the set’s key features. The inner white box contains bags numbered one through seven, a building instructions manual, and a sticker sheet, which enables you to start the build as soon as you open the outer box.

Top tip: You can reach the inner white box by opening the right side of the outer box. Doing so will eliminate the need to sort out all bags of pieces right away. 

Building instructions for the gaming console and the TV set are in separate booklets. They contain information about the 1985 version of NES, early Nintendo video games, and the TV set’s mosaic mechanism.

An Overview of the Set’s Pieces


Most pieces have printed decorations, and the sticker sheet has just two large stickers made for 6×6 tiles. Super Mario cartridge and TV specification panel stickers are easy to apply due to their size. The LEGO NES 71374 set has the following unique parts:

  • 1×1 flat tile 69090 (black)
  • 2×2 flat tile 69091 (black)
  • 2×2 round flat tile 69885
  • 1×8 flat tile 6969917
  • 1×4 inverter plate 68382

It’s also worth adding that all elements with printed decorations are exclusive to this set. Prints on these pieces are sometimes in unusual places, like the 2x4x2/3 curved slope part that features a print of the flat 2/3 side.

The 8-bit Super Mario figure is attached to the mosaic mechanism with an anti-stud connection, and its red and light brown color pattern is unusual for LEGO Super Mario figures. This building kit doesn’t contain accessories or figures of other video game characters.

See also: LEGO Colosseum review

Construction Process

The build is divided into two stages. During the first part of the build, you’ll assemble the Nintendo gaming console, the cartridge, and the controller. This part of the build has 295 steps, and the pieces you’ll need to complete this stage are located in bags numbered one through eight.

Stage I: The gaming console’s base is composed of several plates connected with Technic pins. As soon as you complete this section, you’ll start building a complex cartridge mechanism equipped with two springs and a variety of technic elements.

The lower section of the console’s sidewalls features audio and video-out jacks, two controller sockets, and power and restart buttons. RF Switch Jack, AC Adapter Jack, and 3/CH 4 Switch can be found on the deck’s back end.

Top tip: Don’t rush through the first stage of the build. 

Each of these elements is an independent subassembly that utilizes a variety of techniques to conceal studs. The ventilation element is located next to the cartridge mechanism, and it contains a series of 2×2 plates with two studs that recreate the structure of the gaming console’s component.

The smooth casing that covers the upper portion of the deck features an opening lid that activates the cartridge mechanism and allows the builder to insert the Super Mario Cartridge into the console. The video game controller has a cable that connects to the controller socket.

Stage II: The second booklet contains 266 illustrated steps for pieces in bags numbered nine through 21. This stage of the build starts with the construction of the TV set’s base that includes the crank mechanism used to rotate the mosaic element.

The classic Super Mario Bros. scene extends over several light blue panels composed of 2×2 and 1×1 tiles and plates. It envelops the side-scrolling mechanism, which contains sixty Technic tracks that enable it to rotate when you turn the crank.

Top tip: Test the mosaic element and ensure it is functioning properly before attaching the TV set’s top and front panels.

The front panel has a speaker on its left side, while channel, volume, and image brightness knobs are located on the right side. A simple TV stand element is assembled at the end of the construction process.

A Look at the Assembled Model


The complexity of the LEGO NES isn’t evident at first sight because all of its complex mechanisms are hidden underneath the surface. The replica of the gray gaming console is true to the original, and it contains a variety of authentic details like the Nintendo logo or reinsert indicator.

Accessing the cartridge tray is easy as you have to lift the lid, insert the cartridge and push the tray down to close it. The controller has a directional pad, select and start buttons, and a pair of large red B and A buttons. It connects to the deck with a pneumatic tube and T-connectors.

Even though it is just eight inches tall and nine inches wide, the television set has stunning details. Its back has two ports and an antenna, while the front section has On/Off, UHF/VHF buttons, and a Super Mario figure that moves up and down in front of the rotating mosaic as you turn the crank.

See also: LEGO Ecto I review

Set’s Playability

The Nintendo Entertainment System 71374 is a build-to-display set that doesn’t have the play value offered by LEGO Super Mario sets for the young audience. Rotating mosaic, opening cartridge flap and a moving Super Mario figure make the set more interactive, but they don’t provide a lot of play options.

Most of the model’s play and entertainment value comes from the intricate construction process that takes around 10 hours to complete. This can hardly be viewed as a downside, considering that the majority of the set’s target audience is old enough to remember the original NES.

See also: The best LEGO Disney sets

Price and Value

The largest LEGO Super Mario set provides plenty of value for money. The LEGO NES 71374 is far from being one of the brand’s most expensive products as its price is similar to Technic models with lower piece counts like the BMW M 1000 RR 42130.

The set’s retail value is around $230, and that is unlikely to change in near future because LEGO still hasn’t announced plans to retire it. Its estimated lifespan is approximately 36 months, suggesting that the NES 71374 should remain available in LEGO stores at least until August 2023.

Top tip: Consider purchasing two LEGO NES sets and keeping one unopened because obtaining this set in pristine condition will be next to impossible after its production stops. 

It’s safe to assume that its market value will rise to $500 shortly after its exit date, while this model might be worth close to $800 a few years later.

Pros and Cons of LEGO NES 71374 Set

LEGO NES 71374


  • The set utilizes innovative building techniques
  • An accurate replica of the first Nintendo gaming console
  • Authentic functions and details
  • Fulfilling construction process
  • Excellent price for a high piece count set


  • Some of the model’s best features are hidden from view

The Best Alternatives to LEGO NES 71374

LEGO’s product portfolio currently doesn’t include a model that is even remotely similar to the Nintendo Entertainment System 71374 set. So, finding an adequate substitute for this building kit is a challenging task.

Even though getting a Super Mario or Ideas set isn’t an ideal replacement for the LEGO NES, it is, in my opinion, the best available alternative. Let’s take a look at a few building kits that could be a good replacement for this set.

Super Mario 64 Question Mark Block 71395

Super Mario 64 Question Mark Block 71395

  • Piece count: 2,064
  • Age group: 18+
  • Price range: $$$

As the only LEGO Super Mario set designed for adult builders except the NES 71374, the Super Mario 64 Question Mark Block 71395 is the most obvious alternative to this model.

The Question Mark Block has multiple levels from the Super Mario 64 video game like Lethal Lava Trouble, Bob-omb battlefield, or Peach’s Castle. Moreover, this LEGO set comes with ten Super Mario microfigures, including Chain Chomp, Princess Peach, and Mario.

You can increase the set’s considerable play potential by combining it with 71360 and 71387 starter courses.

Sonic the Hedgehog – Green Hill Zone 21331

Sonic the Hedgehog - Green Hill Zone 21331

  • Piece count: 1,125
  • Age group: 18+
  • Price range: $$

Video game and Sega fans shouldn’t miss out on Sonic the Hedgehog – Green Hill Zone 21331 set. This LEGO Ideas model is inspired by the first level of the iconic 1990s video game, and it includes all of its components.

Builders are free to arrange the bridge loop, palm trees, Dr. Eggman’s Eggmobile, and other elements as they see fit. The set also features collectible rings, a display stand for seven Chaos Emeralds, two TVs, and a jump. This LEGO model has Sonic, Crabmeat, Dr. Eggman, and Moto Bug figures.

Super Mario Bowser’s Airship Expansion Set 71391

Super Mario Bowser's Airship Expansion Set 71391

  • Piece count: 1,152
  • Age group: 8+
  • Price range: $$

You can build the flying fortress and expand the Mario and Luigi starter courses with a collectible Super Mario Bowser’s Airship Expansion Set 71391. The Airship toy has ‘flying’ and ‘course modes,’ while its rich interior includes details like a plank that knocks over the mast or Kamek’s broom.

Kids can use the cannon toy to start the level, and they have to chase Rocky Wrench from his hiding place and defeat Bowser’s Mecha Hand to complete the level. Using the set’s Bluetooth connectivity and multiplayer options unlocks extra coins.

Noteworthy Mentions

Haunted House 10273

Frequently Asked Questions About LEGO NES 71374 Set

Question: How Designed the LEGO NES 71374 Set?

Answer: Paolo Gonzales, Daire McCabe, and Leon Pijnenburg are credited as designers of this set.

Question: Does the LEGO NES Have Identical Dimensions to the Original NES?

Answer: The LEGO model is around an inch shorter than the original NES, so their dimensions are almost identical.

Question: Is the TV set’s Crank Mechanism Durable?

Answer: Yes, this mechanism was put through a twenty-hour scrolling test, and it functions seamlessly.

Question: Do I Need Batteries for the LEGO NES 71374?

Answer: This LEGO set doesn’t require batteries.

Final Thoughts

The Nintendo Entertainment System 71374 will be mentioned in discussions about the best LEGO sets for a long time.

The model’s innovative building techniques, functioning cartridge tray, crank mechanism, and overall design put it shoulder to shoulder with LEGO sets like the Millennium Falcon 75192 or Titanic 10294.

Although its construction process can be challenging, it is never monotonous as you constantly move from one subassembly to another.

I recommend buying this set even if you’re not a Nintendo or Super Mario fan because once you assemble it, you’ll have a beautiful display model you can exhibit in your home or office.

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