A few weeks ago Nintendo introduced the Nintendo Switch, a new console that is set to hit store shelves at some point next year, I think. It features detachable controllers that allow you to carry around a tablet-type screen when you’re on the go, or dock the screen and play on your TV. It’s very similar to the Wii-U, but a much better execution if you ask me. I’m still not entirely sure how well it’s going to do, but time will tell.
Nintendo knew that they weren’t going to be a force this holiday season, but it sounds like they are betting big on next year with this new console. However, they did announce the NES Classic a few months ago, which was finally released in North America on November 11, 2016.
What is the NES Classic?
The NES Classic is a super small Nintendo Entertainment System that comes pre-loaded with 30 games and a small controller. It allows you to play those old Nintendo classics on your new HDTV in your living room without having to buy a bunch of retro cartridges and a console.
There are a few downsides to the NES Mini though. The fact that it can only ever play the 30 games that come loaded onto it make it a little annoying considering you can use a raspberry pi and build system that can play almost any old NES, SNES, Genesis, Arcade, etc… game for under $100, and add/remove whatever games you want. And two, the cords on the controllers are only like two feet long, which means that you have to have a long HDMI cable because the console has to literally sit right next to you if you want to play. There might be extension cables for it, but I haven’t really looked around.
Outside of those two physical issues with the console, the only other issue is that you can’t find one… anywhere.
Nintendo’s Holiday Fail
Nintendo of America clearly didn’t recognize that there would be such a high demand for the NES Classic console and has severely under-stocked stores across the country (at least in the U.S.). They really hit the nail on the head with a setup that is targeted directly towards the nostalgia of the older gamer, but by not being able to keep up with the demand, they are losing out on a ton of money, and allowing the secondary market to make a killing off of these things.
My brother asked for one for Christmas and I’ve been trying to track one down for him, but even through connections I have at GameStop, it’s been pretty difficult. They sell out within minutes of coming into stock and most of those people that are buying them are just flipping them online.
I’m guessing that Nintendo is trying to ramp up their stock as we get closer to the holidays, but I still think they are going to fall far behind and this is going to be the toy that everyone wants. I’m sure the eBay demand will fall off once the holiday season is over, and stores will start to get more in stock as less and less people actually want it, but it’s definitely going to take a few months for that to happen.
I personally think that, while it’s an awesome idea, it’s a much better solution to just pick up a raspberry pi and a controller, and set it up with Retropie that will allow you to play whatever game you want (not just the 30 that are packaged with the NES Classic). Although I know there are some legalities in terms of the ROMS associated with that setup, and it does take some technical know-how in order to set it up, but it’s really not that hard. We even have an easy to follow guide that will walk you through step-by-step, if you choose to go that route.
So whether you manage to track down an NES Classic this holiday season or not, just know that these will be in stock all over the place sooner rather than later. You might not get one for Christmas this year, but it’s not going to be sold out forever.
We want to hear about your experience with the NES Classic. Were you able to track one down in stores? Is it worth the $60 price tag? Do you think that younger gamers will enjoy this as much as us older gamers do? Let us know in the comments.