Today is the day many have been waiting for since Nintendo announced that the company would be releasing a SNES Classic console last year.
It won’t be so easy to get your hands on one, though. Its predecessor, the NES Classic, was sold out most of the time since its launch last November. So even if Nintendo did ship more than 2 million NES Classics in the end, some people could never get their hands on one (and likely never will, unless they manage to get hold of one on the likes of eBay at an exorbitant price…)
You can blame this on Nintendo, which is fond of creating insatiable demand for its products through brilliant marketing and advertising, and yet somehow manage not to ship enough consoles (or toys such as the Amiibo) to retailers to satisfy demand and let the masses buy Nintendo’s kit. It happened with the NES Classic, it happened with the Nintendo Switch, and it’s likely to happen with the SNES Classic too…
Some say this is a deliberate strategy on the part of Nintendo, a way of making their video game consoles and other products look like rare, and extremely valuable and desirable items. Thankfully, though, Nintendo has promised this time that they will be making quite a few more SNES Classics than they did NES Classics last year, with president Reggie Fils-Aime saying that people should not overpay for it. “I would strongly urge you not to overbid on an SNES Classic on any of the auction sites … You shouldn’t [have to] pay more than $79.99.”.
However, Fils-Aime also told Time in an interview (via The Verge) that his company has “got a lot going right now” and that it doesn’t have “unlimited resources”, presumably referring to the company’s 3DS handhelds and Nintendo Switch, which are also frequently sold out at stores, while Nintendo is also busy planning its foray into the theme park business too, meaning the video game giant has plenty going on besides the SNES Classic launch.
Right here and now, though, it’s the SNES Classic people are interested in, and it’s clear that getting hold of Nintendo’s mini-console could turn into an odyssey for those shopping on September 29.
And knowing the avalanche that’s coming, retail stores in the US and worldwide are taking steps to deal with demand. For instance, Nintendo’s Manhattan store limits SNES Classic purchases to one per customer, which must be paid for with a debit or credit card. Other stores like Best Buy will be distributing tickets to those making queues before their open times – and you may find out that waking up early will be necessary in order to walk out of a store with a SNES Classic under your arm on the day…
There’s always the option of buying Nintendo’s retro mini-console online and skip real-life queues, although you may find that the huge demand can drive the price up. Actually, the SNES Classic is now going for over $200 US dollars on Amazon.com, despite the fact that Nintendo’s recommended retail price is only $79.99 US dollars.
— Nintendo NY (@NintendoNYC) 27 September 2017
And aside from having to pay more than expected, you may find that the console is simply sold out at retailers like GameStop or Target, sometimes even before you manage to complete your transaction (tip: having an account with the online retailer open beforehand can help you complete your order faster).
If you get hold of one, though, you’ll get the pleasure of playing old classics from the 16 bit era like Super Mario World, Final Fantasy III and Starfox on your widescreen TV. Of course, these look horribly dated these days, and will likely not be as much fun as you remember them, plus the SNES Classic short controller cables could make sitting down and playing with the thing something of a chore too (some recommend getting hold of an extension cable, and with good reason).
But still, the SNES Classic could have a million faults and still be an irresistible purchase for many. Nintendo is pulling the nostalgia strings here, and this is a console many grew up playing with after all. So hopefully it won’t be so hard to buy the SNES Classic today for most people, and encouragingly Nintendo has said it will keep producing the thing well into 2018, meaning more people will get to enjoy one of this year’s hottest console products, and that can only be a good thing.
SNES Classic console (Nintendo of America)
Super Mario World (Nintendo)