I should’ve known. The Nintendo Entertainment System: NES Classic Edition, was widely marketed, not only by Nintendo, but by TV and online news media. For the first time in a long time, Nintendo has made a product that, by design, appeals to its old fanbase: adults who used to play Nintendo but not anymore. It appealed to nostalgia.
Thus, when Nintendo and retailers said they would have limited quantities available, I knew it would be a familiar situation.
The Thrill of the Hunt
Remember amiibo hunting? Ah, yes, the days of the hunt. When amiibos were a hot new product, they were selling out far more than Nintendo was anticipating and producing. If you wanted the latest batch of amiibo, you better have camped out. Pre-orders online, if to be found, would sell out in minutes. Camping out was your best bet.
But indeed, it was fun. Through Nintendo retail events around my area, and camping out with like-minded individuals hungering for the latest figurine, I aquired many new friends along the way. Groups were founded on social media, and dedicated tracking sites and Twitter accounts were set up, for the sole purpose of alerting people when the product was in stock so you could race down to the store or website and order it or pick it up. Indeed, it was a frustrating, yet thrilling experience. The feeling of finally getting what you sought out to get, after trial and adventure, was a feeling like no other – a feeling not only of gratification, but of accomplishment.
It took Nintendo over a year to get the situation under control, and finally, buying new amiibos was a simple, non-valiant task, just like buying any other product. The thrill of the hunt was gone, but you could get what you wanted relatively easily. No more camping out.
A similar situation unfolded with other limited edition items, such as the Gold Majora’s Mask edition of the New Nintendo 3DS XL. There was an initial limited stock, and then the price shot up to hundreds of dollars, even over $1000, on eBay. It was near impossible to get one of these systems, as well as the game’s limited edition with the Skull Kid figure. Finally, a month later, after nearly everyone had given up on them, they became commonplace in stores like Best Buy. Of course, until the stock finally ran out. But they did become available.
The Thrill of the Hunt – Returns?
Luckily, we have not had a situation like this with Nintendo products since then (it may help that Nintendo has not had any super hot products this year). But along comes the NES Classic Edition.
With retailers stating there would be limited initial quantities, and no pre-orders, I had a feeling that this would be like amiibo hunting all over again. Since over a week before release, I had decided I wanted to camp out at a retailer like GameStop or Target, and I had even planned to the day before its release.
However, then Amazon announced that it would have the product available at 2pm PT, the next day. It was getting late, and my bed was comfy, so I had decided that I would just be ready at Amazon by 2PM the next day!
So I waited, and I came.
Then This Happened.
In short, there was so much traffic on the page that the page crashed, and then Amazon’s entire site briefly crashed for a few minutes. Though I was optimistic, I wasn’t able to get one. I tried for about an hour, then gave up.
Then, of course, it started being scalped on eBay for thousands of dollars, for a $60 system.
AlphaOmegaSin sums the situation up nicely.
Indeed, this has become like amiibos all over again. Thankfully, Nintendo said that they will continue sending out a steady supply of stock into the new year. But if history tells me anything, it is that it may be like the amiibo situation all over again. When stock is available, it will be limited, and sell out right away. We need a new alert system. A MiNES alert system, so that when it’s in stock, we’ll know right away.
Maybe this is part of Nintendo’s hype machine, to give an initially limited supply, and then they’ll send out a ton before Christmas. Maybe we’ll all be able to get one before then, hopefully not from eBay. I will remain optimistic. But we don’t know yet for sure.
All I know, is that if I wanted to get one day one, I should have camped out.
-Noah Sanchez, Gamer Splash