Nostalgia has created a good for Nintendo, bad for consumer supply issue.
One of my favorite childhood memories was the near nightly NES marathons with my parents. The NES started its life in Japan as the Famicom (Family Computer) on July 15, 1983, with a library of three games Donkey Kong, Donkey Kong JR and Popeye. With a somewhat rocky start, a recall and a re-release, the console gained steam and was ultimately released in north America, at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 1985. This console reversed the video game slump of the 1980’s and won the heart of millions. From Mario to Zelda, Metroid to Kid Icarus, Techno Super Bowl, Battletoads and beyond, many of us have fond memories of this system. Interestingly, the NES was not discontinued until 1995 in America and still was serviceable in Japan until 2007 (Thanks, Wikipedia). Nintendo did more than just build an amazing console, they fueled a love for home gaming and a nostalgia that has kept the original system mainstream. Who has not blown into a cartridge, shuffled it left to right, lifted the game up and down to get the game to work? We all had our routines that worked for us. Without the internet, it seems we all learned on our own to blow into the cartridge.
With all of the love the classic NES system, I had my hopes raised dramatically when I heard about the NES Classic Edition purported to be released Holiday Season 2016. I had searched the internet, Gamestop, Bestbuy, Nintendo blogs, and Amazon for information with the goal to pre-order the machine. Let us be honest, I remember my father out many days trying to find those holiday titles and I wanted a machine for my children (rather for myself) for this holiday season. I found it odd that there was no place to pre-order online, at least none that I could find. Truthfully, I typically pre-order most of what I buy. So, I went into a Gamestop around 0911//2016 and put my name and my mother’s name (visiting for my son’s birthday from North Carolina) onto a list of possible preorders. We attempted to reserve 2 consoles and 2 extra controllers. Over the past few weeks, Nintendo announced their release date of 11/11/16. Amazon would not pre-order, Toys-R-Us had no pre-order. So, at 10 am 11/11/16 I went to my local Gamestop to find out that they had only received 8 units. The other Gamestop in our town had 5 units. Other stores reported only a handful, with nearly nobody getting any extra controllers. The Toys-R-Us in our town got 1 extra controller only.
The gentleman at Gamestop was the same one that took my name for the list and he remembered me from the last event. He had 1 machine left and said that he could only give me one. By 10 minutes after opening, he had already told dozens of customers by phone and a score or more customers in the store that they had no other systems and did not know when they would get more. I do not typically count myself lucky, but today I received 1 of the 8 systems that hundreds were coveting. My mother, visiting my children for the weekend, was with me and she was excited for us. She was even more excited when I told her Merry Christmas and gave it to her as a gift. I will wait for another for myself. We called around town and everyone was sold out. Amazon was supposed to have a sale starting 2PM PST. At 345 I had my iPhone 7 plus, iPad air 2 and my home PC set to the amazon page (logged into my Prime account) and began refreshing at 3:58 CST (1:58 PST). At roughly 4:05 PST the amazon page changed from “currently unavailable” to add to cart. NO matter how many times I added it to the cart, it would either take me to a page with an “OOPS” message or to an empty shopping cart page. I was not alone in this experience today.
Nintendo really struck out with this launch. It seems that Business sense would have predicted that the nostalgia for the NES would have cleared the shelves even with 10x the consoles.
Creating this kind of demand only helps the scalpers and the EBAY sellers. The Amazon site seemed to crash multiple times likely due to bots buying up the available units. Again it seems odd that there were seemingly so few units to go around. Luckily, I was at the right place at the right time and was able to get one for my mother today. We finished our shopping and went back to my house. She said let’s not wait, let’s open it up now. We have been playing various games all afternoon. In fact, my children (7 and 5-year-old boys) are playing the NES, as I type this review. It is amazing that the system remains viable, and just as fun, 30 years later.
BUY FROM AMAZON