Monday July 13, 2020

Editorial: The Final Fallout of the Super Nintendo Classic
Posted by Steve Juon at Monday, October 16th, 2017 at 10:00PM :: Email this article :: Print this article

Editorial courtesy of Steve 'Flash' Juon.

[Super Nintendo courtesy Wikimedia Commons]I'll be the first to admit I was very skeptical that Nintendo could meet demand when the Super NES Classic Edition was announced in June. Also commonly referred to as the SNES Classic, Super Nintendo Mini or SNES Mini, there were no shortage of different ways to describe it. At launch it was promised to have 20 classic Super Nintendo games built in, including games like EarthBound and Secret of Mana that are prohibitively expensive for classic game enthusiasts and retro collectors to buy in their original cartridge form. In addition the SNES Classic would come with the bonus unlockable game StarFox 2, which had never been officially released in ANY form and had only been seen as incomplete unfinished bootleg copies before now.

Why was I skeptical that Nintendo could produce enough of the SNES Classic? That's because last year Nintendo severely underestimated demand for the Nintendo Classic, which no store received a large enough shipment of to meet the rabid demand of retro enthusiasts and adults yearning to relive a bid of their childhood nostalgia. Scalpers eagerly snapped up any available units they could find and flipped them for 4-8 times the original suggested MSRP of $59.99, provoking outrage at Nintendo for not making enough and seemingly costing THEMSELVES lost sales in the process. Even worse it seemed like a deliberate attempt by Nintendo to get free publicity from the endless news stories and editorials (like this one), something they had previously benefited from when Amiibos were in short supply. It was hard not to cast a cynical eye on Nintendo and think they were deliberately underestimating demand to create the media storm that ensued.

Thankfully despite some hiccups along the way (including Walmart canceling ALL pre-orders after mistakenly making it available too early) it seems their promises to ship MANY more SNES Classic units than NES Classic units have largely proven to be true. It appears at some point there IS such a thing as bad press despite the often used cliche that there is none, and Nintendo was not eager to take another black eye as a company so hungry for media exposure that they would purposefully screw over consumers and hand their profits to scalpers. This time stores like Best Buy, Target and Walmart received anywhere from dozens to HUNDREDS of units on September 29th. It's now mid-October and I can't think of anyone I know personally who didn't either get one either by pre-order or by simply showing up at the store that Friday -- and new shipments continue to arrive weekly.

Does this mean that it's all finally over and that Nintendo has at long last learned their lesson? The fact that Nintendo plans to reissue the NES Classic in 2018 certainly seems promising. Personally I would urge caution though because the recipe for creating a feeding frenzy still exists and could be easily exploited again at any time. Even knowing that it exists doesn't make you immune to its effects. Think of any childhood toy you ever wanted - Transformers, G.I. Joe, Bratz, Zhu Zhu Pets, et cetera - and didn't get. You saw your friends playing with them. You begged your parents or guardian to get it for you. They finally cave and try to get you one for Christmas - but it's the hot toy of the year and retailers are sold out. Do you understand when they tell you "I tried, I'm so sorry" or do you just want it MORE? Manufacturers and retails count on this. People don't naturally let go of things - the more we are denied the more we want what we are denied. It's insidious and it works over and over again.

This is not by any means an editorial plea to give up all of your worldly possessions and live a life free of wants and desires. If that works for you great. I like living in a world of vinyl records, paperback books, and electronic games myself. Material things are not inherently evil. The pursuit of them is not inherently evil. I'm not even going to argue Nintendo or other toy/game manufacturers are inherently evil. It's not their responsibility to show restraint in our wants and desires, it is ours, and provided our wants and desires don't cause harm to others they are not evil. If you have a little mad money set aside and it's not taking away from you or your family's need for food, clothing and shelter, buy yourself that toy or game. If on the other hand a scalper buys it before you can and tries to sell it to you for three times the cost, that may be the time to curb your desire and be more disciplined. I know it's hard but I wasn't going to pay more than retail price for the NES or SNES Classic and ultimately didn't have to. I hope for the same for everyone else.

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