Nintendo’s NES Classic is available now, by which we of course mean not available at all.
We love NES Classic, a tiny little $60 game machine loaded with 30 of the original Nintendo Entertainment System’s biggest hits like Super Mario Bros. and Ninja Gaiden. It became available today, November 11. It disappeared just as quickly, with the limited supply flying off shelves as soon as most retail outlets opened this morning. Some of them landed in loving homes, and many of them went to eBay, where they are currently selling for upwards of $250, which is what Nintendo’s Wii U would sell for if it could get anybody to buy a Wii U. Anyone who remembers the Great Amiibo Famine of 2015 would start wondering if this is going to be another big whiff on the supply-demand curve from Nintendo on an ongoing basis.
For its part, Nintendo was quick to issue a statement, noting that there will be a “steady flow of additional systems throughout the holiday shopping season.” It declined to say how big that flow would be, when the next wave might break onto the shore, or how one might go about being there in time to catch some of it. Here’s some advice.
What we can definitely say is, don’t bother paying $200 or more to an eBay flipper. The NES Classic is most emphatically not a limited-edition item. Nintendo will make as many of these as it can sell, eventually. It’s just a very conservative company that hates taking risks and would rather underplay its hand. As more units get into the marketplace, the eBay price will come down. So if you do get totally desperate and need to secure one to put under the Christmas tree, it’s very likely that prices will be much lower a month from now.
In case you’re reading this story prior to 5 p.m. Eastern time on the 11th, Amazon has said it will put up its allocation of NES Classic at that time. So you can try your luck there.
And if that doesn’t work out, consider doing a little more research into when stores are going to get their supplies. Keeping an eye on subreddits like r/minines would be a good idea, as users there will likely share information about when stores will receive more units.
If you’re near Nintendo’s store in New York City, it’s likely that, as with Amiibos, Wii Fit, and hot holiday items from previous years, Nintendo will make sure its own store is always stocked first, so try going to the store early in the morning to see if they have new stock in. (Sorry to the 99 percent of you totally unhelped by this.)
And if all else fails, just wait. Maybe even until after the holidays, when you’re sure to see piles of these things in every Wal-Mart (and maybe even in your local supermarket, if Nintendo is smart) from here to Peoria. These NES games have waited 30 years for you to love them again; they’ll still be as good in a few months.