The NES Classic Edition gaming console has been such a huge hit that Nintendo has struggled to produce enough units to meet demand. Naturally, Nintendo being Nintendo, rather than build on this success, the company decided to discontinue the product entirely right at the height of its popularity. Were you able to get one? Do you even want one?
Preying on gamer nostalgia, the NES Classic Edition is styled to look like a miniature version of the original Nintendo Entertainment System console and comes pre-packaged with 30 vintage games. Among them are some genuine 8-bit classics, including ‘Donkey Kong’, ‘The Legend of Zelda’, ‘Metroid’, ‘Castlevania’, ‘Mega Man 2’, ‘Ninja Gaiden’, and of course ‘Super Mario Bros.’ 1-3. Unfortunately, the one downside to the unit is that these are the only games it will ever play. Gamers cannot download any additional titles. Nevertheless, for a reasonable MSRP of $59.99, this proved to be immensely popular with both older gamers who owned the original version once upon a time, and younger generations who enjoy the retro simplicity and playability of these old games.
Since its launch last fall, retailers have found it basically impossible to keep the NES Classic Edition in stock. Frustratingly, many wind up in the hands of resellers and scalpers looking to inflate the price and make an easy profit. Currently, third-party sellers on Amazon are pushing it for an average of $300. That’s a disgusting markup of five times the original price. Despite Nintendo increasing production to put more on the market, new units sell out as soon as they come in.
Then, last week, seemingly apropos of nothing, Nintendo announced a sudden end for the NES Classic Edition. Final shipments will be sent to retailers this month. Allegedly, this limited lifespan was planned all along, and Nintendo intends to focus on its Switch console instead. However, it wouldn’t surprise me if the company is secretly planning an upgraded version of the Classic Edition sometime down the line, either with a different selection of games or possibly with download capability. That’s just my own speculation, of course.
I still have my original Nintendo Entertainment System and a handful of my favorite game cartridges. As far as I know, they still work, though I haven’t hooked the console up in a long time. As such, I didn’t feel compelled to get the Classic Edition. It does have some games I wish I could own, though. I also find its ability to upconvert the games to HD via HDMI appealing. (Upconverting the original Composite Video output of the NES is less than satisfactory.) Sadly, I can’t justify spending $300 on that.