With a competitive price, a nostalgia-evoking premise and a near-Christmas release date, it seemed like the Nintendo Classic Mini: Nintendo Entertainment System was a shoo-in for best-selling tech gift of the holidays – if only they had made enough, as not even a week after launch you cannot find one at RRP to buy , of course, like every big Christmas toy you can go out to eBay and pay twice or three times more for it, but is it really worth it ?
What even is a Nintendo Classic Mini: Nintendo Entertainment System?
The Mini is a tiny box that plugs into your TV and lets you play 30 classic video games that were originally released on the Nintendo Entertainment System (or NES). The main selling point (besides being an easy way to play 30 legitimately great 80s and 90s games from Nintendo and a handful of other developers) is that the whole thing is styled to look like a tiny version of the NES that was released here in 1987. It also comes with a full-sized replica of the original NES controller.
Not to be confused with a Raspberry pi in a NES controller or a hacked NES case this is just an OFFICIAL Nintendo release.
When will Nintendo release more?
While many people apparently expected this to go down like an iPhone launch — with heaps of supply and, at worst, only a long line or a few weeks’ wait to go through in order to get one — Nintendo has played it a lot more like the release of a niche, limited collectable.
This is a familiar story with Nintendo, which also had massive shortages of its popular Wii console and some of its amiibo figurines after launch. Many have speculated that Nintendo does this on purpose to drive the perception its products are in demand, but it’s also possible that — as a very conservative company — it just doesn’t want to risk overproducing. Unlike a company like Apple, which sells iPhones through its own channels and authorised resellers, Nintendo sells primarily through games retailers which will ask them to buy back any unsold stock. Of course in the case of the Mini, global demand should have been fairly easy to gauge from the outset.
Can I buy one from overseas?
The Mini is powered via a standard Micro USB, connects to the TV via HDMI and has support for several languages, so buying one from overseas should be totally fine. Except this shortage thing is global.
The United States, arguably, had it even worse than us because the bulk of consoles there were never even up for pre-order. People had to fight it out in the stores on the morning of the launch and now the likes of Amazon and Best Buy are scheduling online orders for the few remaining consoles.
Stock in the UK and elsewhere in Europe also seems sparse, if online complaints are anything to go by. Japan doesn’t have any Minis of course, because the NES was never released in Japan. A Mini Famicom was released there, but even if you were fine with a version of the machine that doesn’t look like an NES, is in Japanese and has a different set of games, you’d be out of luck because it’s sold out everywhere.
Unfortunately, as is often the case, many of the people who have managed to get their hands on a Mini are now flipping it on eBay or Gumtree at anywhere from two to 10 times the retail price.
There are enough of them online now that you should be able to pick one up for between $200 and $300 if you really want to, but remember to be extremely cautious. Always check the seller’s history to make sure they’ve sold items before and have decent feedback.
Also, read the description very carefully. Some unscrupulous hawkers are trying to sell the packaging only and keep the console for themselves, and in at least a couple of instances people seem to have actually payed $100 for something they’re bound to be extremely disappointed by.
oh no!!! Is there another way to play these old games?
YES OF COURSE – Heres a few GREAT suggestions…
- Emulate, Emulate, Emulate – Heres the roms... You can emulate NES on ANY device, from your android box, to your PC, from your old Xbox to your Wii and everything (hackable) in between….
- Go on a quest for every NES game EVER
- Download the Bolt-on Edition and have this and loads more consoles ready to go…
- For a real retro trip you could go out and find some original hardware. Be aware these are now 30 years old – you can buy 400/500 in 1 games carts from some dodgy eBay seller, so at least you will have x10 the number of games included in the Mini…
Is the Mini even worth all this fuss?
We’ve read reviews that have been pretty positive, the negative being the cord from the controller to the console is too short, you can already buy some cheap NES MINI CONTROLLER EXTENSION CABLES which solve that problem, so other than that?
Like anything if your a non-tech person who just wants some nostalgia then this is for you, however if you are nostalgic about the SNES, Mega Drive/Genesis and a few other systems then you are better off with a mini build plugged into that nice TV of yours……