Culture 3 min read

Attack of the Clone NES Classic Minis

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Ace Diamond |

After being discontinued by Nintendo, NES Classic mini knockoff versions are selling at online retailers.

Last April, Nintendo surprised its fans and the video gamers in general when it’s announced the discontinuation of its NES Classic Edition. Since then, the release of the SNES Classic mini has also hit some bumps in the road.

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Why the NES Classic was Discontinued?

The NES Classic Edition is a miniature version of the Nintendo Entertainment System, the beloved ’90s console, keeping its original look and feel.

Coming with 30 packaged classic games (Super Mario Bros., The Legend of Zelda, Pac-Man etc.), the $60 USD console was a huge hit since its launch last November, and has been out of stock throughout its short run.

“NES Classic Edition wasn’t intended to be an ongoing, long-term product.” A Nintendo representative told IGN, “however, due to high demand, we did add extra shipments to our original plans.”

Why would Nintendo cancel one of its most successful products, especially since its other consoles, like the Wii U, failed to create much buzz and were considered flops?

Some believe that the rarity of the NES Classic Edition boosted the sales of the Switch, whether as a marketing trick or due to poor sales estimates.

But, to me, that doesn’t make sense because the NES Classic Edition and the Switch are not competing products. Though both have that retro and nostalgic feel, each console is a different system. Besides, dedicated fans will most likely want both.

With a huge fan base and cult following, Nintendo has a history with collector’s items, and the NES Classic Edition qualifies as one.

Fake NES Classic Edition Hits the Market

After the discontinuation of the NES Classic Edition, its collector’s item status created a whole mini-ecosystem where re-sellers thrived selling units up to ten times its original price.

But re-sellers can’t satisfy demand in the long term. And when there’s demand, someone will come up with a supply, even if Nintendo won’t.

Members of the gaming forum NeoGAF were the first to notice the circulation of Chinese mock-ups of the NES Classic Edition, on eBay and Alibaba.

Selling upwards of $200 USD a unit, the fake consoles look pretty much the same as the original one and it might be hard to tell the difference. Buyers may even get lured by true images of the NES Classic Edition.

Nintendo can end this by shipping original consoles–which is expected this fall. True fans are awaiting (pre-ordering!) the $80 USD newest-old system, the SNES Classic Edition, coming with 21 built-in classic games.

How could you argue that Nintendo is encouraging all of this misleading buzz to drive up the hype for its newest (and oldest) products?

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Zayan Guedim

Trilingual poet, investigative journalist, and novelist. Zed loves tackling the big existential questions and all-things quantum.

Comment (1)
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  1. troychristian August 19 at 3:31 am GMT

    I’m not buying that false scarcity argument that Nintendo is trying to steer gamers to the Switch. As you say, completely different products and audiences. You could make the same argument with why they haven’t released the retro games for iOS and Android. Sega has done well and Nintendo would clean up. Lots of people have mods that are already playing roms on their Android devices.

    As for the NES Classic knockoffs, I don’t see why you’d ever go this route. You could just get a Raspberry Pi console built for gaming ( and play as many games as you want on as many retro gaming systems as you want. Its a no brainer.

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