The disappointment of nostalgia

Published 7:23 am Sunday, April 23, 2017

The business of nostalgia is tricky, and apparently you can’t wait on it.

I was excited last year at the thought of picking up an NES Classic, a version of the old Nintendo preloaded with 30 classic games.

But when I went to get one earlier this month, I found myself a few days too late. Nintendo pulled the plug on the edition, saying it would send out one last shipment. That put the gaming system in high demand, as prices online jumped through the roof. Units that were selling for around $60 are now as high as $300 on Amazon.

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Growing up in the early 1990s, Nintendo was the first gaming system my family owned. My sister and I would come home from school and play the first three Mario games. I remember marathon endeavors to pass the games — especially on holiday weekends — and how fun it was learning the weird secrets of the games. Just remember where all the whistles were hidden on “Super Mario 3.”

So when the NES Classic was announced, I was excited to get to play those old games again, and I briefly put it on my early Christmas wish lists.

But then Nintendo’s release was plagued by supply issues as there were too few systems to meet the demand. So I dropped it from my list, figuring I’d just get it later.

As a casual gamer, I got busy early this year and forgot about the system until Easter approached, when I thought how fun it would be spending part of the weekend like old times.

And that’s right when it was announced that it’d be discontinued. Sometimes you have the worst possible timing.

For us casual gamers eager for a taste of nostalgia, it’s a bitter end to the storyline of the NES Classic. It appears that if we were banging down the door at stores the minute shipments rolled in, we stood little to no chance of getting an NES — unless we wished to spend $300 online.

From calling around to a few stores looking for a system, it appears I’m not alone in this. Stores say the units are next to impossible to find, and that people are eagerly trying to secure the last shipments.

I’m left feeling like this was an experiment by Nintendo gone horribly wrong. They aimed to test the waters, found it hotter than they anticipated and then they ran for cover.

I’m left feeling like I just had my nostalgia played like a fiddle with little regard — this tantalizing product was dangled before me and then zipped away.

I’m likely not the only one who will meet the next Nintendo product announcement with an added level of skepticism after how the NES Classic was handled.