Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Nostalgia glands ripe for the rubbing!

So the good news, if you're a grown-up manchild (or womanchild) who's still into your sedentary childhood hobbies, is that Nintendo announced that they're going to make a tiny SNES. I will, of course, get to the bad news, but first I should explain to the well adjusted among us what an SNES Classic Edition is and why this is good news. Oh, and buckle up, it's going to get nerdy ahead. If that's not your cuppa, bail now, I'll understand.
Look at these grown-ass adults having fun.
Please, explain to me why people even go outside.
Fortunately for Nintendo, most nerds have a
over-developed nostalgia gland and an
atrophied 'good decisions about money' gland. 
One of the few bright spots during last year's depressing spiral into hopelessness and horror was the release of the NES Classic. It's a shrunk down version of the Nintendo from the 1980's. It came pre-loaded with 30 games, a replica of the original controller, it cost 60 bucks and unlike what you'd find in the used bin at Gamestop, it wasn't encrusted with Dortio dust and no one wrote 'Brad' on it in Sharpie.  Sure, you couldn't load additional games and yes the controller cord was a comically short 30 inches long, but it was Nintendo's way of rubbing our nostalgia glands and it worked like a charm. Then came the fuckery.

"Whoa, whoa, we have enough 
money thank you very much..."
-Nintendo to fans
For reasons passing understanding, retail stores got a super-limited supply, with some getting only one or two in stock at any given time. Amazon got more, but would only sell them to people with Prime subscriptions because business is gross and re-sellers, objectively the lowest form of life on the internet, quickly snatched up as many as they could find and resold them for three to four times as much. And then, in a move completely contrary to my understanding of how business works, Nintendo announced that they'd stopped making the NES Classic. Forever.

You see that's funny because...well, Karate
was a shit game and...never mind.
Weird right? But surely with the SNES Classic, which as you may have guessed is a tiny version of the Super NES, Nintendo will get it right, right? Yes, in many ways they will. This one will come with 21 games as opposed to the NES Classic's 30, but the list is way better. Super Mario World, A Link to the Past, Super Metroid-holy shit, I've become one of those people. You know, like those people that get into a band when they're a teenager and then never move on. Super NES is my 311. Anyway, the point is nobody ever asked for a re-issue of goddamn Ice Climber. I mean, no Dragon Warrior IV, no River City Ransom. But Ice Climber. What, was Karate Champ busy?

Above: Star Fox cosplayers or
possibly furries. It's a thin line.
Anyway, this one's even going to have Star Fox 2. Which, if you're not a video game person, will mean nothing to you, but it's a totally big deal...to indoor kids. You see, Star Fox 1 was an early 3D-polygon game about forest creatures who fly around in starfighters shooting things and doing barrel rolls and it blew our minds in the early 90's. The sequel was designed and ready to go back in 1995 but again, for business reasons, Nintendo cancelled it, put it in a box or something and buried it in the yard.

Don't let it get to you. They're
probably exaggerating. 
Oh, and get this, the tiny SNES is going to come with two controllers. Two! Finally, the original Mario Kart will be able to destroy friendships once again. Remember when game consoles came with two controllers? You know, instead of one controller and a headset through which, with a monthly subscription, you interact online, anonymously, and with complete strangers who are not only 12 and better than you at Halo, but also claim to have sex with various members your family on a regular basis? No? Just me then? Ok.

Pictured: A barbecue-flavored
example of artificial scarcity. 
Now for the bad news. Nintendo says it's going to make way more of the SNES Classic than it did the NES Classic, and that's cool, but they're also not planning on making it for very long. It comes out on September 29th, but they're only going to be shipping them until the end of the year. Like some kind of McRib of video games. Again, I'm not a business guy, but idiots like me are more than willing to pony up again and again for the same dozen games we've been buying and re-buying for thirty years, so what gives? Turns out manufacturing capacity gives.

The official line is that this is a limited run so they can focus on the 3DS and the Switch which makes sense...if their factory is located in Brigadoon.
"Sure, the bag pipes wear thin after awhile, but we couldn't pass up the tax incentives
Oh, and it turns out OSHA can only inspect us once very 100 years, so, it's a good fit for us."
-A spokesperson for
Nintendo of Brigadoon
Above: basically heroin. And I'm not
sure if I think that's good thing or not.
I mean, why not license out to a third party like Sega did with the Genesis? You can't spit at a Best Buy without hitting one of those. Some of us, mainly the afore mentioned man/woman-children who are still into this stuff, remember a time when video games weren't all iterative sequels, item crafting and paid DLC. Our nostalgia glands are engorged and ripe for the rubbing and we will be physically unable to stop ourselves from handing over our money for what is essentially a tiny, plastic drug that plays Donkey Kong Country.

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