Super Mario 64

I recently crawled out of the dark cave in which I reside, eating raw fish and cursing the sun like Gollum, to pick up some groceries. I stopped into my local Target, and there I beheld a truly strange site. Their display for Super Mario 3D All-Stars was packed full of physical game cartridges, with no signs of the post-apocalyptic scarcity I had imagined.

It seems this one turned out pretty okay, I suppose.

Super Mario 3D All-Stars

My friend and fellow Half-Glass Gamer Julian recently called me out for my panic-inducing rants about the difficulty of procuring a physical copy of this game, and he was right to do so. I can admit when I’m wrong, and I was wrong about the Super Mario 3D All-Stars shortage.

However, I will say that I’ve been around the Nintendo-verse long enough that fear of scracity isn’t exactly unfounded.

Who else tried and failed to get a Nintendo Wii at launch? I spent months calling stores and checking online stock trackers before I was finally able to procure one in March of 2007 (the console released in November of 2006). In fact, when I finally did get one, I stopped into a local electronics retailer to pick up The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess and the employee at the store gave me a puzzled look and said, “Do you have a Wii, or are you just buying the game for when you eventually get one?”

And what about the Wii U preorders, which sold out of the Deluxe version within 72 hours? The Deluxe version, by the way, was the one to get due to its increased hard drive space.

And then there was the amiibo shortage of 2014, which we covered not once but twice on the old Half-Glass Gaming podcast. Six years later, amiibo shortages are still a problem (though I haven’t seen any retailer exclusives lately, which is at least a positive step forward).

Do you remember that beautiful Majora’s Mask 3DS? Probably not, because it sold out within 15 minutes on GameStop’s website back in early 2015.

The NES Classic Edition (AKA the NES Mini) was severely understocked when it launched in 2016, with many major retail locations only getting five or six of them and having to turn away long lines of hopeful Nintendo fans.

SNES CLassic Edition

You’d think Nintendo would have learned its lesson by that point, but when the SNES Classic Edition rolled around in 2017, it was in short supply as well. I actually cut out of work (at the office job I was working at the time) on a chilly October morning to stand in line at a GameStop that only had 14 units (if my memory serves). I was one of the lucky 14, and I love my SNES Classic Edition to this day. But there were some very sad folks in that line that morning, and my heart goes out to them. Hopefully they managed to get one later on. Maybe they didn’t.

In fact, even in 2020, getting the Nintendo Switch has been an exercise in futility for many people, and we’re talking about a console that came out way back in 2017.

As you can see, this is an endlessly repeating pattern for Nintendo. Their stock levels are always hopelessly low, and adoring fans are constantly left heartbroken. My knee-jerk reaction to the potential Super Mario 3D All-Stars shortage was based on a long history of similar shortages, not on some late-night Red Bull-fueled conspiracy rabbit hole on YouTube.

So yes, I was wrong about Super Mario 3D All-Stars. Go check your local Target for yourself, and you’re likely to see an abundance of physical copies. But things haven’t always been this rosy at Nintendo, and I have a feeling the next limited-run plastic item they come up with will send collectors like myself spiraling into an abyss of existential doom. It’s the price we pay for loving Nintendo, after all.

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