An Open Letter to Jim Sterling
This is in response to your 11/28/16 Jimquisition video regarding the NES Classic and the limited production of the same.
I want to start out in saying I mostly agree with you. The units made available for the NES Classic was in no way in accordance with any sort of projected demand. I agree that Nintendo did this on purpose. On these I do not disagree with you, I just can't seem to care and I don't see why any reasonable person should.
1. What are you missing?
The first and most important reason is that there is nothing games-wise with the NES Classic that can't be replicated via multiple vectors. Got a Wii? Virtual console that shit. No Nintendo console? On a computer and feel like racking up a wanted level? Illicit means are not difficult to find (I'll say no more regarding that). On your third strike? Then simply check out this website and grab a couple of these bad boys.That's just off the top of my head. Between digital distribution, re-releases across different platforms, re-sellers and relatively simple DIY hardware and software solutions, there is no reasonable excuse to be unable to find a way to play any of these games if they really wanted to. Even the controllers are easily acquired. If it's not about being able to access the gaming experience, then what's the big deak? The only thing that isn't easily individually reproduced is...
2. The toy
At one point in your video you point out that Nintendo is a toymaker. I agree with that observation, and while I agree that it does have some problematic connotations (laid out nicely by this guy), this isn't one such case. As I wrote above, the gaming experience of the NES Classic can be replicated affordably with relative ease. It's just the adorable little piece of plastic; a toy that just happens to play games. Now I was never bitten by the collector bug. I've never really had the time, space or disposable income for such things. Quite frankly I think the idea could stand to be more widespread that one need not own or possess art in order to appreciate or gain from it (and yes, I believe both toys and games can be art).
I'll lift one foot onto my environmental sandbox and say the level of industrialization necessary to feed collector fan-bases isn't something humanity should be especially proud of. More fanboys could stand to learn to deal with not getting something they wanted, but were in no way entitled to, while the "lucky" ones given the privilege of plunking down $60 for an experience that can be had for less than half that will see their adorable little toy gathering dust after a few months and hopefully check themselves the next time their inner child cries out for something.
3. Amiibos are a bit of a false equivalence
In your video you bring up another notorious and seemingly deliberate instance of Nintendo dragging it's production and distribution feet; Amiibos. The demand for Amiibos far outstripped their availability, especially for rarer models. You were actually less critical regarding these than I thought you'd be. I posit though they're the greater of the two offenses. The software experience of offered by Amiibos, however cosmetic or minor, (mostly) cannot be replicated by other vectors. It's like DLC (albeit, almost entirely trivial DLC) that's contained within a toy, rather than a toy that happens to play games like the NES Classic. This gating of content around an arbitrary physical artifact that has no input to the game besides authentication (unlike say, a controller or an actual peripheral) is something I'd expect you to take greater issue with, if only on principle.
I won't lie. I feel the pull of wanting to bring one of these little cuties home myself. It bugs me that Nintendo has turned this sort of thing into a steady revenue stream. I've stopped getting upset with Nintendo though when they once again try to cash in purely on my or anyone else's sense of nostalgia. It's just happened so many times that I can't get worked up over it anymore, especially when there are way more legitimate bones to pick with their behavior in recent years (as an online creator, I'm sure you can guess a few).
As the oldest living industry Juggernaut, Nintendo occupies a novel space in the games industry. They're like the village elder. Wise, entertaining, but operating on such an old mindset that it's not worth getting upset when every now and then, they crap their pants. Worry not Jim, we've still got the games, and isn't that what really matters?
Thanks for listening,