Super NES Classic Review and Buying Guide

Holiday Shopping Tips

Just like its predecessor, the mini Super Nintendo classic has been notoriously hard to find. Fortunately, Nintendo has noted the problem and has manufactured more SNES’s for the upcoming holiday season. There are two main way to purchase the console: the traditional method and the secondary market.

Traditional method

The traditional method consists of your typical store outlets such as Walmart, Target, and Gamestop. These and other video game providers allow for some advantages over the secondary market. The first advantage is the price. With traditional means, the retail price is locked in. The mini SNES classic retails at $79.99, which is a great price for this system. The second advantage is trustworthiness. Purchases from traditional retail locations provide a manufacturer’s warranty by default, and also most provide a means of returning the product if it is damaged or parts are missing. With the secondary market, the product is purchased as-is. Here are some tips to finding and purchasing an SNES classic the traditional way.

Don’t be afraid to call stores

With the advent of the internet age, we have the capability to find the phone numbers for all stores in our area with the click of a button. Call and ask the electronics department if they have a shipment of the system in, and if they do not, ask them if they know when the next shipment arrives. Gamestop stores can be especially helpful in the area. Most of those stores have a friendly store associate who is more than happy to let you know what sort of shipping schedule they have been receiving. Lastly, make sure to call right at open and right at close. Usually, these associates will be stocking the shelves or taking inventory and can give the most accurate information.

Don’t be afraid to look outside of your immediate area, especially rural locations

In most cases, one would assume that cities would receive larger shipments than their rural counterparts. But since shipments of the SNES classic are limited, a city store may receive the same number of units that a rural store might as well. Do not be shy about checking in at a store that is further away.

Some of the titles offered on the SNES Classic. Image courtesy of Nintend of America.

Beware Brickseek

Brickseek is an inventory website that shows data about the number of units of any item, including SNES classics, that a store may have. Brickseek warns those that use the website that the number may not just refer to the items on the shelf, but also to the number of the units in the back. Also, sometimes this counter may not be fully up to date. If your local store shows a count of 5 units, make sure to call and verify before wasting time and energy heading out there. Also, if you cannot find any of the item of the shelf, do not forget to ask an associate if they have any units in the back.

Secondary Market

The secondary market is full of the non-traditional vendors such as eBay, Craigslist, and Facebook marketplace. These markets tend to be full of either smaller vendors or single sellers looking to turn a quick profit. This has one major advantage over the traditional market and that is that the product is immediately available. There are no phone calls to make or hunting to do, the snes Classic is ready to be sold to you. Here are some tips when navigating the secondary market.

Find the cheapest price, and don’t forget to haggle

If you are going to buy an SNES classic on the secondary market, the biggest concern will be pricing. The good news is, since the market has more units, demand is not as high. The average price for units is between $120-$150 currently. Expect a small spike during the holiday rush, but for the most part a system can be bought for around that price. Be sure to check various outlets for the cheapest price, and haggle with the owner to try to get an even better deal. Be patient in your search and the right opportunity will present itself.

Use the website(s) ratings system to determine trustworthiness

As always on the secondary market, it is buyer beware. Use any means that are available to determine trustworthiness of the seller. Use the ratings information, read reviews, and trust your gut if something does not feel right. Always either deal in PayPal or in cash. Never give out any credit card information, period. Always ask for a receipt of purchase. Many bulk buyers who flip units for cash offer to give out the original receipt of where they purchased the unit. Also, remember to verify the unit is a Nintendo branded SNES classic. There are many knock-offs floating around. Trust your instincts!

Additional Tips

Buy on the secondary market during the week instead of weekends.

If at a store that locks videogames behind glass, take a look at the bottom of the glass case. Sometimes valuable items are placed behind the new inventory (i.e. Nintendo Switches in front of SNES classics).

If a traditional market website is selling an SNES classic, double check the vendor. It may be a secondary market vendor being sold through the traditional website i.e. Amazon not selling through Amazon.

If you hit the jackpot and find a shipment at a store, put the word out on social media so your friends can get one too!

 Ryan Files is an avid video game consumer, reviewer, and critic hailing from the boondocks of Illinois. He has taken his ethnographic cultural studies background and applied them to his love of geekdom. He is a huge Star Wars nerd, Castlevania fanatic, and his power level is definitely over 9000. When he isn’t online writing about how he misses old school beat em’ ups like Final Fight, Streets of Rage, or TMNT IV Turtles in Time, he raises his brood of 3 Metroid children with the most awesome wife a blerd could ask for. You can reach the mumbly one @moblipeg on Twitter.


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