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Nintendo’s Chronic Supply Shortages are Understandable but Unfortunate




Nintendo has to get their act together. They need to fix the constant supply issues that have continuously hounded them for the past few years.

Last year, I praised Nintendo’s decision to release the NES Classic. I saw it as a way that they could market their classic games to children who had never played them or to non-gamer adults nostalgic about their childhood. It seemed like the perfect product to bridge the gap between the Wii U and the Switch and provide enough financial cushion for Nintendo to transition seamlessly between console generations. It seemed poised to succeed tremendously.

That never happened.

Instead, the NES Classic was beset by a bevy of supply issues. There were no preorders and consumers who wanted one either had to search for stock in-person or pay a hefty markup on eBay and Amazon (roughly two to three times the miniature console’s $60 MSRP). Neither Nintendo nor consumers escaped the kerfuffle unscathed. Most consumers couldn’t get the product that they wanted and Nintendo was left with an incredibly popular item suffering from extreme scarcity during the heaviest shopping season of the year.

When the Nintendo Switch went live for preorders, it sold out very quickly, leaving many consumers who wished for a console on launch day out of the loop. Switches have remained hard to get for months, leaving companies like GameStop, and their subsidiary ThinkGeek, to fill the void with bundles. They have taken this to the extreme, bundling seemingly mundane items with hard-to-find products, making profit off of consumers desperate for Nintendo’s latest and greatest items. A lack of supply and a surge in demand have led to profits, especially from limited release items like the NES Classic, being gained by resellers instead of Nintendo.

The NES Classic, while a great idea, ultimately failed to capitalize on its great premise due to constrained supply.

Despite the outrage surrounding the NES Classic’s limited release, it isn’t the first time that Nintendo has disappointed consumers with the release of a new product. The amiibo line has continuously suffered from supply issues, price gouging, and upset consumers since Wave 1 launched in 2014. Amiibo have been in a constant supply shortage, with lesser known characters such as the Fire Emblem series’ Robin selling out almost immediately. It took Nintendo over a year to stock enough Wave 4 amiibo to satiate consumers, by which time the hype had mostly died down for the plastic figurines.

Nintendo’s refusal to bring their supply chains up to a consistent standard is costing them money and causing consumers unneeded amounts of frustration. Their failure to competently bring products to market has damaged their ability to grow market share and has made them (yet again) the laughing stock of the gaming community. If Nintendo is to capitalize on the second chance that the Switch is giving them, they need to iron out the persistent issues that have dogged their supply chain since the release of the original Wii in 2007.

And, supply chain issues it must be.

I don’t, for a second, believe that Nintendo is purposely holding back supply. They aren’t a  small company beholden to the guerrilla-marketing that purposeful scarcity would indicate. They have some of the most marketable brands in the gaming industry and it would be foolish for them to hide such an enticing light under the proverbial bushel. Instead, the problem seems to be with their ability to manufacture more supply, an issue that Nintendo needs to figure before it derails their plans for the Switch. Consumers are willing to patiently wait for the latest and greatest in tech, but patience runs thin after extended delays.

The Switch is an excellent product that Nintendo needs to get into as many hands as possible.

While Nintendo’s corporate conservatism is often given as the reasoning for why such small shipments of hardware make their way to shelves, it is not a good excuse. Nintendo isn’t a company adverse to taking risks, they never have been. They have, more often than any other video game company, attempted to zag while others are zigging. After all, lest we forget, the NES was released at a time when video games, as an industry, were considered an obsolete fad, the DS featured two-screens and lacked the graphical capability of its main competitor, and the Wii was a small, non-HD, motion-control focused console in the days of the Cell processor and Reality Engine. They aren’t averse to risk.

Nintendo has never been afraid to challenge the status quo and unless they are as out-of-the-loop as the Internet has made them out to be, there has to be another issue. There is obvious demand for their products and companies don’t underproduce their products and cut into their profits simply for the fun of it. There must be an integral issue with their supply chain that has made acquiring hardware from them in the past three years such an exercise in frustration.

Even Japan, Nintendo’s home country and one of the closest places on the planet to Foxconn, the Switch’s manufacturer, is experiencing crippling shortages exacerbated by high demand and rampant piracy. If they can’t produce enough product to satiate demand in their home country, which is only a boat ride away from their manufacturer, what does that mean about the health of their supply line and their bottom line?

Here’s to hoping the SNES Classic doesn’t have the same supply issues that plagued the NES Classic.

The Switch, NES Classic, and soon-to-be-released SNES Classic are all a great products that deserve to be in the hands of as many gamers, and non-gamers, as possible. They need to take the time to assess why their products keep failing to launch with enough supply and determine a solution to fix the problem. It isn’t enough to participate in proverbial thumb-twiddling while resellers and distributors cut into their profit margins, they need to act before interest dies down in their still fledgling system.

Nintendo is on the verge of another success story not seen since the release of the Wii over a decade ago. They are on the precipice of building something great with the Switch and they can’t let supply issues place such a great bottleneck upon their potential. They’re too good of a company, with too great of potential, to let such prosaic issues derail their ambitions.

Although a gamer since before I can remember, there is not a better definition of me than these three words: Christian, moderate, and learner. I am steadfast in my Faith, my Beliefs, and in my Opinions, but I am always willing to hear the other side of the discussion. I love Nintendo, History, and the NBA. Currently a PhD Student at Liberty University.



  1. Brent Middleton

    August 5, 2017 at 11:17 am

    Totally agree with everything you’ve said here. I also don’t think that they’re purposefully holding back, but that they’re rather too financially conservative (especially with the recent failure of the Wii U).

    Concerning the Switch, it seems like they’re struggling against Apple and several other companies for parts. They might have to purchase their own manufacturing plant instead of trying to wrestling established ones away from Apple (which has way more money). But, since they are so financially conservative, we might not see a ton more stock until after the iPhone 8 is out.

    Here’s hoping they have enough out for the holiday and Super Mario Odyssey!

    • Izsak “Khane” Barnette

      August 6, 2017 at 2:08 pm

      Thanks for replying, Brent. Your line of reasoning, if true, would make sense. Nintendo needs to figure out problems like that before it costs them marketshare.

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Game Reviews

‘Coffee Talk’ Review: The Best Brew in Town

Coffee Talk is as quaint as your local coffee shop. It’s relatively short, wonderfully sweet, and absolutely committed to the art form of telling a story through a video game screen.



It’s 9:00pm. The rain just started coming down softly a few minutes ago, and the street outside is reflecting the lights above it. Neon signs shine brightly in the distance, although it’s hard to make out the words. You unlock the doors to the coffee shop and wipe down the counters in order to get them clean for the customers. The rain makes a soft sound as it hits the glass and passerby speed up their walking pace to avoid it. The bells chime as a tall, green orc walks in and sits down at your table in silence. You wonder what their story is…

I wanted to set the tone for this review because of how important atmosphere and audio/visual design is in the world of Coffee Talk. While it’s easy to boil the game down as a visual novel-type experience, it’s honestly so much more than that. A unique cast of characters, incredible user interface, and a mysterious protagonist combine to form the most enjoyable experience I’ve had this year on Switch.

Coffee Talk
Some of the subject matter can be pretty serious in nature…

Coffee Talk is beautiful because of how simple it is. The entire game takes place within a single coffee shop. As the barista, you’re tasked with making drinks for the patrons of the shop as well as making conversations with them. The twist is that earth is populated with creatures like orcs, werewolves, and succubi. The relationship between the various races is handled very well throughout the story, and some interesting parallels are made to the real world.

Making drinks is as simple as putting together a combination of three ingredients and hitting the ‘Serve’ button. If a unique drink is made, it will be added to a recipe list that can be referenced on the barista’s cell phone. This is where the awesome user interface comes in, as the phone has a series of apps that can be accessed at any moment in the game. One app houses your recipe list, another acts as a facebook for the characters in the game, one allows you to switch between songs, and the other houses a series of short stories that one of the characters in the game writes as it progresses. It’s one of the coolest parts of the whole experience and helps it stand out from other games in the genre.

Coffee Talk is as quaint as your local coffee shop. It’s relatively short, wonderfully sweet, and absolutely committed to the art form of telling a story through a video game screen.

Coffee Talk cycles between talking with customers and making drinks for them. In the beginning, they will ask for basic beverages that can be brewed on the fly. Later on however, they may ask for a specific type of drink that has a unique title. These drinks often have certain descriptive features that hint at other possibilities in terms of unique dialogue. If the wrong drink is made, you’ll have five chances to trash it and make a new one. If the wrong drink is made, don’t expect the customer to be pleased about it.

The gameplay really is not the focus here though; it’s the characters and their stories that take center stage. An elf with relationship issues, a writer that can’t seem to pin down her next story, and an alien whose sole goal is to mate with an earthling are just a few of the examples of the characters you’ll meet during the story. There are tons of memorable moments throughout Coffee Talk, with every character bringing something unique to the table. The barista develops an interesting relationship with many of these characters as well.

Coffee Talk
Appearances can often be deceiving in this game.

Even though serving the wrong drinks can change some of the dialogue, don’t expect any sort of options or branching paths in terms of the story. It’s not that kind of experience; the story should simply be enjoyed for what it is. I found myself glued to the screen at the end of each of the in-game days, waiting to see what would happen in the morning. The first playthrough also doesn’t answer all of the game’s questions, as the second one is filled with all kinds of surprises that I won’t spoil here.

Coffee Talk is as quaint as your local coffee shop. It’s relatively short, wonderfully sweet, and absolutely committed to the art form of telling a story through a video game screen. It’s an easy recommendation for anyone who loves video games, not just visual novel fans. There are characters in the game that I’ll certainly be thinking about for a long time, especially when the setting brings out the best in them. Don’t pass this one up.

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The Magic of Nintendo: How Mario and Zelda Connect us to Our Inner Child



Magic of Nintendo

Nintendo is special. Many excellent developers depend upon story or progression systems to entice engagement, but not Nintendo. Nintendo games captivate because of their immediate charm. There is no need for a payoff. The games, themselves, are enough: they elicit feelings, hard to find in adulthood. Through intrepid discovery, playful presentation, and unfiltered whimsy, the best of Nintendo connects gamers to their childlike selves.

The heart of any great Nintendo game is discovery and no encounter encapsulates this better than Breath of the Wild’s Eventide Island. First, finding the island requires genuine gumption. Found far from Hyrule’s shore, the island is only clearly visible from other islands, and even then, it’s only a speck in the distance. Reaching the island requires players to brave the open ocean and head towards something … that could be nothing. Then, upon arriving on the beach, a spirit takes all the player’s gear, including clothes and food. Link, literally, is left in his underwear. From there, players must make clever use of Link’s base skills in order to steal enemy weapons and make traps. The scenario creates a marvelous sense of self-sufficiency brought on by one’s own desire to discover. The player comes to the island purely of their own choosing, tackles the sea, and then overcomes obstacles without the aid of their strongest tools. The game turns players into plucky children who are discovering they can take care of themselves.

The intrepidity of Breath of the Wild and other Nintendo greats mirrors the feelings Shigeru Miyamoto, the father of many Nintendo franchises, experienced as a child. “I can still recall the kind of sensation I had when I was in a small river, and I was searching with my hands beneath a rock, and something hit my finger, and I noticed it was a fish,” Miyamoto told the New Yorker. “That’s something that I just can’t express in words. It’s such an unusual situation.” In sequences like Eventide Island, players don’t just understand what Miyamoto describes, they feel it: Apprehension gives way to exhilaration as the unknown becomes a place of play.

 Nintendo’s intrepid gameplay is often amplified by playful presentation with Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island being the quintessential example. The game’s visuals, defined by pastel colors and simple hand-drawings, appear crayoned by a child while the celestial chimes that punctuate the jubilant soundtrack evoke shooting stars. The overall effect cannot be understated. It takes the surreal and turns it real, allowing players to interact, tangibly, with imagination.

Super Mario Odyssey Wooden Kingdom

Even if one removes the presentation and gameplay from Nintendo’s masterpieces, an unabashed creativity remains that bucks norm and convention. The arbiter is fun; reason and logic have no say. For instance, Super Mario Odyssey’s Wooded Kingdom, takes place in a post-apocalyptic setting akin to Nier Automata. Players explore the metal remnants of a civilization that has become a lush home to robotic beings. However, unlike Nier, the dark undertones of the past have no bearing on the game or those who inhabit its universe. The post-apocalyptic setting is just a fun backdrop. It’s as though a bunch of children got together, began playing with toys, and one of the kids brought along his sibling’s adult action figures. There is no attention paid to the context, only unfiltered imagination.

When they’re at their best the creators at Nintendo invite gamers to come and play, like a parent arranging a play date. Pulled along by joyful gameplay that expands in unforeseen ways, players desire to play for the sake of play. It’s a halcyon state of being: No messy thoughts or contradiction, just joy.

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‘Kingdom Hearts III: Re:Mind’: An Utterly Shameless Cash Grab

Coming in at a $40 price point (!!!) Kingdom Hearts III: Re:Mind offers an 80% recycled campaign, a boss rush mode, and some other trash.



Kingdom Hearts III: Re:Mind

In the 15 year long history of DLC, we have seen some really shameless displays. The notorious horse armor incident of 2006 and a notable day one DLC for the ending game of a trilogy notwithstanding, few companies have had the utter audacity to offer so little content for such a high price point. Enter Kingdom Hearts III: Re:Mind.

Coming in at a $40 price point (!!!) Kingdom Hearts III: Re:Mind offers an 80% recycled campaign, a boss rush mode, and some social media nonsense for people who really hate themselves. That’s really it, that’s what you get. Honestly, Square-Enix should be utterly embarrassed by this DLC.

It’s been one year: 365 days, 8760 hours, 525600 minutes, or 31556952 seconds, since the release of Kingdom Hearts III. Let that sink in as you begin the meat of Kingdom Hearts III: Re:Mind. Think of it as the extended version of a movie you really like… you know, the kind where they add 4 minutes to the 120 minute runtime.

Kingdom Hearts III: Re:Mind

Yes, Kingdom Hearts III: Re:Mind, really is that cynical. I’m not kidding when I tell you that the game literally starts with an exact cut scene from the base game, and a cut scene that happens to be available from the theater mode of the main game that you’ve already bought if you’re playing this DLC. Yes, the introduction to this new content is… content you’ve already seen.

In fact, that’s kind of the sticking point here: most of what you get for your hard-earned cash is footage you’ve already seen, and battles you’ve already fought, and story you’ve already experienced, just with slight alterations for context. Remember back in the 2000s, when we were super obsessed with prequels? This is like that, except even more egregious.

Generally I’m not so unforgiving as to call a company out for a forthright cash grab, but that’s absolutely what Kingdom Hearts III: Re:Mind is. There’s just no other way to put it. You might find someone in the marketing department for Square-Enix who would disagree, but being a company that has faced just these sort of allegations for their last two major releases, Square-Enix either doesn’t read the news, or doesn’t care what people think of their products.

Kingdom Hearts III: Re:Mind

Square-Enix was roundly accused of shipping unfinished products in the case of both Final Fantasy XV and Kingdom Hearts III — their two most high profile releases of the last decade. I personally gave mostly positive reviews of both games for this very website but if you want ammo to suggest that this company is deliberately trading on the nostalgia and passion of its fan base in order to make financial headway, there are few examples you could draw from that are as obvious as this DLC.

Look, maybe you’re a really big Kingdom Hearts fan. Maybe you just really wanted to know what the context was for that cliffhanger ending in Kingdom Hearts III. Maybe you just don’t do much research before you buy something. Or maybe… you just really trust this company for some reason.

Hey, I’m not judging… hell, I bought this DLC for $40 same as anyone else. I oughta be honest that I’m not reviewing Kingdom Hearts III: Re:Mind as some holier than thou critic, talking down to you from my position of privilege. No, I’m an angry consumer in this particular case. I’m a person who spent enough to replace a flat tire on my car, or buy my family dinner, on a game that is clearly playing off of my love for a franchise, and using it to bilk me out of money in a method that is so clear, and so concise, that those involved in the entire endeavor should be totally embarrassed for their part in the creation, marketing, pricing, and distribution of this expansion.

Kingdom Hearts III: Re:Mind

Yes, fans had their complaints about Kingdom Hearts III. “Where are the hardcore boss battles? Where are the Final Fantasy characters? Where are the secret areas? Where are the hidden plot developments?” Still, to address these particular complaints by hammering a few minutes or seconds here and there into already existing content is truly like spitting in the faces of the people who have built the house you’re living in.

I haven’t sat in the board rooms at Square-Enix and I haven’t been in email chains about the planning of projects at their company but what I can say is that there is something rotten in Denmark if this is what passes for a satisfying piece of content for the wildly devoted fans of a hugely popular franchise in 2020. Kingdom Hearts III: Re:Mind is literally, truthfully, and succinctly, the worst piece of DLC I’ve ever purchased.

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