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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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Best Video Game Soundtracks 2019



Best Video Game Soundtracks 2019

Awesome Mixtape Vol. 5

It’s that time once again in which I bring to you my awesome mixtape featuring the best tracks from the best video game soundtracks of the year. Last year, my mixtape featured tracks from Triple-A titles such as Red Dead Redemption 2 and indie darlings like Celeste. In 2017, my picks for best soundtracks included tracks from some of my favorite games including Cuphead, Breath of the Wild and Into the Woods, to name just a few. Well, 2019 has been another banner year for the industry and as always, the games were blessed with an astounding selection of musical scores— some would argue the soundtracks were even better than the actual games at times. As always, it wasn’t easy deciding which songs to include and what to leave out— and as always, I’ve also mixed in some audio clips from various cut scenes while trying to keep it spoiler-free. Feel free to share this link and let me know if you think I’ve missed any great soundtracks in the comments below.

Best Video Game Soundtracks 2019 Playlist

Death Stranding clip
Death Stranding
: Low Roar – “I’ll Keep Coming”
Life Is Strange 2 clip
Life is Strange 2: Seyr – “Colour To Colour”
Life is Strange 2: Jonathan Morali – “Into the Woods”
Life Is Strange 2 clip
Sayonara Wild Hearts: Daniel Olsen – “Sayonara Wild Heart”
Sayonara Wild Hearts: Daniel Olsen – “Wild Hearts Never Die”
Death Stranding: CHVRCHES – “Death Stranding”
Afterparty clip
Untitled Goose Game – Dan Golding – “Title and Credits”
Afterparty: scntfc – “Hades Gonna Hate”
Afterparty: scntfc – “Schoolyard Strangler”
Untitled Goose Game – Dan Golding – “The Garden”
Octopath Traveler: Yasunori Nishiki – Main Theme
Octopath Traveler: Yasunori Nishiki – Cyrus the Scholar
Kingdom Hearts 3 clip
Fire Emblem Three Houses clip
Fire Emblem Three Houses: Yuka Tsujiyoko, Hirokazu Tanaka – “Main Theme”
Fire Emblem Three Houses: Yuka Tsujiyoko, Hirokazu Tanaka – “Blue Skies and a Battle”
Devil May Cry 5 clip
Devil May Cry 5: Kota Suzuki – “Urizen Boss Battle Music”
Untitled Goose Game – Dan Golding – “The Garden”
FAR: Lone Sails: Joel Schoch – “Colored Engine”
Days Gone: Nathan Whitehead— “Soldier’s Eye”
Death Stranding: Low Roar – “Easy Way Out”
Death Stranding clip
Death Stranding: Low Roar – “Easy Way Out”
Metro Exodus: Alexey Omelchuk – “Main Theme”
Resident Evil 2 Remake clip
Resident Evil 2 Remake: Masami Ueda, Shusaku Uchiyama, Shun Nishigaki – “Mr.X Theme Music (T-103)”
Sayonara Wild Hearts: Daniel Olsen – “Begin Again”
Life is Strange 2: Lincoln Grounds, Pat Reyford – “Morning Good Morning”
Life is Strange 2: Sufjan Stevens – “Death With Dignity”
Luigi’s Mansion 3 clip
Luigi’s Mansion 3: Koji Kondo – “Main Theme”
Ape Out: Matt Boch – “Intro”
Deltarune: Toby Fox – “Field of Hopes and Dreams”
Return of the Obra Dinn: Lucas Pope – “Loose Cargo”
“Star Wars: Imperial March” Hip Hop Remix
Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order: John Williams and the London Symphony Orchestra
Death Stranding: Silent Poets – “Asylum for The Feeling”
Catherine: Full Body: Shoji Meguro – “Tomorrow”
The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening: Koji Kondo – “Marin’s Ballad of the Windfish”
Metro Exodus – Alexey Omelchuk: “Teardrops”
Sekiro: Yuka Kitamura – “Ashina Reservoir”
Return of the Obra Dinn: Lucas Pope – “The Doom”
Medley: Eye of Death / Wild Hearts Never Die / Dragon Heart / Clair De Lune

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Game Reviews

‘New Super Lucky’s Tale’ is Polished, Pleasing Platforming



Streamlined, focused, and tons of fun, New Super Lucky’s Tale is a fantastic reworking for the Switch that absolutely nails the lighter side of Nintendo-style 3D platforming. Tight controls and a nearly flawless camera support running and jumping challenges which more often than not emphasize creativity over complexity, and it’s all set against a colorful, pun-filled, charming world full of quirky characters and light satire. Though the experience is not as epic or razzle-dazzle as something like Super Mario Odyssey, developer Playful has wisely trimmed the collect-a-thon fat that so many others in the genre employ in order to pad play time. The result lasts long enough to satisfy, yet also instills a fervent desire to see more adventures from its fearless, furry hero.

New Super Lucky's Tale carnival

In the fine tradition of its gaming ancestors dating back to the N64 days, the basics of New Super Lucky’s Tale revolve around acquiring arbitrary objects sprinkled through various stages in order to unlock doors and move on to the next area. This time it’s pages from the mystical Book of Ages, which contains the power to travel between worlds, and is the endgame of an nefarious cat sorcerer named Jinx and his gang of cartoonish thugs, the Kitty Litter. As part of a secret organization sworn to defending this kiddie-friendly Necronomicon knockoff, it’s up to Lucky to track down as many of these clover-embossed pages as he possibly can, and hopefully complete the book before his nemesis can get his claws on it.

It’s doubtful that the story will be what compels most players to keep going, and to that end, New Super Lucky’s Tale‘s simple setup also fits right in with its genre brethren. Still, Lucky is an amiable and upbeat fox to follow around, and Playful does an excellent job of surrounding him with a cast of gibberish-spouting weirdo goofballs that includes hayseed grub worms, supremely zen Yetis, loyal rock golems, and slick carny ghosts. Though their dialogue does little to drive any sort of narrative, it is endlessly amusing and often witty in its cheesy wordplay. In other words, the writing has a very Nintendo-like feel in its eccentricities that adds to the overall fun.

New Super Lucky's Tale factory

Those jokes would be less endearing without fantastic gameplay, but New Super Lucky’s Tale delivers some of the best running and jumping this side of Mario. Though this fabulous fox can’t quite match the plumber’s precision, Lucky does feel extremely responsive, and has a nice sense of weight and momentum that never feels out of control. He also comes out of the den with a well-rounded moveset, including a nifty double jump, a swishy tail (a la Mario’s spin punch), and the ability to burrow under ground. These moves can be chained together to create a satisfying flow both when exploring 3D stages and side-scrolling ones alike, and will surely inspire players to use them in creative ways in order to access seemingly out-of-reach spots.

And they’ll have to if they want to find all four pages hidden in each stage. New Super Lucky’s Tale requires a bare minimum of these leaflets to be found (and simply beating the stage merits one as a reward), but it’s in rooting around those nooks and crannies where much of the fun lies, and it gives the developer a chance to squeeze every ounce out of the unique mixture of environments they’ve created. From the assorted carnival games of a haunted amusement park to a beach party dance-off, there are a surprising amount of different things for Lucky (and players) to do here, with hardly any two stages ever feeling alike. One 3D level might task Lucky with casually exploring a farm as he gathers up the members of country jug band, while a side-scrolling obstacle course sees him dodging canon fire from an airship piloted by a feline Napolean. Some stages have a platforming bent, while others emphasize searching out secrets tucked away in mini puzzles.

New Super Lucky's Tale farm

It’s an absolutely delightful mix, and that sheer variety keeps New Super Lucky’s Tale fresh all the way through to the epic battle with fat cat Jinx himself. And though platforming veterans might find the overall challenge a bit too much on the friendly side, a few of the later bosses and and bonus stages may make that 100% goal a little tougher than it at first seems. And yet, it’s hard not to want to go back to incomplete stages or that block-pushing puzzle that stumped the first time around; the brisk pace and clever design will likely compel many players to find every scrap of paper out there.

No, Lucky isn’t the second coming of Mario, but there are few 3D platformers that offer such a polished, concise, joyful experience as New Super Lucky’s Tale. It may have taken a couple of efforts to get there (and for those who have played the original Super Lucky’s Tale, levels and bosses have been reworked here), but Playful has nailed a balance between creativity and efficiency that begs for more. 

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How Do ‘Pokemon Sword and Shield’s’ Max Raid Battles Measure Up?

Max Raid Battles are one of Pokemon Sword and Shield’s premier new features. Do they live up to their full potential? Let’s find out.



max raid battles

One of the most heavily promoted new features of Pokémon Sword and Shield have been their Max Raid Battles. These gargantuan fights are both a key part of the online experience and likely the first taste most players will get of Dynamaxed Pokémon in-game. So, how’d this take on Pokémon Go’s raid system pan out in the series’ first mainline entry on console?

Well, on the plus side, getting into the thick of a raid is super straightforward. After the opening hour or two, players are introduced to the Wild Area and can access Max Raid Battles straight away by walking up to a pillar of red light on the field. From there you can invite others, challenge the raid with NPCs, and choose which Pokémon you want to use.

Real Friends Raid Together

Playing with friends online, though, is a bit more convoluted. There’s no “Invite Friends” option to be seen. Instead, all social features are handled through the Y-comm (literally accessed by pressing the Y button). It’s here that players can Link Trade, Link Battle, exchange player cards, and more.

After actively connecting to the internet–which has to be done each play session and each time the Switch is put into sleep mode–it’s up to the host of the match to find a portal and send an invitation to everyone. A notification will pop for friends on the side of the screen, and then it’s up to everyone to join the match directly through the Y-comm interface.

If players want real people to fill in any remaining slots (all raids are four-person affairs), they’ll need to join before the room fills up. Setting a Link Code avoids this hassle by creating a room but, unlike Salmon Run in Splatoon 2, only computer players can fill remaining spots after friends finish joining this way.

After some experimenting and fudding about, my buddy and I were able to hop into matches fairly quickly without much issue. Nonetheless, it’s hard to shake the feeling that creating friend lobbies is only such a headache because it had to be tied to the Y-comm. Pair this with the fact that battling while waiting for a friend to create a room can cause the notification not to pop, and getting a group together is a bit more painful than it should be.

Max Raid Battle Rundown

The raids themselves are a surprisingly engaging twist on the classic Pokémon battle formula. Groups of four challengers work together to take on a Dynamaxed raid boss. Each raid boss has a different star rating, and even the 1-star battles are no joke the first few times around. These boss Pokémon are merciless, and regularly one-shot lower leveled ‘mons with ease.

To combat these monstrous foes, one random trainer in every group is granted the ability to Dynamax their chosen Pokémon and lead the charge. The Dynamaxed Pokémon gets the benefit of having extra-powerful moves and increased HP, though it’s rather disappointing that there only seems to be one Max Move per move type (one Grass move, one Dark move, and so on). Each of these has a secondary effect on the battlefield; some trigger sandstorms, others trigger a health regeneration field that heals everyone a bit each turn. Regular moves with type advantages deal a significant chunk of damage, but it’s Max Moves that can truly turn the tide of battle.

If one of the group’s Pokémon faints, that trainer has to sit out for a turn before it automatically gets revived (a smart design choice to keep all trainers actively involved). However, the fainting of each Pokémon triggers the storm above to become more and more vicious. After four faints or ten turns, everyone is booted out of the raid sans rewards.

max raid battles

The Fruits of Victory

Two of the easiest ways to better your odds are 1) Choose a Pokémon with a type advantage going into battle, and 2) Manage who Dynamaxes when. Each trainer’s Dynamax meter grows periodically and, though only one trainer can use it at a time, multiple players can activate it over the course of a raid. It also seems like each raid’s star rating is tied directly to the raid boss’ level, so bringing a generally powerful Pokémon to a lower-level raid is another viable strategy for success.

Aside from the chance to capture the raid boss itself (and some Pokémon are Max Raid Battle-exclusive), winning a raid nets players some very worthwhile rewards. These include everything from EXP candies and berries to nuggets and TMs. It’s not so much of a haul that it hurts the overall balance of the game, but there’s enough to make getting a few friends together and grinding raids for a couple of hours worth it.

max raid battles

Though Max Raid Battles are just a small part of the overall Sword and Shield package, they’ve ended up being a rather fun take on Pokémon’s traditional multiplayer offerings. For as unnecessarily complicated as playing with friends is, there are also a few cool ideas here, like being able to join a raid from anywhere on the map as long as the host is at the raid pillar. There’s some good fun to be had here if you prefer to battle alongside your friends instead of against them.

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