Why did the SNES Classic manage to bring out the worst in gamers?

I didn’t go out.

I’m constantly playing from behind work-wise, and so I didn’t go out. People were lined up all over the place to get their hands on a Super NES Classic and I wasn’t one of them. Even if I wasn’t busy, I probably wouldn’t have gone anyway, as my desire to stand in line for anything went out the door sometime during the George W. Bush administration.

So I relied on the Internet and social media to show me what was going on out there. At first, I smiled. The Super Nintendo is one of my favorite consoles of all-time, so the sight of people standing in line and excitedly purchasing such a thing made me smile. As I’ve covered here before, it wasn’t so long ago that the video game world dismissed any game more than a few years old. I’d felt like the exception rather than the norm for decades. I should have permagrin over the fact that is no longer the case.

But it’s not.

I started to see people fighting and arguing over it, and this time is wasn’t over an inability to get their hands on one. It appears that Nintendo made good on their promise to produce enough to keep up with demand, at least to the point where most who sought out to get one was able to do so, even with some people buying several. That’s where the fighting started, but not what it was limited to.

 

SNES Classic

 

The ‘scalpers’ were the first targets of nastiness. This isn’t uncommon, but in this case disappointing to see as the natural course of time is going to burn those people this time around anyway. Unless Nintendo’s production numbers come up short in the long game here, there’s no real money for “scalpers” to make this time, so just let the other shoe drop, people. Instead, there were ten times more posts aiming at them than there were sharing the joy of buying one themselves.

Then came the holier-than-thou folks. You know the types. These are the ones who think their ability to hack a Raspberry Pi emulator into everything from old consoles to their grandma’s Keurig makes them into a hybrid of Bill Gates and MacGyver. Since they are able to download illegally dumped content onto a beginner level electronics kit, they think everyone should do the same. There they went again, too, chiming in everywhere they could to talk down to those who might not want to install such things and/or who might want an official product or something.

Then came in the folks who think it’s important to note that they still have the original version of the Super NES, perhaps hoping that the social media crowd will bake them nice fresh cookies for such an amazing life accomplishment. While I’ll be the last person to ever knock someone for taking care of an original classic console, I don’t think it’s relevant to point such a thing out here. I also don’t like it when a new Star Wars movie comes out and people feel inclined to post about seeing the original ones when new. Cue the “congrats on being older” celebration sirens.

Then came all the people responding to all those posts or posting fresh ones to continue the trend. Few posted about how much they enjoyed playing old favorites again, or getting their hands on a legal version of the previously cancelled Star Fox 2. Instead, social media was full of people attacking “scalpers” despite plenty of supply and/or attacking people for simply buying a product they don’t feel compelled to buy themselves.

What’s happened to you people? Video games are about fun, right? Retro video games are about remembering our history and reliving our memories or even catching up on what we missed in the past, right?

Has gaming really forgotten that to the point now where there’s literally nothing that can be announced or released without more sarcastic retort than a Golden Girls marathon? Have we really reached the point where so many can get bent so out of shape by the release of a miniature version of a classic console that the majority of posts make the situation appear free of any redeeming qualities?

I truly hope not.

 

SNES Classic Star Fox 2

 

I’d like to challenge some folks. Next time something neat like this Classic-Edition console comes out and you choose to buy it, just take it home, hook it up, and enjoy it. Don’t even log into social media, don’t take selfies with it, just do like we used to do way back when and play it.

On the flip side, next time something neat like this comes out and you are part of the crowd that chooses not to buy it – don’t. Just go about your mission to download 600 pirated ROMsets into a Bugs Bunny Pez dispenser and let other people enjoy their stuff. It’s not that hard, really. You just go do what you feel compelled to do and others who do the same can just continue on without your input.

I’m almost certain this piece won’t have any real effect. I’m positive that the guy who only looks for one at a busy Target store at 2pm every third Tuesday will still be compelled to yell at Nintendo for his “inability to find one.” I’m positive that the Ready Player One film will be slammed before it even comes out, that next year’s E3 will receive criticism no matter what they do, and that the likely inevitable Nintendo 64 Classic will get the Pi makers all wound up again.

But I had to get it off my chest anyway. If anything, it reminds me of the fact that people used to have fun with this video game stuff, and with that said I’m putting this article in and going off to play something.

I’ll enjoy it.

Author: Patrick Scott Patterson

Patrick Scott Patterson is a 36 year veteran of the video game world. His philosophy states that the past of our industry and culture must be preserved in order to understand where we are and where it is all going.