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How to get a NES Classic without spending $300

Published Nov 21st, 2016 3:21PM EST
NES Classic Edition
Image: Jacob Siegal/BGR

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I’m not sure if you’ve heard, but Nintendo released this tiny new version of the legendary Nintendo Entertainment System. The NES Classic costs $60, comes pre-loaded with 30 of Nintendo’s best games, and as you’d expect, it’s been a massive flop.

Yeah, no. It’s sold out everywhere online, and units are going on eBay for some truly stupid prices. But if you don’t have hundreds of dollars to burn on a retro game console, there’s still hope. With a little craftiness and some good Google-sleuthing, you can buy a NES Classic without selling any organs.

DON’T MISS: Today’s your last chance to get a NES Classic

If you go and check Walmart, Best Buy or Amazon right now, you’ll probably see that the NES Classic is out of stock. But despite that, those retailers are your best bet. Nintendo has confirmed that it’s producing and distributing stock as quickly as it can, and those retailers are shipping consoles as fast as they can.

Walmart is the most predictable retailer. It’s drip-feeding NES Classics with a flash sale at 5PM ET every day. You’ll have to be fast, as the demand is high, and we’ve heard complaints that bots are buying out units just as fast as they come into stock. Walmart has confirmed that it intends to put more NES Classics on sale at 5PM today and tomorrow, so you’ll want to be ready. To get your hands on the console, you’ll probably want to pre-create a Walmart account and enter your information, make sure you’re logged in, and start hitting refresh. (You can also download Chrome extensions to auto-refresh your page every couple of seconds, if you’re feeling lucky.) Experience gained buying concert tickets also tells me that having a couple different devices ready to go will also be helpful. To maximize your chances, try enlisting a few friends with free beer to all try at the same time.

Aside from Walmart, Target and Best Buy also seem to be having stock trickle into select physical stores. The NowInStock website has a handy in-stock tracker for the NES Classic, but its zip-code specific stock checker might be the most useful tool. It lets you search nearby stores for stock, and anecdotally, it works: it shows a New Jersey store 30 miles away as having one console in stock, which a phone call to the store has confirmed. Just be sure to limit your searches as requested by the site, or we might all crash their servers.

In short: look out for Walmart’s flash sale, set up in-stock notifications from NowInStock, keep your eye on physical big-box stores near you, and make sure all your fingers and toes are firmly crossed. If you do end up buying from a reseller, a quick search shows that the Craigslist prices are a little lower than eBay.

Chris Mills
Chris Mills News Editor

Chris Mills has been a news editor and writer for over 15 years, starting at Future Publishing, Gawker Media, and then BGR. He studied at McGill University in Quebec, Canada.