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Video Games Send Parents On Mad Hunt

We’ve been saying it for months and so has Computer Entertainer: If you see a Nintendo game on store shelves that you want to have under the Christmas tree, snap it up right away or risk disappointment on December 25. Now that we’re mere days away from the holiday, it’s no surprise to see parents in desperate circumstances to try and get their kids’ wish lists checked off.

With demand through the roof for anything Nintendo related and a chip shortage making the supply lower than it should be, it’s a recipe for disaster. The chances of finding popular games like Super Mario Bros. 2 and Zelda II: The Adventure of Link the week leading up to Christmas is near zero. Our sympathies go out to the retailers who have to work in this mess. As for the parents, we told you so!


Article written by Karen Samples from the Sun-Sentinel:

They’re taking off work. Camping in front of stores. Fighting each other for a place in line.

All in pursuit of The Game.

“If I was a little kid, and I didn’t get a Nintendo for Christmas, I’d be uptight,” said Craig Herman, 20, who waited patiently for a shipment to arrive at the Broward Mall this week. “Any kid that doesn’t have a Nintendo is behind the times.”

For the uninitiated, Nintendo is a video game produced by a Japanese company of the same name. The system, which costs about $100, attaches to a television set. Players plug game cartridges, similar to VCR tapes, into the system and use hand-held controls to move characters on the screen.

The company offers about 375 different game cartridges for $40 each. Games range from baseball to this year’s rage, Super Mario Brothers 2, the quest of two brothers to rescue a princess.

The game has been around for a while, but it became a hot item just after Thanksgiving this year. Stores quickly ran out, and a computer chip shortage in Japan complicated the company’s efforts to meet demand in this country, a company spokeswoman said.

For some parents, getting a system and the latest cartridges has become something of an obsession, similar to the quest for Coleco’s Cabbage Patch dolls four years ago.

For weeks, Arlene Klein of Boca Raton called the Kay-Bee toy store in Town Center at Boca Raton every Wednesday morning, when the store’s weekly shipment arrived.

“They were sold out in 15 minutes,” Klein said.

So one Wednesday she arrived before the store opened at 10 a.m. — and she still could not get one. The shipment had unexpectedly come a day early.

Finally, Klein found the Super Mario Brothers 2 cartridge she was looking for — at Lionel Playworld in Coral Springs.

The children “wanted other things, but this was like the top thing my 5- year-old wanted,” she said. “They’ve got about 30 (cartridges), but they wanted this one. This was the hot one.”

Nintendo fever has driven people to park themselves in front of toy stores hours before they open.

“I came in at a quarter till 8, (an hour before opening), and they were there,” said Trish Austin, assistant manager of Circus World in Hollywood’s Fashion Center. “It was a madhouse.”

Peter Warrick, owner of Warrick Custom Hobbies in Fort Lauderdale, said the systems he got this week were sold in 20 minutes.

“When we were unloading them, people were buying them right off the sidewalk. It was crazy,” he said.

About 20 people waited half the day for a shipment of systems and cartridges to arrive at the Kay-Bee toy store in the Broward Mall. The first Nintendo diehard got to the store at 1 p.m. Ten hours later, the games finally were unpacked and sold.

The shipment was supposed to arrive about 6 p.m., but the truck driver reportedly had an accident at The Galleria mall in Fort Lauderdale, said Davie resident Tim Coluzzi, one of those who waited. That delayed the delivery by about three hours, Coluzzi said.

At least one person, who said she had just left the Kay-Bee store at the Pompano Square, tried to break into the line at the Broward Mall store, said Barbara Parlavecchio of Pembroke Pines.

A mall security guard had to be called in to monitor distribution of the games, Parlavecchio said.

Parlavecchio emerged from the experience unscathed — and with a Nintendo game in hand.

“It turned into a mission,” she said. “I wanted one, and I wasn’t going to leave until I got one.”

Thing is, Parlavecchio was going for a second system — for herself and her husband. Her kids got one for Christmas last year.

“My husband and I play it all the time. We get thrown out of the room,” she said. “It’s more addictive than soap operas.”

Others agree.

Teddie Gross of Boca Raton, one of the few parents not shopping for Nintendo products this Christmas, recalled that her children were mesmerized by the system they received last year.

“They were in their rooms for hours and hours and hours and hours,” she said at Town Center on Tuesday. “It sort of got to the point where I wondered, ‘How healthy is this?’ They didn’t go outside. … I never saw them.”


Craig Majaski

Craig has been covering the video game industry since 1995. His work has been published across a wide spectrum of media sites. He's currently the Editor-In-Chief of Nintendo Times and contributes to Gaming Age.

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