30 Years Later: The NES Is Still Out Of Stock

Some of my favorite stories that I write for Nintendo Times are in the Warp Zone section. This unique area of the site is written from the perspective of 30 years ago today. As such, I have done (and continue to do) extensive research into what was happening in the world of Nintendo back then. This involves finding scans from newspapers, old advertisements, news articles, press releases, and then mixing them with my personal memories from growing up in that era.



What struck me today is that Nintendo is having the same supply issues for its NES Classic Edition this holiday season as it did with the original NES back in 1986 – its first holiday on sale nationwide. It had sold well the prior Christmas when it was test marketed in New York. By August of 1986, Nintendo had reached a nationwide audience and it had begun its extensive $2 million advertising blitz.

It was really unknown at the time how well the NES would be received. The video game market was all but dead with the major collapse in 1983 and 1984. Just getting retailers on board to carry a video game system again took a lot of work. That commitment paid off and sales of the NES began to skyrocket in November and December of 1986. In fact, Target had the new console advertised in this week’s circular, but had to place the following update:


Credit: Frank Cifaldi – Alton Illinois Telegraph – Dec. 6, 1986


At least back then you could get a rain check! These days you just have to keep checking online sites and calling stores every day until you get lucky enough to find one. Some things just never change.

If you enjoyed the trip down memory lane, or are simply interested in the history of Nintendo, please continue to check out the Warp Zone. We are constantly adding new (old) content and our reviews are wholly original and written as if from that timeframe.

To those of you still anxiously searching for the NES Classic Edition, I wish you the best of luck. Be vigilant and hopefully you’ll be successful.


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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