Nintendo NES Classic: What It Is & Where to Find One in Stock

Updated 12/22/2016

What if there was a magical device that would allow you to live the greatest moments of your childhood again? What if there was this thing that let you ditch shady emulator software and ROM downloads and experience some of gaming’s biggest classics without spending lots of money with a collector? Nintendo seems to have thought long about both of those scenarios when it came up with the Nintendo NES Classic.

Released this week, the Nintendo NES Classic was created with gamers in mind. It is styled to look like a miniature version of the Nintendo console that revived the living room gaming market in the 1980s. The Nintendo Entertainment System sold millions. For over a decade, it was where you played every major game release. It’s almost entirely responsible for Nintendo’s huge stable of popular video game characters available on the Super NES, Game Cube, Wii and the Wii U. The $59.99 Nintendo NES Classic allows you to enjoy those characters again, all for one reasonable price.


Unfortunately, its launch is being marred by the same supply issues that put a damper on every Nintendo hardware release. Finding a Nintendo NES Classic is going to be hard this holiday shopping season.

What is the Nintendo NES Classic?

Launched in 1983, the NES Classic was the gaming system of choice for many. It was simple to setup and focused completely on games that people of all ages could enjoy. Super Mario, Zelda both got their start on the console. Other classics that never turned into a franchise – like Duck Hunt – are still at the top of gamer’s favorites lists today.

The Nintendo NES Classic trades off today’s love of yesterday’s games and nostalgia for older Nintendo hardware. Its design invokes the original console’s look; there’s even a fake cartridge flap on the front. It comes in a retro-styled box.


Rather than just remake the console, Nintendo opted to modernize it where it could. Its front has two USB 2.0 ports for controllers. It connects to modern television sets through an HDMI port. It also takes away the big hassle in finding games for the regular NES. Up to two people can play the Nintendo NES Classic, though someone will need to purchase an extra classic controller. The controller that comes with the NES Classic works with the Wii U Virtual Console games. Until now, Virtual Console for Wii and Wii U have been the only way to experience some of these titles.

What Games Are Installed on the Nintendo NES Classic?

At a time when more expensive video game consoles are shipping with one or two free games, the Nintendo NES Classic has 30 stored in its internal memory.


Super Mario Bros, Super Mario Bros 3, The Legend of Zelda, Donkey Kong, Mega Man 2, Pac-Man, Final Fantasy, Metroid, Kirby’s Adventure, Castlevania, Ninja Gaiden, Super Mario Bros 2, Dr. Mario, Punch-Out, Balloon Fight, Donkey Kong Jr., Zelda 2, Excite Bike, Ice Climber, Kid Icarus, Double Dragon 2, Bubble Bobble, Temco Bowl, Castlevania 2: Simon’s Quest, Mario Bros, Super C, Galaga, StarTropics, Ghost’n Goblins and Gradius all come on-board at no extra charge.

One big change made to these games to better accommodate modern tastes is saving. The Nintendo NES Classic supports saving so that you don’t lose progress if you should die in the game or lose power for some reason. Originally, none of them offered that.

How to Find the Nintendo NES Classic in Stock?

Finding the Nintendo NES Classic in stock is going to be very, very hard. Like it did with the Wii U and Wii, Nintendo seems to have bet on not making that many. No stores had enough Nintendo NES Classic stock to hold pre-orders, it seems. It’s a mad rush to pick big box stores and websites clean.

Amazon plans to begin selling the Nintendo NES Classic in stock at 5PM Eastern Standard Time on November 11th. Theoretically speaking, the move allows the quick-fingered to make their purchase as soon as possible. Amazon is turning off one-click purchasing for the Nintendo NES Classic to make everything fair.


Best Buy had the device in stock, but is only showing limited quantities right now. Its stock system is getting hit so hard for the Nintendo NES Classic that you can’t find out if the device is still available in one of its stores.

There was one major retailer that still had the device in stock: Target. Shoppers can use the site’s online tool to find out if there are still units available in their area. GameStop is showing no availability at all. It also didn’t offer pre-orders.


To check these stores, for stock throughout the holiday season, you can try The site recently added a tracker for the Nintendo NES Classic.

Best Buy NES Classic Stock Update

Best Buy has restocked the Nintendo NES Classic at hundreds of locations in the United States as of December 20th.

GameStop NES Classic Stock Update

As of December 21st, GameStop has starting receiving Nintendo NES Classic consoles again too. They’re arriving in waves, and absolutely anyone can pick one up. There’s no setting them aside for later purchase or reserve, since they’re being sold on a first-come, first-served basis. GameStop says that it won’t use the door signs to let shoppers know that they’re available. As such, the best idea is to call before heading there.

When Will the Nintendo NES Classic Be in Stock

For now, the Nintendo NES Classic is completely sold out. You can’t find one anywhere, with some attributing the shortage to Nintendo not making nearly enough. The company hasn’t commented on those rumors, but has declared that more devices will arrive on store shelves at a steady pace.

Good luck trying to get your hands on the Nintendo NES Classic this holiday season.