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Would it be cheaper to buy a real NES and all of the old games off eBay?

... maybe.

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NES Classic box Samit Sarkar / Polygon
Owen S. Good is a longtime veteran of video games writing, well known for his coverage of sports and racing games.

The Nintendo Entertainment System: NES Classic Edition is rather scarce. When you take childhood nostalgia, form it into the perfect living room conversation piece, and launch it right after a globally traumatizing event such as the United States’ general election, it’s a good bet that sucker is gonna sell out! especially when it’s marketed to a demographic that considers every cent of its income disposable.

So! What if you are unable to obtain one? Could you go to, say, eBay and buy a console and each of the 30 cartridges that are installed on the Nintendo Entertainment System: NES Classic Edition? You can! How much will that cost?

The good news is it would be a lot less than the $500 or $1,000 that unscrupulous profiteers are seeking. The bad news is it’s more than the $59.99 the thing is supposed to cost.

So, let’s get to shoppin’! All prices are the lowest listed on eBay as of today, shipping included, within the United States:

The games:

Nintendo Entertainment System and StarTropics: $6.49. Right out of the gate we are saving money! Although we’re also spending more than 10 percent of the Nintendo Entertainment System: NES Classic Edition’s MSRP. Whoops, we also forgot to mention it “needs new pin connector.” That should be easy to find or replace, right? (*googles “pin connector NES”)

Balloon Fight: $6.50. Two games in, and we’re over 20 percent of the Nintendo Entertainment System: NES Classic Edition’s retail price. Ruh roh.

Castlevania: $4.36. The fun part is, this is one cent plus $4.35 shipping

Donkey Kong: $9.25

Dr. Mario: $3.99

Excitebike: $3.99. This may be the first motorsports game on a console to require the user to shift gears manually. I have an automatic transmission option in Forza Horizon 3 but not Excitebike. Go figure.

Galaga: $4.99

Ghosts ‘n Goblins: Every time I say this game’s name I say it like Billy Dee Williams as Harvey Dent does at the craps table in the 1989 Batman movie. (1 minute mark of the following.)

Anyway, $3.82.

Gradius: $7.50

Ice Climber: $18.48. Seriously.

Kirby's Adventure: $5.83

The Legend of Zelda: $3.98

Mario Bros.: $4.36

Mega Man 2: $10.50

Metroid and Kid Icarus: $7.79. Too bad Metroid wasn’t paired with Castlevania, then it could be like every Kickstarter pitch I get every week.

Ninja Gaiden: $4.08

Pac-Man: $3.81

Super C: $15.82

Super Mario Bros.: Fun fact, the title of the Super Mario Bros. theme is “Don’t Look Down, You Bastard.” Well, it was in 1987, when my best friend Richard and I played it, anyway. “Don’t look down, you bastard. Because if you do, you might slip and fall. Don’t look down, you bastard. Just kick the turtle right in the balls ...” I guess you had to be there. $2.80 (plus Duck Hunt.)

Super Mario Bros 2: $4.36

Super Mario Bros 3: $4.36

The Legend of Zelda 2: The Adventure of Link: $2.81

Bubble Bobble: $0.99. Cheapest on the list. Poor Bub and Bob.

Castlevania 2: Simon's Quest: $2.82

Donkey Kong Jr.: $20. This thing has five screws in the cartridge, which explains its price. That extra screw is expensive!

Final Fantasy: $21.11. Most expensive of the bunch.

Punch Out!!: $10.

Tecmo Bowl: $7.50. Like Punch-Out!! it doesn’t have licensing for any real-world athlete. You can get an updated ROM with all 32 current NFL teams and their rosters here.

Double Dragon 2: The Revenge: $3.99.

Grand total: $206.28.

No, freedom isn’t free! There’s a hefty fuckin’ fee. And if you don’t throw in your $206.28, who will.

That’s right, your childhood costs $206.28.

Anyway, all of those auctions are active, so, if you can’t find a Nintendo Entertainment System: NES Classic Edition at your Target or Toys “R” Us, you better get to bidding.

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