The NES Classic was announced last year and released just a few months ago, and everyone — including myself — was excited. Finally, all (30) of those classic games you played every day 20 years ago are now packaged in a small, nostalgic package.

But, it may not be worth your hard earned money.

See, while it retails at about $60 – quite a steal for 30 fantastic games, you’re unlikely to find it at that price in any store nearby, or ready to ship online. Nintendo made the decision to limit distribution – and they continue to do so. Every restock by every reseller is sold out, typically within a day. A large number of those orders are backorders waiting to be filled.

If you want one right away, though, there are some options. You could pay $160 on Amazon from a third party, or get on eBay and pay upwards of $300.

So is it really worth the cost and/or wait?

Well, let’s split this up evenly into some pros and cons that might help us decide.

Pro: 30 classic games from the NES
Con: That’s it, forever. There is no online connectivity, or ability to transfer games from one device to another so…if you were hoping to play Tetris or Contra – you’re out of luck, pal.

Pro: The controllers are EXACTLY the same
Con: Except the cable is small. Stupid small. Maybe Nintendo wanted people sitting on the floor like they used to back in the day, but back in the day, the cables were 2-3x longer and we were STILL sitting on the floor. If you want to sit somewhere comfortably with this thing, you’ll need to buy an extension cable.

Pro: It’s only $60 for 30 great games!
Con: That’s only if you can find it from a retailer that happens to have it in stock. Otherwise, you’re stuck paying at LEAST $160. I’ve seen prices go $300+ for this thing. Plus – how many of us actually played all thirty of those – and how often do we see ourselves playing every one of them? Realistically, probably very little. Hell, you may not even like some of the games – so why pay for them?

There are other factors, like size, sharper image compared to the real thing, no more blowing into cartridges, etc. But…is it worth all the hassle?

I’d say, for $60-$70, you can hop on eBay and buy a working original NES with some games. I recently spent less than $100 and got an original NES and about 10 games.

Now sure, price-per-game, what I ended up buying was more expensive, but I find myself using what I actually bought, and I have the option to buy just about ANY game I want for the NES at any time. Plus it’s an original!!! It’s got the flappy lid, and I get to push down on the springy game-cartridge holder thing.

All in all…

Is the NES Classic edition worth buying? That’s up to you. For me, I’d rather spend a little bit more than $60 and buy the real deal and expand on my own time. There’s something magical, to me, about owning the actual cartridge and being able to call it my own.

These days, no one “owns” anything, we buy permission slips allowing us to play until the next console comes out. The NES Classic might be the closest thing to “owning” some video games on the market right now, but it has its limitations that really make it pale in comparison to the real deal.