"Holy shit." That's what I said when I first saw the limited edition Majora's Mask New 3DS XL during the Nintendo Direct earlier this week — when I first felt that overwhelming need that fueled a post about limited availability that's so far racked up over 1.5 million page views.
I had the money. I had constant updates on availability via our own Jason Schreier. I had at least three different chances to pre-purchase one of the beautiful things that I craved so dearly.
Thursday afternoon I went to my local game shop and put down $100 on a New 3DS XL — a red one. Why? I didn't need the hassle.
Every time a new console color comes out or a handheld system gets a sexy limited edition, I feel that wonderfully painful yearning, that yawning ache. Someone else will get this, and I'll be stuck with my plain old PlayStation or Xbox or PSP or Vita or 3DS. I've traded in perfectly good hardware at a substantial loss in order to acquire the exact same hardware in a different color.
The last time it was the Zelda 3DS XL, that gorgeous, Triforce-laden golden god of a portable gaming machine. Red and black 3DS XL had served me well, but I handed it over for a relative pittance in order to secure a shinier color.
Here's that Zelda 3DS XL today.
Scratched and scuffed and slightly smudged. I dropped my 3DS out of my pocket onto the concrete floor of a parking deck a week ago. It bounced. Several of the corners were nastily chipped, to the point where the white plastic beneath the gold paint shone through.
I was horrified, at first. This was my baby, my pride and joy. Then I opened it up and turned it on and suddenly those scratches didn't matter so much. As long as what was going on inside — the bits that brought me games like Fire Emblem and Pokemon Alpha Sapphire and Project X Zone and Style Savvy: Trendsetters (shut up) — were intact, I was fine.
Of course the Majora's Mask New 3DS XL isn't quite the same story. It's brand-new hardware, an upgrade to anything else you might be carrying around in your pocket. Well, so's the black New 3DS XL. Also the red one.
I could have bought a Majora's Mask New 3DS XL. I would have brought it home and treated it like a baby. Maybe I would find a nice case for it, covering up that striking design so no harm would come to it. I'd be hesitant to slip it into a backpack in case my keys or some coins might scratch it. I certainly wouldn't walk around with it naked in my pocket.
So instead I bought red.
It's really quite lovely. I like the way the "A" button's pink lettering marries with the dark red buttons, as if to say "Don't worry; your thumb will be over me far too often for this to matter." I enjoy the fact that it will play all of the games I want it to play. Plus, if I feel the need to cover it with a protective case, I don't have to worry about hiding some meaningful design from the rest of the world. "See this red here? Just imagine that all over."
I'm not saying you shouldn't follow your dreams of owning a limited edition console. I'm not excusing Nintendo for not simply making the Majora's Mask New 3DS XL just one of the new models available at launch, sidestepping the topic of scarcity altogether.
I'm just saying that, in the unfortunate case that your efforts to obtain one of those coveted machines fall flat, there'll be a couple of perfectly capable solid colors waiting, ready to do everything the Majora's Mask New 3DS XL can do — with a lot less hassle.