How to buy a GameCube

by Billy Berghammer - November 5, 2001, 8:31 am PST

GameCube is set to launch in North America in a little more than a week, and we’re here to help you get a GameCube efficiently. It’s been a long wait, so why be troubled with fighting with people?

When the N64 was released back in 1996, I was one of the first people in Milwaukee, Wisconsin to get my hands on a Nintendo 64. I pre-ordered my N64 at a Software Etc. about a year before release, and even though I was more than guaranteed a system at launch, I was prepared, and got my system early, and at suggested retail price. I’m not saying I’m a shopping expert, but with proper planning, you should be able to land a GameCube on launch day, or even early.

Nintendo’s official release date is November 18th. As you’ve probably noticed this happens to fall on a Sunday. According to our sources, most major retailers should be receiving their GameCube systems, and hardware as early as Wednesday the 14th. Could history repeat itself and the street date get broken again? Realize that Microsoft’s X-Box is due to release on the 15th. If one major chain store breaks the date, more could follow suit, as in 1996 when the N64 was released. If I remember correctly, it was a K-B Toy Store that began selling their N64’s on the 26th, 3 full days before the system was to be released. After that it was a domino effect, and stores all over the US had broken the street date for the N64. Gamers got their collective game on early. It was beautiful! This will probably happen once again.

Which stores are most likely to break the dates first? Most likely your local “Mom and Pop” type non-major-chain type of store. If you’re geeky enough to read this site, you know where they are already. Give those stores a call and find out when they’ll be selling. Due to the fact that the local stores are lower on the radar than chain stores, they might take a chance and sell the second the boxes get off the truck. If that happens, other stores (most likely the mall stores) could follow suit. We’ve also heard talk that major chains have been given the green light to sell early if other stores break the street date. Why? Because stores will be getting their GameCube’s just in time for the X-Box launch. Due to the fact that there’s a good chance there will also be an X-Box shortage, I’m sure Nintendo wouldn’t mind it’s little wonder to be available if there’s not enough X-Boxs out there.

So unless you have a pre-order in on a GameCube are you screwed at launch? Not exactly. Just make sure you are on the phone during launch week and planning your strategy. It's a very good idea to call your local stores, as well as the chain stores like Best Buy, Target, or Walmart to see when they are planning on receiving their systems. Also ask if they will be selling early. Color allotment is supposedly going to be a 50/50 split between Indigo and Jet Black, so if you want a certain color, make sure you specify what you are looking for. Set up a game plan, and start now. Make a list of phone numbers of the closest Video Game outlets in your area. Go down the list daily, and keep an eye on Planet GameCube. We’ll post the second we have proof a GameCube sale has been made. If you get a GameCube early, feel free to let us know by sending us mail at news@planetgamecube.com. A picture or scan of your receipt, or some sort of proof would help for verification that the sale was valid.

If you’re up for camping, there’s plenty of people that are planning on camping all over North America. Head over to

our forums and see where people in your town are planning to camp, or start up your own camp group. If the date isn’t broken (not likely), camping with other Nintendophiles can be a heck of a lot of fun.

If you don’t want to deal with launch woes, some pre-order offers are still available. If you’re not looking to pre-order a package deal, system only pre-orders are currently close to impossible to find. Camping out, or making sure you are at a store early on November 18th will help your chances considerably. Why is this? Nintendo has allocated most of their systems out to the major chains and distributors -- stores like Best Buy, Toys R Us, Walmart, Circuit City, and Target. Mall stores like Electronic Boutique, Funcoland, Software Etc, Babbages and the like will be getting systems, but their allocation will be less then the larger chains. This not only causes problems, but creates a shortage.

Wait a sec. Did I just say that there’s going to be a GameCube shortage? If GameCube sells as well as Nintendo is planning it to, yes, there will be a shortage. Why would Nintendo want to have a shortage? You would think that Nintendo would want to sell as many GameCube’s as they could. Shortages lead to an extremely large amount of free publicity. Both Nintendo and Microsoft are dumping millions of dollars into their launch campaigns, but having your system catch the Cabbage Patch Fever syndrome is a companies dream. Look at the Playstation 2 launch last year. How many times did you see Playstation 2 on the news, hear about it on a radio station, or read about it in the newspapers? Did it hurt Sony in the long run to have a shortage? Not really. Having your product as one of the most desired and sought after items during the holiday season is a goal for Nintendo.

This is the main reason why you’ve seen the popularity of Package deals. Due to the fact that there are so few systems to go around to all the different retailers, stores can and will continue to offer these package deals. Most of these are at inflated prices. Distributors are already selling stores units at a higher rate. Usually it's the "Mom and Pop" stores who get the pinch. What does this mean to you? You’ll begin to see package deals, and just consoles alone going for a much higher price. It’s already happening now! Looking around on the net today, I’ve seen prices inflated from $50 to $100 on systems and packages. Once launch has hit, expect to see GameCubes on sale at auction sites and in your local paper at inflated prices.

Be weary of fraudulent places selling GameCubes online. I could write an editorial on this subject alone. There were a lot of people getting ripped off last year during the PS2 launch. I’ve heard plenty of horror stories to make anyone weary about buying things from off retailers or on E-Bay. From credit card fraud to a person buying an empty PS2 box. It can happen. That’s why I highly suggest either pre-ordering (if you still can) from somewhere reputable, or just going to a retail outlet and picking one up on launch day. At least then you’ll have a GameCube in your hands.

The North American GameCube launch is almost here, and Planet GameCube (PlanetN2000 and OperatioN2000) is happy to have been there every step of the way. We want you to have a safe, smart, and extremely enjoyable GameCube launch. With a few simple preparations, very soon you will have your hands on the best video gaming can offer, the Nintendo GameCube.

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