Even if you were quick on the draw, chances are you weren’t able to preorder the adorably small $US80 ($AU101) Super Nintendo that Nintendo’s retail partners put up this week.
You might’ve signed up for a Target.com account ahead of time, and you might’ve had the product page set aside in a window by itself. Maybe you closed all your other browser tabs, and made sure nothing else was using bandwidth. You might’ve even managed to be near a computer to take advantage of all this stuff when preorders suddenly went live on Tuesday around 1 p.m. ET.
Unfortunately for you, puny human, you can’t move faster than code can.
That’s right: You weren’t just competing with hundreds of thousands of other humans who wanted to secure a Super NES Classic Edition. There were also people running scripts — essentially a set of instructions for your computer to execute a series of actions. In the case of the Super NES Classic Edition preorders, the script was being used to place and execute preorders far more capably than you’re able to do on your own.
One such script is named Tai Ding, and it was reportedly responsible for at least some of the preorder train wreck on Tuesday.
“People have realised that our bot puts them ahead of the competition. We have a 93 per cent success rate,” a representative for Tai Ding told Polygon. One of the script’s creators even claimed on Twitter that they were able to preorder four Super NES Classic Edition consoles by using the Tai Ding script.
None of the five different people in Business Insider’s office who were attempting to preorder the console without a script were able to get through. Social media is flooded with reports from other people who hit the same wall. GameStop offered in-store preorders, which resulted in long lines and a lot of disappointment when stores ran out of their limited preorder allotments.
Hilariously, Tai Ding is said to be easily thwarted — a simple “CAPTCHA” gate shuts it down. None of the retail websites where preorders were available use CAPTCHA.
Unfortunately for average people without scripts, who weren’t anxiously sitting at a computer at exactly the right moment, even that wouldn’t have fixed the bigger problem: Demand for the Super NES Classic Edition vastly outstrips supply.
The Super NES Classic Edition console costs $US79.99 and arrives in stores on September 29. Make sure to get there early if you want a shot at getting one!