UPDATE: A previous version of this article was titled "SNES Classic Won't Be Sold in Quebec Because of French Language Restrictions, Retail Employees Say." On September 28, Nintendo confirmed in an email to Motherboard that the SNES Classic will be sold in Quebec after all, starting on Friday, September 29. The company declined to comment on what, if anything, changed. This article's headline has been updated to reflect this new information. The original post follows below.
Nintendo is giving some of its classic titles a second life with the upcoming Super NES Classic, an all-in-one emulator that lets you play Super Mario World like they did back in the 90s. Or, if you're not old, the console will let you experience a kind of inherited nostalgia.
That is, unless you live in Quebec, Canada's French language province. The SNES Classic will launch in Canada on September 29, but not in Quebec, according to two EB Games employees in the Montreal area who spoke to Motherboard under the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to media on the matter.
According to both employees, who were located at separate stores, this decision is related to the province's notoriously strict language requirements, which protect the use of French in the province and mandate that business be done in French. Because of a 2009 requirement, all video games sold in the province must be translated into Quebecois French if they're available in French elsewhere in the world. Because of differences in format, this can be more complicated than just selling a European edition of the game in the Canadian province, a report in Le Devoir noted that same year.
The rumor was first reported on Twitter by independent video game journalist Denis Talbot, citing anonymous sources.
"It won't be available in Quebec because of the French language," one EB Games employee said over the phone. "[Nintendo] won't be able to ship it in Quebec." The news was delivered to employees on Tuesday morning, the employee added.
A second EB Games employee confirmed that the SNES Classic would not be sold in Quebec. "The reason why is that there's two games that didn't make it onto the SNES Classic in French and English, so we're not allowed to sell that," the employee said.
Nintendo Canada would not directly confirm what the employees told us. "Nintendo considers a number of factors when deciding which markets to launch its products in," a spokesperson wrote in an emailed statement, "but we do not discuss details about our distribution plans."
For Quebeckers, there are a few decent options available if you need to get your SNES fix but can't buy the new Classic console. Namely, PC emulators or even a Raspberry Pi if you're feeling up to a slight challenge. But if you absolutely have to have a tiny reproduction of the classic console in your home, you might just be out of luck. Either that, or you can hop in the car and drive across the border to Ontario or the Maritimes.
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