Whilst the Nintendo Entertainment System was first released in Japan in 1983 as the Famicom, it wasn’t until October 18th 1985 that American audiences were able to get their hands on the console. A console that had not only had its shell fully redesigned for the American market, but its name too. Now being referred to as the Nintendo Entertainment System for the first time, or NES for short. All this means that as of today, the NES is now over 30 years old, and many will be wondering where all the time has gone.
Back in the early to mid 80s, the American market was a completely different place, suffering immensely from the collapse of both Atari and the North American video game market in 1983. However, undeterred by the negative market opinions, Nintendo proceeded ahead with the release of the newly redesigned NES, and with it changed gaming forever. The global market took to the NES in the same way that the Japanese market had taken to the Famicom, propelling Nintendo to a market share of over 90%, and helping the video game industry recover and become what it is today. Under the NES’ dominance not only did Nintendo prosper, but so did the market, and ultimately gaming in general.
The NES/Famicom is not only home to some of the most respected games ever made, but is also where a great deal of gaming’s most famous series began life. From launch titles like Super Mario Bros., to Nintendo classics like The Legend of Zelda, and beyond to third party franchises including Mega Man and Castlevania, the NES/Famicom houses one of the richest libraries in all of gaming, something which helped endear itself in the memories of so many people. What’s more, whilst the console itself was eventually discontinued in 2003, after an 18 year lifespan in America, gamers have never stopped playing through the console’s classic library of titles, with many constantly being re-released in their original form via Nintendo’s Virtual Console platform.
So, congratulations Nintendo, and congratulations to the NES. A console which now joins it’s Japanese counterpart, the Famicom, in the over 30s club. Here’s to 30 more years of NES memories! Happy Birthday NES!