Happy 30th Anniversary Nintendo! Here’s A Look-Back At 30 Of The Best NES …

19 Oct 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

30 years on, and the Nintendo Entertainment System is still a king.

The NES (Nintendo Entertainment System) turns 30 today, as it was officially launched in North American on October 18th, 1985 to a limited portion of the US.Late last week, eight floors above a Five Guys in a common space of a completely mistakable building, the man who created the most famous game console spoke to a crowd of maybe 100 people.

US tech news websites are wishing the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) a happy birthday, reporting that the platform launched in the United States on 18 October 1985. While this may not be the anniversary of the launch of Nintendo’s video game console in South Africa, or the original launch of the Nintendo Family Computer (Famicom) in July 1983, it is significant nonetheless. And while the story of Nintendo’s first console isn’t a new one, Uemura shared some unique insights and anecdotes about his experience designing the NES. Video game (American) football might have exploded around the popularity of Tecmo Bowl, but 10-Yard Fight was there at the NES launch to give pigskin fans their fix. Uemura also sent these cells to the various Japanese companies that were licensing Sharp’s technologies. “And then I ended up sending myself to Nintendo,” he laughed.

Sort of. 10-Yard Fight resembles football in the sense that there’s a 100-yard field and a ball that one player either runs with or throws to other players. Forget VR, forget AR, the original Nintendo’s gameplay just…grabbed you: I can beat the first level with my eyes closed, that’s how many times I’ve played it. What started just as a New York City experiment turned out to be a success for the game producer, who rapidly expanded it entertainment services to other worldwide regions.

Nevertheless, it was money well-spent considering that the game console became impressively popular and enabled the company to move 50,000 units upwards. Some of Nintendo’s earliest video game consoles were TV Game 6 and TV Game 15, which Uemura called a “virtual imitation of Pong.” Another game called Block Kuzushi was modeled after Breakout. “This was how we learned how to create video games,” he said. And thanks to Nintendo managing to convince retailers to stock the units (by only taking a cut of NES consoles sold), they managed to establish a foothold in the US. Uemura said it was “through these products we were able to learn what kinds of issues and what problems the customer will face” when buying a gaming system.

Good enough to expand operations throughout North America. 1986 saw the NES take off properly, with the family-friendly device reinvigorating a market that many analysts had written off entirely. I can remember so many of them, but here’s one that might give you the feels: Plus, all of the quirks that came along with the aging system didn’t matter. Much like other early video games based on professional sports, Baseball is a rough approximation of the real thing that doesn’t quite pull it off, mostly due to the hardware and processing limitations of the time. Much like 10-Yard Fight, Baseball catered to a specific niche at a time when the growing community of video game fans didn’t have much to choose from.

Initially, there were 18 major game titles available on the U.S. market, including “Duck Hunt”, “Excitebike”, “Super Mario Bros” and “Popeye”. Castlevania, Super Mario Bros, The Legend of Zelda, Mega Man, Ninja Gaiden, Metal Gear, Duck Hunt, Gradius, Final Fantasy, Contra, Excite-Bike,Tetris…The list just goes on and on and on. Uemura said separating the two was “really revolutionary.” Game & Watch handheld consoles were a hit, but they also had lasting effects on the Famicom’s design.

The D-pad and button layout was basically ported directly over to the Famicom’s controller, and this, coupled with the knowledge that kids would feel comfortable using it while looking up at a television, helped push the Famicom’s development forward. The only people who clued in on this were a few arcade owners who realized they could change the games inside the cabinets, eliminating the need to order new ones — a move Uemura didn’t seem too pleased with. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, Atari had run an infamous ad for its 2600 console with big block lettering that read: “This is not a toy,” and eventually the company started calling its systems “home computers.” Coleco started marketing the ColecoVision as a “family computer system” — a phrase that Uemura says rankled Nintendo executives. The thinking was that Americans would be more willing to buy this design, especially since it was being sold as an “Entertainment System” — another conscious choice by Nintendo to break the stigma being associated with game consoles at the time.

One or two players run and jump around Kong-style maps, collecting numbers and arithmetical operations to reach a number total displayed at the top of the screen. In his eyes, bundling the Light Gun with the NES was a big reason why Americans fell in love with the machine. “America loves guns,” he said, to which the room responded with the loudest laughter of the night. Uemura showed a (very amusing) photo from the Japanese news of an American man pinching the buttons with his right hand while gripping the D-pad with his left, holding the thing almost like an Atari joystick. “It’s kind of different, but I guess it’s okay,” he laughed. Nintendo’s history is littered with bizarro hardware concepts that never quite took flight, and R.O.B. — an acronym for “Robotic Operating Buddy” — was the first. Players guided Professor Hector and Professor Vector through a dynamite-filled lab, defusing the explosives while avoiding an army of lizard creatures, called Smicks.

The game is ostensibly about cooperative play, but you could really mess with the second player by climbing too quickly and forcing them off the screen. And like so many story-driven games from that time, your goal is to rescue your lady love, Sylvia, after she’s kidnapped by an evil martial arts masters.

There’s no mascot more visible or widely renowned than the red-and-blue-clad mustachioed plumber who stomped sentient mushrooms and spit hot fire on his quest to rescue a kidnapped princess. The “damsel-in-distress” trope may be tired and overused in this day and age, but is there any video game fan that doesn’t feel a twinge of nostalgia at the sight of the words “Your princess is in another castle”?

The single player game is about what you’d expect: you and an AI-controlled opponent hit the ball back and forth over a net until someone scores enough points to win. Your goal in each of the game’s 100 levels is to set off bombs, but you’ve got to do it while avoiding threats like wrenches, fireballs and eggplants.

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