Last month we celebrated the 20th anniversary of Sony’s PlayStation, a revolutionary console that propelled Sony to the forefront of gaming in the mid-90s. Over the weekend, it was another console that earned recognition from millions of gaming fans.
The 8-bit Nintendo Entertainment System went on sale October 18, 1985 in North America (it was initially released as the Family Computer, or Famicom, more than two year earlier in Japan). The system arrived just a few years after the video game crash of 1983 with well over a dozen launch titles including Baseball, Duck Hunt, Excitebike, Golf, Pinball and of course, Super Mario Bros. The console spawned a number of classics over its lifetime such as Super Mario Bros. 3, The Legend of Zelda, Punch-Out, R.C. Pro-AM and Castlevania, just to name a few.
To say the console was a hit would be a huge understatement. By 1990, 30 percent of American households owned an NES according to Computer Gaming World. It was followed by the Super Nintendo Entertainment System in August 1991 and the Nintendo 64 which launched in North America on September 29, 1996.
Interestingly enough, Nintendo never produced a 32-bit console thanks to a failed partnership with Sony to develop a CD-ROM for the SNES. Sony continued to develop its CD-based console without Nintendo which ultimately became the PlayStation.
Many have dubbed the original NES the best / most important console of all-time, a statement that many who grew up playing Nintendo’s “Control Deck” would probably agree with.
Happy Birthday, NES!
Thumbnail courtesy Jeremy Parish