article was obtained directly from N64 Gamer magazine issue 15 with
In 1983 the NES was initially only released in Japan, under the
name, “Famicom” (being a shortened version of “Family
Computer”). The Japanese version looked much sleeker than
the grey-brick inside machine that was released in Australia, America
and Europe two years later.
Game consoles had invaded in a big way in the late seventies with
machines like the Atari 2600, Intellivision and Celcovision. By
1984 home consoles were believed to have been a fad which had had
its day. Computers were making their way into homes and were seen
as the natural progression. The earliest NES games didn’t
seet any new standards in graphics or gameplay, They were mostly
single screen games like Balloon Fighter or the original Mario Bros
game. All games at this stage were programmed by Nintendo themselves.
However, by the time of the worldwide release, the games had advanced
to platform games with smooth scrolling visuals. Super Mario Bros
was a game of this era, which although still far from the machines
capabilities, it was miles ahead of anything that had been seen
before in the home.
had already starred in three Donkey Kong games and Mario Bros but
it was the “Super” version which made him a household
name and sold more consoles than any other game. Donkey Kong was
the first platform game so it was fitting that Mario take the genre
to the next level. The Nintendo Entertainment System had become
a phenomenon, particularly in the USA where one in every five people
owned one. Nintendos sold so quickly that by the time Sega released
their 8-bit console, The Master System, it had to share its ten
percent of the video game market with the Atari 7800. Part of the
popularity was due to the wide variety of games available. Whereas
Atari had fought third party developers, to prevent people making
money from their systems, Nintendo encouraged third parties to programme
for the NES.
the time NES development was discontinued, over one thousand games
were available. The next generation of games included password and
battery back up save features which made more involved RPG-type
games viable. The Legend of Zelda 1 and 2 were released, as well
the firsts of many other popular series. Castlevania made its first
appearance on the Nintendo 8-bit.
NES had many accessories which included plenty of third party controllers
to choose from, ROB (Robot Operating Buddy) which was for gamers
with no friends as ROB helped you out in games that supported him,
which were only a few. The Power Glove was probably one of the saddest
peripherals. It was basically a control pad you wore on your hand.
It was supposed to improve your control in games, sadly it just
singled you out as a sad loser for paying the price of two games
for a controller.
1988 Nintendo was s popular that unlicensed third party developers
started making games for NES. Until this time, third parties had
been paying a fee to Nintendo for security chips to put in cartridges
so the games would work. The unlicensed developers either created
their own version of the chip or worked around it by using adaptors
which involved plugging in an official cart as well as the unlicensed
cart, much like adaptors used for imported games.
was the beginning of the end for the NES. Sega recently released
their 16-bit Megadrive (Genesis), and the Super Nintendo Entertainment
System was not far off. Super Mario Bros 3 was one of the last games
released, which pushed the 8-bit system to its limits. The NES enjoyed
a huge popularity in its peak that nothing got close to at the time.