1. Technology

Nintendo Entertainment System aka Famicom - The Console that Saved the Industry


With bad games flooding the market for far too long, by 1983 the U.S. had enough and the video game industry crashed, destroying numerous companies and turning the public off to even the thought of the once games; but in Japan the home console market was just taking off when the playing card company Nintendo released their first game system with interchangeable cartridges, the Nintendo Family Computer (or Famicom). Just a few years later they would repackage the Famicom for North America, calling it the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) and in doing so would redefine and relaunched the near dead industry.

The Basics:

  • Release Date: Famicom - 1983 (Japan), Nintendo Entertainment System - 1985 (North America)
  • Discontinued: North America - 1995, Japan - 2003
  • Manufacturer: Nintendo
  • Type: ROM cartridge based 8-bit console

Originally Packaged With:

The NES/Famicom was famous for its bundle packs which, in addition to including the main console unit, two controllers and cords, typically came with additional peripherals and an in-pack game.

All Bundles featured:

  • Console Unit
  • Two Controllers

The various bundle packs included the following:

    Control Deck - 1985 launch bundle
  • Super Mario Bros. game cartridge
    • Deluxe Set - 1985 launch bundle
    • Robotic Operating Buddy or R.O.B. Accessory
    • NES Zapper light gun controller
    • Duck Hunt game cartridge
    • Gyromite game cartridge
      The Basic Set - 1987 - The only bundle to not include an in-pack game cartridge
    • Book - The Official Nintendo Player's Guide - The very first Nintendo strategy guide featuring tips and guides to all the Nintendo games released up to 1987.
      NES Action Set - 1988
    • NES Zapper light gun controller
    • Super Mario Bros./Duck Hunt Game Cartridge containing both games on one cartridge.
      Power Set Bundle - 1988
    • The Power Pad mat controller
    • NES Zapper light gun
    • Super Mario Bros./Duck Hunt game cartridge
    • World Class Track Meet game cartridge
      Sports Set - 1990
    • NES Satellite wireless controller system.
    • 4 Wireless Game Controllers
    • Super Spike V'Ball / Nintendo World Cup game cartridge.
      The Challenge Set - 1991
    • Super Mario Bros. 3 game cartridge
      The Control Deck/AV Family Computer Bundle - 1993 - Redesigned value priced version of the original NES/Famicom
    • Main Console Unit (called the Nintendo Control Deck in North America and AV Family Computer in Japan)
    • One Controller

    The Famicom Main Console Unit:

    The Famicom console was designed with space saving in mind. The unit is small, rectangular and flat, and colored all white with bright red trim. The top of the unit features a top loading cartridge slot, grooves on the top/sides to store the game controllers, plus a reset and power switch located in the center. The front of the console contains an expansion port, with the AV and power cable ports on the back.

    The NES Main Console Unit:

    The NES is squarer in shape, and although flat, it's twice the height of the Famicom. The top of the unit is flat and smooth, with the exception of ventilation groves and a black plastic stripe down the top right side of the top. The color is a light grey to match the colors being used for home computers at the time.

    The front features a flip open cartridge slot where games can slide in and press down into the unit, similar to many VCRs of the time. This area was also home to the power / reset buttons and two controller ports. The back held the AV and Power inputs as well as an expansion port.


    The NES and Famicom controllers both feature start and select buttons in the center, A/B Buttons on the right and the D-Pad directional button on the left.

    The Famicom controllers are hardwired in to the NES with the start and stop buttons on one and a small microphone on the other. The A/B buttons only slightly protrude from the face and curve inwards to follow the shape of the player's thumb.

    The NES controllers plugge into the front of the console system and are identical. Neither controller houses a microphone, instead both have start and select buttons. The A,B buttons protrude more and featured a flat surface.

    Famicom Launch Titles:

    • Donkey Kong Donkey Kong Jr. Popeye

    The Nintendo Entertainment System

    • 10-Yard Fight
    • Baseball
    • Clu Clu Land
    • Donkey Kong Jr. Math
    • Duck Hunt
    • Excitebike
    • Golf
    • Gyromite
    • Hogan’s Alley
    • Ice Climber
    • Kung Fu
    • Mach Rider
    • Pinball
    • Stack-Up
    • Super Mario Bros.
    • Tennis
    • Wild Gunman
    • Wrecking Crew

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