The original Nintendo Entertainment System turned 30 this month! OMG I’m old. I remember getting my NES for Christmas in 1987 along with Super Mario Bros, Metroid, and The Legend of Zelda. For an 11 year old, this was a BANANZA!
At the time, releasing a video game system was seen as quite risky after the crash in the early ’80s, caused by overproduction of consoles and games. The resulting fire sales to clear inventory devastated the industry.
Then a few years later, Nintendo came along to try again and essentially created the modern video game industry. It was Nintendo’s big idea to qualify licensed 3rd parties to publish games for the NES, which helped them grow a library full of innovative, quality games made by a diverse group of designers from around the world. That’s right, without Nintendo companies like Electronic Arts, Capcom, Konami, and Rockstar Games may never have existed at all. Ironic, now that those very companies have turned their backs on Nintendo.
As a child, I thought the graphics were so futuristic and Zelda was so vast. My friends and I spent hours and hours trying to get through that first Zelda game. And for years my mother avoided walking home past a local store called Toy Park because every time we did, I would throw an absolute tantrum to go inside “just to look”. Ahhh, the memories. Well, now it’s just old school kitsch.
I still have that old NES though from 1987:)
Ars has a great retrospective article that’s worth checking out.