Following a series of arcade game successes in the early 1980s, Nintendo made plans to produce a cartridge-based console. Masayuki Uemura designed the system, which was released in Japan on July 15, 1983 for ¥14,800 alongside three ports of Nintendo’s successful arcade games Donkey Kong, Donkey Kong Jr., and Popeye. The Nintendo Family Computer (Famicom) was slow to gather momentum; during its first year, many criticized the system as unreliable, prone to programming errors and rampant freezing. Following a product recall and a reissue with a new motherboard, the Famicom’s popularity soared, becoming the best-selling game console in Japan by the end of 1984.

Encouraged by its successes, Nintendo soon turned its attentions to the North American market. Nintendo entered into negotiations with Atari to release the Famicom under Atari’s name as the name Nintendo Enhanced Video System; however, this deal eventually fell through. Subsequent plans to market a Famicom console in North America featuring a keyboard, cassette data recorder, wireless joystick controller, and a special BASIC cartridge under the name "Nintendo Advanced Video System" likewise never materialized.

nintendo NES

Finally, in June 1985, Nintendo unveiled its American version of the Famicom at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES). Nintendo rolled out its first systems to limited American markets on October 18, 1985, following up with a full-fledged North American release of the console in February of the following year. Nintendo simultaneously released eighteen launch titles: 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, Tennis, Wild Gunman, Wrecking Crew and of course, Super Mario Bros.

In Europe and Australia, the system was released to two separate marketing regions (A and B). Distribution in region B, consisting of most of mainland Europe (excluding Italy), was handled by a number of different companies, with Nintendo responsible for most cartridge releases; most of region B saw a 1986 release. Mattel handled distribution for region A, consisting of the United Kingdom, Ireland, Italy, Australia and New Zealand, starting the following year. Not until 1990 did Nintendo’s newly created European branch take over distribution throughout Europe. Despite the system’s lackluster performance outside of Japan and North America, by 1990 the NES had become the best-selling console in video game history.

Nintendo Nes value

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Eileen - September 26, 2013

When I was a single Mom I scraped together enough money (from work, selling homespun ornaments)to buy my kids an Atari. That was all they wanted for Christmas. Sadly our T.V. was a dud and he couldn't play it. In 1986 I married again and suddenly there was a blended family of four kids and the blending was not so easy. But then we bought them a Nintendo and they played nonstop. It helped the blending and bonding because the kids could challenge us parents. The Nintendo was a fun , clean ,holsom game that brought countless hours of fun. The kids played when our family experience sad events and happy events. All the kids around wanted to come and play with our Nintendo. Now grandkids have been playing that same game since the late 90's. We have a 5 year old grandson who loves that game more than any of the games. He had been very ill and in the hospital for over a month. He had to work on regaining his very basic skills again and we used the Nintendo to help with that. When he walks through the door he wants to play Duck Hunt. We look forward to another 2 years of duck hunt. God Bless, EIleen
►reply: Thanks for sharing your amazing story Eileen :-) ! I still have one hooked up and still enjoy every bit of its 8-bits ;-)