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20 Years of NES 333

Posted by Zonk
from the now-you're-playing-with-power dept.
Twenty years ago, the NES changed the face of U.S. gaming. All this week, 1up.com has a series of features celebrating the anniversary of the Nintendo Entertainment System. From the site: "When the NES launched, America hated videogames. Well, sort of. The Atari 2600 had upset folks by flooding the market with bad software and, at first, retailers were reluctant to sell another system. But the NES was a hit, controlling a healthy 90 percent of the U.S. home videogame industry at the peak of its popularity."
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20 Years of NES

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  • NES (Score:5, Interesting)

    by readin (838620) on Wednesday October 26, 2005 @04:29PM (#13884337)
    I went from Atari 2600 straight to GameCube. Both are (were) great! I'm looking forward to my first experience with Zelda!
  • Still Got Mine! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by MageWyn (6983) on Wednesday October 26, 2005 @04:31PM (#13884353)
    Gotta love the NES. Mine has been hooked up ever since I got it for my 7th birthday.

    It actually gets more play time than my Gamecube, PS2, or PSP...
  • Boo. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Seth Finklestein (582901) on Wednesday October 26, 2005 @04:31PM (#13884356) Journal
    "By the end of the 1980s the courts found Nintendo guilty of anti-trust activities because it had abused its relationship with third party developers and created a monopoly in the gaming industry by not allowing developers to make games for any other platforms." -- Wikipedia

    All the fanboys seem to ignore that Nintendo broke the law repeatedly. When Microsoft does it, you guys pee your fake-lawyer trousers. When Nintendo does it, you pee your fanboy pants.

    Frankly, Nintendo did more to destroy proper homebrew gaming than a thousand Ataris helped to establish it. I look forward to their doom thanks to the GamePark open handheld gaming platform.
  • NES #1? Ignorance. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ziggy the zagnut (639592) on Wednesday October 26, 2005 @04:34PM (#13884380) Journal
    It's foolish, revisionist history to say that Americans hated videogames. Does anyone remember Pac Man fever? The album? It was a phenomenon. There was a veritable ton of Pac Man schwag (cheesy merchandise like bubble gum dispensers, keychains, Rubik's cube knockoffs, etc.) showing strong evidence of video games' pre-Nintendo dominance in American culture.

    I'm very weary of articles, especially on boingboing.net, that pitch Mario Bros. as the original videogame. You all should be making fan art of Yar's Revenge, Pitfall and River Raid.

  • Tecmo Super Bowl? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by elbenito69 (868244) on Wednesday October 26, 2005 @04:41PM (#13884433)
    I find it hard to believe that Tecmo Super Bowl didn't make their top 15 list of games. Despite being the most unrealistic sports game I've ever played, it also manages to be the most pure fun.
  • by Chris Burke (6130) on Wednesday October 26, 2005 @04:42PM (#13884446) Homepage
    If by "pirates" you mean "people who wanted to make NES compatible games without paying the almighty N for the privilege" then you are right.

    Nintendo has always amused me with their business tactics. They are as conniving and controlling as Microsoft or Sony, but since they only seem to want to rule their corner of the video game world with an iron fist (rather than using that control as a lever to get into every aspect of the electronics world, like the other two) it has seemed more amusing than disturbing. Plus they have always been dedicated to making good, fun games.

    I still am a proud owner of Gauntlet for the NES that was one of the classic examples of a game made without the Seal of Approval. Ultimately a frustrating and boring game, still better than a lot that did carry the Seal (such as, say, Donkey Kong 3). I got my copy of Gauntlet from Toys 'R' Us, so I doubt it was "pirated".
  • NES inspired music (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Neva (630016) <jneva@mbRASPnet.fi minus berry> on Wednesday October 26, 2005 @04:51PM (#13884521)
    There are quite a few people nowadays, who have grown up with NES systems in their time, keeping the music alive in various forms. For instance:

    Minibosses [minibosses.com]
    Redefined - Nintendo A Cappella [slashdot.org]
    All Your Bass A Cappella [www.iki.fi]

    ..and as a side mention:
    http://www.pressplayontape.com/ [pressplayontape.com]
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 26, 2005 @04:51PM (#13884523)
    You and your fancy Pac-Man, friggin Pong was the first out-of-the-door smash hit.

    In the book "High Score!: The Illustrated History of Electronic Games" [amazon.com], Nolan Bushnell recalls taking the prototype Pong unit to a local bar, the bar called him back the same night and told him it was broken, when the problem was investiaged it turned out that the coinbox was full and was jamming the game.

    Pong went on to make millions (1 quarter a pop, in the early 70s yet) way before consoles became successful.

    Dang kids n' their Pac-Man revoloution crap!
  • No Games? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by miyako (632510) <miyakoNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Wednesday October 26, 2005 @04:55PM (#13884551) Homepage Journal
    I was expecting to see a list of reasons why the NES was great...like yet another top 10 list or something, so I'll post one, here are my top 10 NES games I think everyone should play if given a chance (in no particular order).
    1. Dragon Warrior - the game that started the JRPG.
    2. Blaster Master - the first game I remember playing that had something like an Isometric view
    3. Super Mario Bro's 3 - perhaps the finest mario game ever.
    4. Bionic Commando - Robotic Zombie Hitler and a huge bionic claw, what more could you ask for?
    5. The Ledgend of Zelda - A classic by any definition
    6. Kirby - one of the prettiest games for the NES and a fine platformer- too bad they changed the formula so much for later games
    7. Castlevania - the first survival horror game, the controls are a little clunky but it's still a classic platformer
    8. Megaman - I've never actually beaten any of the Megaman games, but a classic if you like HARD games
    9. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II The Arcade Game - This is one of those games that's probably not great, but I remember it fondly
    10. Final Fantasy - The first in the series, a solid game but definitely different than today's FF games.
  • Unhappy with Atari? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by StikyPad (445176) on Wednesday October 26, 2005 @04:56PM (#13884557) Homepage
    The Atari 2600 had upset folks by flooding the market with bad software and, at first, retailers were reluctant to sell another system. But the NES was a hit, controlling a healthy 90 percent of the U.S. home videogame industry at the peak of its popularity.

    I don't remember anyone being upset by the quality of games on the Atari. Everyone I know, myself included, was amazed they they could have Pong, Pitfall, Frogger, Centipede, and Asteroids right on their own TV. It didn't matter that they sucked, because we had nothing to compare them to! They were new, innovative, and best of all you didn't need a pocket full of quarters and a ride to the mall. Maybe adults were unhappy, but I distinctly remember my friends and I having to wait (im)patiently while their dads would finish that last game of Pong (before the inevitable throwing of the paddle and the obligitory "God damnit, piece of $#@% fsking...!").
  • My Mother (Score:4, Interesting)

    by DrugCheese (266151) on Wednesday October 26, 2005 @04:58PM (#13884571)
    still begs me to find her a NES system so she can play her Dr.Mario and other games she was more addicted to then I being addicted to Final Fantasy or Dragon Warrior. Although I've set her up with nesticle and a generaic d-pad, it's not a Nintendo controller so she doesn't like it.

    NES was a family tradition with us, after dinner we'd all sit around and play duck hunt or Mario Brothers.
  • Re:Boo. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by FidelCatsro (861135) * <fidelcatsro@@@gmail...com> on Wednesday October 26, 2005 @05:00PM (#13884594) Journal
    What about IBM , I think they were a far bigger influence on MS or Bell even ;)
  • Sweet Mini-ITX mod (Score:2, Interesting)

    by dslauson (914147) on Wednesday October 26, 2005 @05:25PM (#13884786) Journal
    NEVER think about destroying a functional NES, because that would be sacrelige. If you happen to have access to a broken NES, check out this awesome mod [lofi-gaming.org.uk].

    BTW, my top 5 games:
    1. Super Mario 3
    2. Metroid
    3. Zelda (The original, baby)
    4. Excitebike
    5. RC Pro-Am
  • Re:THAT'S IT... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by TClevenger (252206) on Wednesday October 26, 2005 @05:31PM (#13884822)
    It sure didn't hurt. One of the big things that NES had going for it was that the games you played on it were as good as the real machines in the arcade. The 2600 games, on the hand, were horrible approximations of the arcade games.
  • by realityfighter (811522) on Wednesday October 26, 2005 @06:27PM (#13885243) Homepage
    Actually, the story is a little funnier than that. Tengen tried to reverse engineer the lockout chip, but they couldn't in time to make their deadline. So they called the USPTO and asked them to send a copy of the chip spec, claiming that they needed the information for an ongoing legal case. The Patent Office gladly passed over the specs, and Tengen started making copies. By the time Nintendo had sued the pants off Tengen, they'd figured out how to disable the lockout by sending a small power surge to knockout the chip inside the system.

    Another funny story from the NES era is the tale of Wisdom Tree Games, the derivative company created by Color Dreams to sell unauthorized NES cartridges out in the open without fear of retribution from Nintendo. How? The company and the games were biblically themed, and the carts were sold in Christian bookstores. Nintendo didn't dare sue a company making bible games, for fear of massive PR backlash. So Wisdom Tree thrived in its technically-illegal niche. In fact, it's still around today [wisdomtreegames.com] and still printing carts for the gameboy color.

    The 10NES chip certainly made for some interesting stories.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 26, 2005 @07:24PM (#13885668)
    I mean, I understand it was a HORRIBLE game. I mean BAD. Yes, I understand. But for me no Atari 2600 game caused as much torment as Pac-Man. E.T. was a new game, apparently inspired by a bad case of food poisoning. Pac-Man was based on one of the greatest video games ever, and they RUINED it. Bastardized beyond almost all recognition actually. So why all the hate for E.T. when Pac-Man failed on such a grander scale?
  • The ol' switcheroo (Score:3, Interesting)

    by RyoShin (610051) <`tukaro' `at' `gmail.com'> on Wednesday October 26, 2005 @08:57PM (#13886126) Homepage Journal
    I find it interesting that, to get their system onto shelves, Nintendo promoted the NES as an Entertainment System, rather than a video game system.

    Now, Microsoft and Sony are trying to push their next game systems as "Entertainment" (Media) systems, and Nintendo has been on the "we are a pure video game company" horse for a while now.

    If the Revolution sells, then I think we'll see Microsoft and Sony follow the lead horse again and focus on being "enhanced gaming machines".
  • by Verity_Crux (523278) <notacommie AT gmail DOT com> on Thursday October 27, 2005 @12:03AM (#13886996)
    The frustrating thing is that Final Fantasy jumped in and followed the story-based model of Dragon Warrior, yet they have never come up with a story as good as Dragon Warrior 4, and Dragon Warrior 4 had replayability.

    The legend of Zelda and Metroid worked it on the maze idea. Modern games have wimpy mazes. Metroid required a notebook and mapping skills if you were to have any chance of beating the game before that expose' in Nintendo Power.

    Punch-Out required an item that seems to be void in many modern games: timing. You could never master the game without great timing. Modern games follow the more ammo and quicker reflexes ideals instead.

    I was trying to figure out why I enjoyed StarTropics so much. I remember it had great artwork and an intersting story. I think I enjoyed it because it was right on the border of frustrating and challenging.

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