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Flashback NES 197

Posted by Zonk
from the lifechanging-grey-box dept.
Gamespot has a piece in their Flashback series up, looking at the significance of the NES, Nintendo's original console offering in the United States. Last year the console celebrated its 20th year. Gamespot has a talk with Nintendo and reflects on the games that made the system great. From the article: "There was no denying that the NES was a phenomenon. By the 1990's one in every three American homes had an NES and video games had become a billion-dollar industry. Nintendo had taken over Saturday morning cartoons, cereal boxes, and the surface of commercial merchandise the world over. Through several different iterations, from the Japanese-exclusive Famicom Disk System to the 90's released top-loading NES, the NES dominated video game sales for nearly a decade."
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Flashback NES

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  • I still remember when my parents bought my NES. Super Mario Bros. and Jackal. Great games! I would spend countless hours in front of the TV playing those games, and others that followed.

    Not much differnet from today, when I spend hours in front of a computer at work and a TV at home, playing games!
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Back in the day, it seemed like everyone who was really serious about gaming was playing on PCs, typically Amigas or Ataris since they were far ahead of x86s through the 80s and early 90s, but also on x86 PCs once they pulled ahead in the 90's. At the time, PC tech was just quite far ahead of game consoles. Kids gamed on consoles, and adults gamed on home computers.

    Now, it seems like consoles have finally reached technological parity with PCs (never mind ease of use). The only remaining problem is input
    • Why do people keep propogating this myth? Consoles have reached or exceeded "parity" with PCs at just about every generation (maybe all of them, but I'm too lazy to look up sources to back that claim up), only to be surpassed as the PC platform upgrades and moves on and the consoles settle in to their far longer life cycle.

      This isn't something new. And neither is claiming that consoles have "finally reach technological parity with PCs." So can we really hang this one up, at least until the next "Next Ge
      • Actually, PCs are far more technically advanced still. While consoles are as fast or faster, with prettier graphics and whatnot, a PC has many more components than just CPU/memory. A PC has a more complicated archetecture because it has to deal with more devices. There are harddrives of types, USB, Firewire, serial, parrallel, PCI, IDE and then there are the internet protocols and all sorts. A PC is expected to run an operating system and a bunch of programs. It's expected to have an environment that a user
      • Errr, technologically speaking I don't think consoles have ever kept up with PCs. The Xbox has what, 64 megs of RAM? The 360 has 512, whereas most gamers today have at least a gig. The 360's video card is also quite pathetic compared to today's latest gaming cards. The 360 doesn't even come standard with a hard drive, which means slow loading times from the optical drive, no huge save game files or mods, etc. etc.

        But specs really aren't that important, it's all about the games, right? I will agree th
    • everyone who was really serious about gaming was playing on PCs, typically Amigas or Ataris

      God you are such a newb. atari & Amiga != pc.

      Pc's were the ibm clones, mostly used for office applications.

      get your fsckn facts straight.
      • Careful, "PC" stands for Personal Computer, not IBM-Compatible Personal Computer. (Although people do tend to make that assumption)

        Åre you making the claim that the Atari ST and Amiga were not "Personal Computers"?

        • The two have been synonymious throught modern computer-history, even in the 286' days people were referring to IBM Compatible Personal Computeres as PC's, and the others with their respective brand names. Just because you're too young to remember doesn't mean others aren't :)
          • by Anonymous Coward
            > The two have been synonymious throught modern computer-history

            Only to the x86 weenies who think "modern computer history" started with the IBM-PC. :D

            The term PC was in use as far back as '76, and possibly even in '72, which predates x86 machines. Here's what wikipedia says about it, which roughly matches my memory of the time (emphasis mine):

            "The phrase "personal computer" was common currency before 1981, and was used as early as 1972 to characterize Xerox PARC's Alto. However, due to the success of
            • Only to the x86 weenies who think "modern computer history" started with the IBM-PC.

              Hmm. I remember owning a BBC. The other machines I knew existed at that time where Atari, Amiga, Tiki, some brand I forgot and I think maybe Mac? I wasn't very old :)

              Either way, I know none of those were referred to as PC's in common speach atleast, and this was before the 286 become a major hit, and the all-conquering 386 came. Anyways, I'm Norwegian and thus not a native English speaker, so that might be the cause of t

    • Kids gamed on consoles, and adults gamed on home computers.
       
      nerd ego
    • by Anonymous Coward
      This might be generally true of the 90s, but not the 80s. Even then, you have to consider the role of cost in the reason why adults had computers and kids had consoles.

      In the 80s I had a C64, which was an agressively priced home computer. I had boxes full of games for it, but I prefered the NES due to the superior graphics and lack of load times. In the early 90s, I wanted an Amiga, but there was no way my parents were going to buy me one, so I had an SNES. By the mid/late 90s I switched to PC, because
    • Huh?? I had a 286 and I was jealous of my friends with a NES. They could see more than my 4 colors my CGA monitor was displaying.
  • by Overly Critical Guy (663429) on Sunday February 26, 2006 @01:39PM (#14804583)
    I hope Nintendo's Revolution system is successful in their goals of providing a universally accessible, cheap gaming machine, the way the NES was 21 years ago. Each year, gaming has become more and more targeted toward the "hardcore" gamers, so that you need more buttons, longer FMVs, more licensed rap songs, and much more expensive consoles. All that so you can ooh and awe over seeing glistening sweat shaders on the polygons of a basketball player. It's pretty sad.

    I remember my dad playing Super Mario Bros. with me. Rad Racer and a few others, too. There's no way he'd pick up Halo or Final Fantasy today. Not only do these games require an extended commitment (which means only hardcore gamers with lives can truly enjoy them instead of the pick-up-and-play nature of older games), they've abandoned their simplicity and uniqueness in exchange for more shaders and polys.

    Immersion is supposed to draw you in, yes; but when you're immersed, the game should be fun to play. A good example is Legend of Zelda, which still remains reasonably simple to play, though Windwaker did add some complexities. But perhaps the greatest example of a "modern" game that was as simple as the old games yet had the depth people demand today is Super Mario 64. Controlling that game is such a piece of cake, and I think Nintendo wants all their games to be that easy to control through their new controller (which an EA rep leaked will have touch sensitivity as well!).
    • The touch sensitivity was not actually confirmed, just speculation. Here [nintendorevolution.ca] is some info on it. Reading some forums today, many people now believe that a built in microphone is the last big surpirse Nintendo has up their sleeve.
    • I have high hopes for Nintendo's new controller. It's apparent to anyone who's spent time playing NES games (and many PC games too) that you can make a great game without making it complex to control. Some of the most beloved games of all time were operated with a D-pad and two buttons. I've got no beef with complex games either -- Mechwarrior games are some of my favorites -- but for most types of games, less is more. I really like the expandable controller idea: use it like an NES controller for simpler g
    • Older gamers (such as myself, 33) have other demands on their time yet still want to get a quick game in now and then.

      I've gotten hooked on Desert Combat [desertcombat.com], a mod for Battlefield 1942. (I'm aware of Battlefield 2, but I'm on a Mac so this is what I get, I console myself with reports that Battlefield 2 gameplay is not so great hehe) I can hop in, play a map or 2, a couple rounds, and be out in 20-30 minutes. Extremely fun gaming for the time investment, and it naturally ends after each round, during which you
      • I console myself with reports that Battlefield 2 gameplay is not so great hehe

        Whoever is telling you this is on smack. Go find a friend who has a decently endowed PC and BF2. Not to kick 1942 (great game, excellently playable) but BF2 on the right hardware makes it look like last year's potato chip.

    • you had me going till you said super mario 64. Controlling that game was never a piece of cake, the awefull camera in it sure didn't help, and neither did the awkward controller that forced your wrists at different angles. If you want to find modern games that are as simple as the old ones you could do much better than that example.
  • by DoninIN (115418) <don.middendorf@gmail.com> on Sunday February 26, 2006 @01:46PM (#14804599) Homepage
    That's what the gaming world needs. What made the NES such a hit? To me it was the wide variety of games, the availability of sports games (Double Dribble was awesome) and the actually interesting gameplay. The secret to Nintendo's success over the years was that even though their games were often too "cutesy" for the "hardcore" gamer the gameplay was fun, immediately accessable and intuitive. The new controller might be the ticket, but I also think they need a way to attract the puzzle gaming crowd to the new system and they'd have another round of amazing success. (Disclaimer, I hate puzzle games, I only have the patience for FPS games and RTS if it doesn't take too long to grasp and build, do all my "grinding" in real life)
    • You're totally right, and that's why I can't seem to get myself hyped up over the Revolution's "download and play" system. As I've heard it, the offerings are going to be pretty much limited to Nintendo and Rare offerings. While SMB3 and Wizards and Warriors were bad ass, the NES just isn't the NES without Castlevania, Megaman, and the slew of third party titles that probably won't appear. Sure, for every Golgo 13:Top Secret Episode or Legacy of the Wizard, you got about a dozen Arkista's Rings. But there w
  • Hooray (Score:3, Funny)

    by Mancat (831487) on Sunday February 26, 2006 @01:50PM (#14804608) Homepage
    20 years of broken cartridge loader springs, flashing power lights, blowing into cartridges, games wigging out while you're playing, and...

    JUSTIN BAILEY
    ------ ------
    • Yeah... you know, either I got lucky, or you just needed to take care of your NES. Mine worked fine for several years (from shortly after it's release up until 1994 when I left home) and likely still works fine. I did have some second-hand cartridges that required voodoo tricks to get working (blowing on the contacts, not putting the cartridge in all the way back, etc), but I always figured the rampant problems were due to neglect, since I noticed that certain kids I knew had cartridges that were all scre
  • I am old enough to remember the NES, Genesis, and SNES, but I even as a child I never understood the desire to sit in front of a television playing a video game or watching a show. For me, the Apple II was more revolutionary. The ability to spend hours of time making your own hardware, writing little programs in BASIC (before I started with C on an old 386) has much more entertainment value for me. If you look at today's video gaming consoles, you will see that a lot of items that were originally in laptop
    • Yeah, I was a bit sad not being able to play mario like my friend who had a nes, but then I had a commodore 64 and could do much more than just play games. I remember adjusting the track picture of a pac-man-like game, making an extra exit to the other side :) Retrospectively, I would say I've drawn the better straw there, with this kind of 'programming' experience since I was 11 :)
    • "I am old enough to remember the NES, Genesis, and SNES, but I even as a child I never understood the desire to sit in front of a television playing a video game or watching a show."

      It wasn't a desire to sit in front of a TV, it was a desire to explore other worlds and find hidden things, be challenged with puzzles and challenging maneuvers, improve skill through practice, and (sometimes) play against friends in multiplayer games. It would be hard to desire this if you'd never experienced it, so perhaps it
    • It's fun to see someone's technical expertise in action. If it weren't for video games, I would have never gotten interested in programming. Video games were fun because it allowed you control over something that was otherwise non-interactive... a bunch of shapes on a TV. As a kid, radio controlled things were interesting because you could control something that could perform actions you wouldn't do, such as fly, or ride along on the dusty ground and over jumps, etc. You can make a character on a TV per
    • but I even as a child I never understood the desire to sit in front of a television playing a video game or watching a show.
      Yet here you are sitting in front of a tv like device (monitor) posting on Slashdot?
      • I seldom post on Slashdot. Usually I just read through the article summaries. I am posting from an ibook, which is not a TV-like device. It is a laptop. It has a 12" LCD. It is running Debian 3.1 (Sarge) PPC. I normally use it for computer programming (Xlib stuff in C/C++), word processing in OOo, finding information. Unlike watching a show on a television, it is very interactive. Watching television shows is a numbing experience (with the exception of Nova). Most of the video games, while interactive, don'
    • You like to do work in your free time. Great for you. Now back to my graphic novels, games and skateboard.
  • SEGA (Score:2, Interesting)

    by iogan (943605)
    What are you talking about, Nintendo was nothing, SEGA was the bomb!!!11

    No but really, the sega master system was a good console, and never really got the recognition it deserved. Sort of like how the Atari ST was actually better than the Amiga. Ah, the memories...

    • nah, the system that didn't get the credit it deserved was the Turbograffix-16 and it's CD-rom system. it was the first console to have Cd-rom support, it had multiple processing cores, the game cards were compatable with both the home system and the portable. the portable had such a good screen it could be used as a TV! when 'nintendo' was still releasing portables with 4-shades of green.

      • Unfortunately their game catalog paled in comparision to the NES and Sega systems let alone not being as much fun to play as those two other consoles.
        • they did pretty good in japan, and even though sega's cd drive systems faltered there were developers who knew what cd-rom media could be used for, which likely helped sony's playstation suceed.
      • Well the Game Gear had color who knows how long before the Game Boy Color was released (and only just fairly recently with a backlight making it actually visible with the GBA SP), but it was a miserable failure compared to the Game Boy (or maybe the GB Pocket by that time). And let's face it - Sonic pwns Mario: your moustached plumber certainly couldn't do a spin-dash last I checked.
        • by VJ42 (860241)
          Well the Game Gear had color who knows how long before the Game Boy Color was released (and only just fairly recently with a backlight making it actually visible with the GBA SP)

          My Atari Lynx had backlit colour even before the Game Gear, I still have it somwhere. It was a great system, and had it had better marketing, could have done for the handheld market what the NES did for the console market. Unfortunatly, it didn't, and the next hand held I ended up buying was the GBA SP. This weekend I finally bo
    • No but really, the sega master system was a good console, and never really got the recognition it deserved.

      Good console, but seriously lacking in the software department. Except for Phantasy Star, I can't remember the names of any of the games I've played on the Master System. Genesis, on the other hand, would deliver on so many levels...
      • Good console, but seriously lacking in the software department.

        Oh, come on! Sure, the SMS had a smaller library than the NES, but it had some great games: R-Type, Quartet, Fantasy Zone, Wonderboy in Monsterland, Alex Kidd in Miracle World, Double Dragon, Time Soldier, Shinobi, Penguin Land... the list goes on. And, while the NES library is vast, the amount of sheer *crap* is equally vast. :)
    • The point isn't that the NES was technically better than the Sega Mastersystem it just never made an indent in the market. Remember the Turbo Graphic 16 it was as good as the Sega Genisis, but only 6 people bought it so it died.
    • What was better with the Atari ST exactly? I vaguely recall it having a MIDI interface or something, but other than that the operating system and graphics hardware was way below what the Amiga 500 could accomplish (especially after an upgrade to AmigaOS 2.x or 3.x). The Atari lacked multitasking and had a crappy DOS-like file system.
    • Yess... because the SMS had PHANTASY STAR. That was the most enjoyable RPG I've ever played, possibly the most enjoyable game. The sound effects and music were great, and the suspense at times was incredible. I'm sitting here trying to list the awesome moments and there are just too many. The worlds were just so well put together, it really felt like you were there. Final Fantasy had a similar feel, but to me it was just a bit less visceral. It also seemed a lot easier and less complicated.

      Plus Myau w
    • I have a couple of old atari's in my garage. Looking to buy one?

      LK
  • I remember the NES quite well. Not because I played it when it first came out. When I was at Accolade/Infogrames/Atari (1998-2004), I was something of an "old timer" (one of a handful graybeards in the QA department) because I played Pong in the basement of the Sears store near downtown San Jose (now called "Midtown" with a Safeway and a McDonald) and the Atari 2600 when they both first came out. The reaction of the younger testers was usually, "You mean there were video games before the NES? Wow! You are o
    • I'm 28 and I grew up playing the Intellivision II before the NES came out. No gray hairs naturally yet, but watching what MTV has become today gives me a few.
  • NES marketing (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 26, 2006 @02:30PM (#14804730)
    Nintendo had taken over Saturday morning cartoons, cereal boxes, and the surface of commercial merchandise the world over.

    If anybody is interested, there are numerous examples of this at Nintendo: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly [i-mockery.com]

    Personally, I think that the Super Mario Bros. ceiling fan [i-mockery.com] best shows the complete grasp Nintendo had on many people's lives.
  • by ShyGuy91284 (701108) on Sunday February 26, 2006 @02:43PM (#14804786)
    When I realizeed the Zelda series (and NES) was 20 years old, I was shocked realizing how quickly time has gone by.........
    • I downloaded Zelda Classic (http://www.zeldaclassic.com/ [zeldaclassic.com] after reading this article and the 20 years of nintendo article. After not having played for some 15 years, I still remembered which parts of walls to bomb, which bushes to burn, where most things were, how to beat the bosses, etc. I was surprised, and then disappointed when I beat the first quest in 12 hours and how it took me weeks (if not months) the first time I played; and then really depressed because having such a good memory of the game (which
  • In my opinion, the NES was the best system ever made. It had games with better play control than what they make now, and it was just pure fun.

    Don't forget about the NES.

  • NES hit 20 on Feb 21, 2006.
  • Because last night I got the sudden urge to play some original Zelda so I got out my dreamcast and also my NES emulation disc with like 1,000 games and played Zelda all night long. Those old games are still a lot of fun today and bring me back to when I was 7-8 and would play all night long with my friends trying to beat games. Good times!
  • I remember getting my NES. Got the gun AND R.O.B. in fact. (Although I found playing Gyromyte with my feet much easier than using ROB)

    I spent nearly every day playing on that thing. Or over at a friends house playing a 2-player simo game. There were a ton of great titles on that system.

    Hey anyone remember that article in Nintendo Power? The one which said something like "Some games might slow down and flicker. This is because the game is SO powerful!!!"

    Man talk about a biased magazine. I mea
    • Man talk about a biased magazine. I mean it is Nintendo who owns it after all. At the time though I ate it all up with gusto! Plus by subscribing during a promotion: I got a copy of Dragon Warrior.

      Heh, I remember that promotion; it's when I got my subscription to Nintendo Power too. I was fifteen at the time, and I was upset when my first issue arrived, but no Dragon Warrior. A call to customer service revealed that my subscription had been processed as a non-promotional subscription, but they sent me the

  • Last night my firend had a house-warming party. After the BBQ, many of the attending 20-somethings hit the living room for some NES/Mario Bros/Duck Hunt action.

    -bZj
  • I just beat Super Mario Bros 3 two days ago, this makes me feel great to know it took me 20 years!
    • I just beat Super Mario Bros 3 two days ago, this makes me feel great to know it took me 20 years!

      That's got to be one of the greatest games ever.

      I first learned of its existence when I stopped in the arcade at the Tacoma Mall in '89 (either late '89 or very early '90) and there was an SMB3 machine. My jaw dropped, and I promptly spent half of my allowance on it. I would've spent my entire allowance, but I left to tell my friend the news. He refused to believe me and it took a lot of coaxing to convince

    • SMB3 didn't come out till 88-89....

      SMB1 would be 20 years old with the NES. Either way it's pretty sad that it took you that long to beat SMB3.
      • I can't say I ever really beat it. I warped through it (from world 2 to world 8) and flew over most of world 8 with p-wings. I wouldn't really consider that beating it. I'm sure that's how most other people beat it too. Mario 2 I could beat without warping and using any character the entire way. But then again, I owed mario 2. I only played mario 3 when I borrowed it from a friend.
  • by 6e7a (256012) <6e7an0n.gmail@com> on Sunday February 26, 2006 @03:47PM (#14805040) Journal

    Is it just me, or is Nintendo the only company that doesn't cater only to mature audiences? Does Gen Y (or Z or whatever) really demand such over-the-top nightmarish games? Am I so old that only us NES veterans enjoy games that even my young kids can play?

    I went to the toy store to buy my son a birthday present. While I was there, I walked down the aisle, taking note of the rough percentage of games for each platform were rated anything below teen or mature. I noticed that only Nintendo had any games I'd want my kids to play.

    I don't mind a little violence, but why does every game have to simulate a nightmare or a crime to be worth playing? I just don't understand. I'd appreciate it if someone explained it to me.

    • Because it's easier on the programmers to just go over the top of what the last person did to get the latest and greatest "shock value" out of the buyer instead of actually being creative and innovative. But yeah, unfortunately it seems you get the choices of violent content, sexual content or kiddie content with hardly any middle ground. It may lead to off-topicness, but some of the hardcore gamers on here might have suggestions for you if you have an age range. I found more expensive (more money wastef
    • I mean, Katamari Damacy is one of the best family-friendly games ever created, and it's a PS2 exclusive. (due to its controls, although one COULD port it to GC if one really wanted) I would go so far to say, in fact, I think the NUMBER of innovative / creative games on each platform is about the same. The difference is that the GC has a much higher ratio of these games due to less of the really violent ones coming out for it.
    • I don't mind a little violence, but why does every game have to simulate a nightmare or a crime to be worth playing? I just don't understand. I'd appreciate it if someone explained it to me.

      Simply, people want to do something different in their game lives. Hell, even in The Sims my people have lives that are different than mine. As different as possible.

      Violence just helps to blow off steam. When some asshole cuts you off in traffic, you can relieve yourself by blowing the head off of a digital asshole on
      • Violence just helps to blow off steam. When some asshole cuts you off in traffic, you can relieve yourself by blowing the head off of a digital asshole on your screen.

        Or you could just ride a bike and take the trail to work. Maybe people wouldn't need such ridiculous escapes if they didn't put themselves in such terrible lifestyles to begin with?

        Don't get me wrong, I'm not down on gamers- personally, I'm a sucker for starcraft (and chess).

        • Or you could just ride a bike and take the trail to work.

          I'm a 30 year old smoker. That's out of the question.

          Maybe people wouldn't need such ridiculous escapes if they didn't put themselves in such terrible lifestyles to begin with?

          That's an unfortunate reality in today's world.

          Don't get me wrong, I'm not down on gamers- personally, I'm a sucker for starcraft (and chess).

          I can dig the chess thing. I play online and with my PDA. But sometimes I want something else.

          LK
    • Back when Nintendo and Sega were the big names, video games were primarily marketed towards children, as a toy. As the kids grew up, Nintendo was the only name that survived, for the most part. The other names (Sony, MS) have to capitalize on the now-grown people, that were kids back when Nintendo was in its heyday. Sony and MS will have more mature games, while I still think that Nintendo still markets towards kids.

      I've noticed that Nintendo is what I gravitate to, when it comes to consoles. I have a
  • Dragon Warrior and Final Fantasy certainly did not set the standard for computer role-playing games. I am not sure which came first, but the credit for that achievement would have to go to either Ultima or Wizardry (which was my personal fave back in the day).
  • My fist Atari was awsome, I thought it was the bomb when it first came out. But back in 1985 there was a new kid on the block, The Nintendo Entertainment system. Which I believe retailed for around $199.99 when they first hit the shelves. The first systems came with R.O.B. the robot, The lightgun and two games. (Super Mario brothers/duckhunt and Gyromite.) Then a couple years later they eliminated the robot and sold the system with a lightgun and the Super Mario brothers and Duckhunt game pack. Needless to

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