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The Lifespan of The Nintendo Entertainment System 71

Via Press the Buttons, a node over at Everything2 with an excellent synopsis of the lifespan of the Nintendo Entertainment System. It details the background of the video game industry at the time that the NES came onto the stage, the launch and the peak of its success, and the factors that led to the console's eventual decline. From the writeup: "In the aftermath of the home video game crash in 1983, nobody in North America seemed to want anything more to do with video games. Having been burned by the atrociously bad Atari 2600 games flooding the market and the rise of the home computer, both retailers and parents, and to a lesser degree gamers, were reluctant to risk their hard-earned money on another console. Analysts claimed that video games were yet another fad in an infamously faddish time that came and went and now are gone."
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The Lifespan of The Nintendo Entertainment System

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  • to this day, my friends and i still play complete seasons of TECMO super bowl. it is one of the greatest games of all time. i can't believe they speak of the NES in the past tense! IT LIVES!!
  • Almost nostalgic (Score:3, Interesting)

    by DarthMAD ( 805372 ) <markhatesspam@NOspAm.gmail.com> on Thursday March 31, 2005 @08:05PM (#12105702)
    This article reminded me of how no matter how advanced video games get in terms of graphics and plot, there's something to be said for the simple pleasure of shooting simulated ducks on the NES... Sometimes you just can't beat the classics.
  • by Anusien ( 705743 ) <anusien@nOSPAM.hotmail.com> on Thursday March 31, 2005 @08:21PM (#12105842)
    I don't know, I think Duck Hunt was pretty real. Don't tell me I'm the only one that used a treadmill as a trench and ducked behind it, shooting the ducks from behind cover.
  • I couldn't wait for better video games, I knew they had a long way ahead of them. JUST LIKE NOW MMOG haven't hit fast paced action yet. This statistic war MMOPRGS is dull. Once a game come out that blends action with RPG, it will rule supreme like nintendo 8 bit did over atari2600, its the same gap.

    That said, the next big thing after that will be video cameras tracking your motions. Buy a camera array and set it up in your home(or arcade), hold a lightsabre, wear vr goggles, and dodge/move/slash enemi
    • I can't give you FTP access, but if you were to email me that demo I could host it for you for a while at fred.wackiness.org. My friend owns the site, but I could show it to him, he might give you a subdomain of your own.
    • VR goggles are the "next big thing" or a future "next big thing" in video gaming. As soon as they are mass marketted to coincide with some popular new MMOG and they are combined with gyroscopes to correspond head movement to camera movement, they are going to take off. The tech is there, but prices just keep it from becoming mainstream.

      LCD technology is ready. 3D gaming is ready. Immersive MMOG's are ready.

      Put it on and you may never take it off.
  • What a great article. Technical details of the NES, as well as a good overview of the history of the system, and well written to boot. It brought me back to the Christmas 1987, when I first got my Nintendo. That was the most exciting Christmas I've ever had.
  • by Dwedit ( 232252 ) on Thursday March 31, 2005 @09:06PM (#12106189) Homepage
    There are so many inaccuracies in this article! Let's see...
    * The NES has 2k bytes of ram built in, not 4k. Cartridges can contain an 8k RAM expansion to expand the total RAM to 10k, the expansion can also be battery backed to save games.
    * The NES is not capable of rendering 16x16 sprites, only 8x8 or 8x16 sprites. Those of course can be combined to form larger sprites.

    Then some nitpicks:
    * I've heard from other articles that Nintendo never tried selling the Famicom directly in America before redesigning it, but I have nothing to back this up with.
    * Kirby's Adventure, weighing in at 768 kilobytes, is far larger than Dragon Warrior 4.
    * The article fails to mention the bootleg joysticks being sold today which contain illegal NES multicarts built in, these display directly on a TV and have no cartridge slot. No problem, this is probably beyond the scope of the article.
  • by -kertrats- ( 718219 ) on Thursday March 31, 2005 @09:57PM (#12106478) Journal
    I would definitely recommed "The Ultimate History of Video Games", by Stephen Kent. It's about 600 pages long and is a comprehensive history of videogames from the 1920's pinball tables to 2001, with special emphasis on the activities of the 1980's. I read it in about a week, it's fascinating stuff for anyone interested in the field.
    • Absolutely incredible book! I modded you +1 for noting that. I totally agree - it was amazing how well-written this book was for such a subject. Maybe I'm too used to the writing styles of 14 year old fanboy pages and ign "editors" grammar that I wasn't expecting such a book to be so well-written. It read like any interesting non-fiction. And he has quotes from the most amazing people in there too... Here's a direct link [amazon.com] to the book (no, it's NOT an affiliate link. just spreading the word...).
  • by LGagnon ( 762015 ) on Thursday March 31, 2005 @10:36PM (#12106729)
    Wikipedia has their article on the NES [wikipedia.org] on the main page today. It also provides plenty of info on the system.
    • Wikipedia has their article on the NES on the main page today.

      No mention in that article of the failed Atari deal [atarimuseum.com], one of the biggest and most important non-events in video game history.

      I also don't agree with 1983 being listed as the year of the video game crash, as seems to be the current fashion (though Google still lists more hits for "video game crash 1984" than "video game crash 1983"), but I guess it's debateable. 1983 was really the start of trouble, though, not the end of it. It was the year
  • This must be the first article that came, out of the box, pre-slashdotted....
  • The NES, the system that brought back the North American console industry, is now, in the minds of the general public, just a memory and a relic next to the shiny new 3D game systems and their less-shiny immediate predecessors

    It's just a memory? Try telling that to the NES sitting in my floor's lounge right now. The replayability of NES games completely destroys that of games today. Beating Contra or Mario just never gets old, but once you've beaten the latest-greatest game for a new system you rarely g

    • man.. I wish I could play SM3 right now
    • Games had a different attitude back then. Now games are written so the average gamer can complete them without problems. You are expected to pass through once on your way to the goal, and never come back. Back then games were hard - you were expected to struggle to get deeper into it, and most players never managed to finish any given game (or loop through even once, whichever came first ;-) ).

      And while I don't have all that many old systems around (well, my old MSX and my Amiga) I still play emulated gam

    • Beating Contra or Mario just never gets old, but once you've beaten the latest-greatest game for a new system you rarely go back to it.

      Dying 30 in Ninja Gaiden times and then throwing your controller at the wall never gets old, either.
  • by pb ( 1020 )
    "the factors that led to the console's eventual decline"

    Speak for yourself buddy, I'm still trying to beat Spy Hunter!
  • bad games (Score:3, Interesting)

    by mabu ( 178417 ) on Friday April 01, 2005 @02:58AM (#12108204)
    That's the reason why the last console I purchased was a N64. Either there was a shortage of games, or a glut of mediocre games on the market, or they were all of the same 2-3 varieties, which is the way I think the industry is now. I suspect unless game developers get more creative, the console industry will experience another decline.
    • You should check out Prince of Persia, Ico, Katamari Damacy, one of the Tony Hawk games, and Rallisport 2. I want to mention Halo 2 as well, but would probably get flamed ("It's just a regular FPS!").

      There are new, interesting games coming out. Console game developers ARE getting creative. There's been a lot of new stuff since the N64. Is every game an improvement? No. But there's a lot of awesome stuff you are missing out on.
      • Re:bad games (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Zorilla ( 791636 )
        1) PoP - Frustrating puzzles that penalize you by making you watch long cutscenes over and over if you die and have to restore your last save...
        2) ICO - Why do you have to skip the opening cutscene 7+ times just to get started? And I don't want to hear anything about it suggesting my attention span - FMVs are never that important.
        3) Katamari Damacy - fantastic and hilarious game, but very, very short. Small issues like the Ursa Major level. A pixel is not a bear!
        4) I don't have much bad to say about Tony Ha
      • id like to throw ninja giaden and the splinter cell series into this mix
    • People only seem to remember the mario's and the zelda's for the nes. The way I remember it, the number of mediocre to bad games outnumbered the really good ones.
  • by wheresdrew ( 735202 ) on Friday April 01, 2005 @09:05AM (#12109464) Journal
    It's just not made by Nintendo anymore.

    Cyber Gadget makes a unit called the Famulator [cybergadget.co.jp] which is a re-designed (or re-re-designed depending on how you look at it) NES toploader that sells for just under 3,000 yen. You can use your US NES carts on it, but you'll need an adapter like the one sold by Lik-Sang. [lik-sang.com]

  • The original Deluxe set did not come with Super Mario Bros - Just Duck Hunt and Gyromite. I had to pick between Wrecking Crew and Super Mario Bros for my 7th birthday, and I had no clue which one to get.

Always leave room to add an explanation if it doesn't work out.