Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive


Forgot your password?

20 Years of NES 333

Twenty years ago, the NES changed the face of U.S. gaming. All this week, 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."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

20 Years of NES

Comments Filter:
  • by AKAImBatman ( 238306 ) * <{akaimbatman} {at} {}> on Wednesday October 26, 2005 @05:30PM (#13884346) Homepage Journal
    Ah yes, the good old days of gaming. Back when games had to be fun rather than bloody. I always found it nice that Nintendo took a solid stance about the family playability of games. It meant that the games had to be sold on the basis of something other than blood and gore. While there were quite a few Nintendo games that sold because they were either a) cheap or b) had a movie license (Karate Kid anyone?), a large number of the games for the old system were just good. Nintendo's "Seal of Quality" program came out, it helped keep the overall quality of games high, again because they had to be competitive on something other than shock factor. Not that the graphics of the time allowed much of that anyway...

    When the SuperNES came out, it wasn't long before the issue of blood and gore came up, especially in the light of the SuperNES's new graphics capabilities. But Nintendo pushed back at game creators and kept that era of gaming fun. Even more so because Nintendo didn't approve games that didn't meet their playtester approval.

    Then the Playstation came out, and despite its technical superiority, it sucked. But they had the Blood and Gore (and Loading...), and plenty of boring 3D games that only sold due to shock factor. But eventually Sony pushed long enough and hard enough, and now we have the games of today. Even Nintendo gets into the whole "adult" thing with their postively revolting Conq the Squirrel game. Thanks Sony. :-(
  • Ahh! NES! (Score:3, Informative)

    by mister_llah ( 891540 ) on Wednesday October 26, 2005 @05:30PM (#13884349) Homepage Journal
    Top 5 Favorite NES Games

    Final Fantasy
    Solar Jetman
    Super Mario 2
    River City Ransom
    Super Dodge Ball


    I can't count how many hours I spent playing these games, sadly... mostly because I wasn't keeping track when I was 8-14, but also because it was a godawful long time.

    NES is dead! Long live NES!
  • by op12 ( 830015 ) on Wednesday October 26, 2005 @05:31PM (#13884357) Homepage
    The images below that last line link to the different articles. Try this: []
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 26, 2005 @05:34PM (#13884379)
    Top 15 games as posted by 1up:
    15. Dragon Warrior
    14. Duck Hunt
    13. StarTropics
    12. Bionic Commando
    11. Zelda II
    10. Duck Tales
    9. Super Mario Bros. 2
    8. Final Fantasy
    7. Mega Man 2
    6. Contra
    5. Mike Tyson's Punch-Out!!
    4. River City Ransom
    3. Super Mario Bros.
    2. The Legend of Zelda
    1. Super Mario Bros. 3
  • by antdude ( 79039 ) on Wednesday October 26, 2005 @05:37PM (#13884406) Homepage Journal
    I noticed the article mentioned the cheesy lame cartoon series, Super Mario Bros. Super Show []. You can watch that online on Yahooligans! TV [] for free. Even The Legend of Zelda [] cartoons are there.
  • by AKAImBatman ( 238306 ) * <{akaimbatman} {at} {}> on Wednesday October 26, 2005 @05:55PM (#13884552) Homepage Journal
    While I can understand N's reluctance to release an uncensored MK, it was somewhat hypocritical since the SNES version of Street Fighter II (which came out earlier) features the fighters vomiting blood in big streams.

    Actually, Nintendo forced them to recolor the blood as vomit in the first version, then relaxed their requirement for later releases based on fan pushback.

    At the time it was considered that Nintendo was being far too strict. If only we could have seen the slippery slope ahead of us.
  • by Guppy06 ( 410832 ) on Wednesday October 26, 2005 @05:56PM (#13884555)
    The seal wasn't used to stop pirates, it was the lock-out chip. Witness Tengen.

    If you'd read Game Over, you know the seal was part of a program to keep publishers from flooding the market; it wasn't to keep bad games from getting through, it was to to keep a metric fuckload of crap games from getting through (ala 2600). The seal was Nintendo's PR way of telling potential consumers that it wasn't going to be the cause of another Dark Age of Video Games.

    Nintendo also had a strict policy of limiting the number of titles a publisher could release in a year. They could still get away with crap games, but then they'd have to rely on that crap game for income before they're allowed to have another shot at finding player love.
  • Hot Air? (Score:2, Informative)

    by jimbonics ( 885295 ) on Wednesday October 26, 2005 @05:58PM (#13884569)
    Some people blew into their cartridges when they didn't work to "clean" them to work again.

    The smart folk simply breathed hot air into them, thus forming a little condensation mositure onto the cartridge slot contacts.

    worked every time.

  • by nunchux ( 869574 ) on Wednesday October 26, 2005 @06:03PM (#13884613)
    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 was 14 or 15 around the time and remember it well. A few years before, everyone loved games. Every family had an Atari. Every mall had an arcade. EVERYONE played games. Even parents. And girls. Then, there was a crash, for whatever reason-- most likely because even the best games were limited and got boring fast. In 1984-5, if you liked video games, you owned a Commodore 64. The days of families-- or really anyone but pasty-faced geeks-- buying consoles and games was very much over. That is, until Nintendo revolutionized the market. Their games were light years beyond previous generation because they weren't just three screens of action that repeated until you died, they were fun and interesting worlds that could be explored. And unlike the typical Atari game that just got faster and faster on the same screen until you inevitably died, Nintendo games could be beaten and won.

    As for revisionism-- I don't think there's any shortage of Pac Man or Atari nostalgia, especially on the web. 32-in-1 Atari joysticks sell by the millions and I see 20-somethings in vintage game shirts all the time. Are you really trying to suggest that no one remembers that era?

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

    I haven't seen many articles like that, but I'll believe you. But I think this is a key to why Nintendo is so beloved-- you don't give a shit about Yar and why he wants revenge, or what the River Raid plane's mission was. You don't really even care why Pac Man does whatever he does. Nintendo's games and characters-- Zelda, Mario, Metroid, etc.-- have a story and a soul. They may look primitive now, but at the time they felt like cartoons brought to life.

  • Re:Huh? (Score:4, Informative)

    by zakezuke ( 229119 ) on Wednesday October 26, 2005 @06:21PM (#13884749)
    Rotton 2600 games lived somewhere between ET and Custer's Revenge in the plane between unplayable and outright obnoxiousness. The system just didn't have enough oomph for Pac Man, Defender, or Star Raiders, but the 2600 version of Asteroids rocked.

    Keep in mind the time period. The 2600 was released in 1977 though the more common version was released in 1982, and games were limited to 4K IIRC and not even 1K of system RAM. The NES was released in 1987 IIRC.

    What they are describing is the console market crash of 1983. The parent might have not noticed this crash because games for the consoles were still plentyful, just the companies who made them folded and they ended up marked down to 5 bucks at Toys R Us. Remember the Adam, TI, Timex-Sinclair, Intelivision? Poof by 1984. Quite sad as all were pretty good products, well except the Timex. But there was much in the way of crap during that time as you pointed out, but a few gems here and there. For some reason though the atari 5200 and 7800 didn't become very popular, which isn't shocking as Atari's focus by this point was in a computer.

    Commodore and Atari stuck around for a good long while though... though the Commodore was very much stronger in the game department. [] t_System [] 983 []
  • Re:Boo. (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 26, 2005 @06:27PM (#13884794)
    You'll be pleased to note that gwarioware just hit version 0.1 and is actively seeking developers on Sourceforge. Help build a truly Free video game!
  • by Jagasian ( 129329 ) on Wednesday October 26, 2005 @06:56PM (#13884997)
    There are a few hardware projects out there, for increasing your enjoyment of your NES. One is a special game cart that lets you write ROM images to a NES cart, called the FunkyFlashCart [], and then you can play ROM on a real NES. Because it uses flash for holding the ROMs, ROMs can be written many times to the cart. Similarly, it uses a CPLD in order to recreate the many different circuit-board types used in NES games. This is necessary because NES games lack a strong distinction between hardware and software common in modern games, i.e., NES games each include their own circuit board and ICs which must also be accurately recreated along with the game's ROM image in order to play the game. Note that the FunkyFlashCart is still under development, but will soon go on sale. No longer will you be stuck playing your NES games on a crappy inaccurate emulator!

    Another interesting device is actually a hardware modification for your NES called the "CopyNES". It has recently been redesigned, upgraded, and put into another round of production. Basically it is a device for ripping ROM images from carts, but it is also a ICE debugger for the NES, and it can even transfer ROM images to a RAM cart in the NES via a parallel port. The CopyNES has many other features, a favorite being the ability to play NSF files on the NES. NSF files are music ripped from NES games. Hence you can listen to your NES tunes on a real NES, as opposed to a NES emulator with poor emulation of the system's actual sound. The CopyNES is basically a circuit board that is placed between the NES's CPU and the NES's motherboard. This is how it is able to accomplish the ICE debugger features, as well as universal cart dumping, as it can force the CPU to do whatever you want. Here [] is the original site for the CopyNES. However, it shows an older version of the hardware. The creator announced in this thread [] that he will begin selling kits to mod your NES with CopyNES, and he will also provide a slightly more expensive service so that people can send their NES systems in for professional modification.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 26, 2005 @07:09PM (#13885103)
    I dont know about you guys, but all you need is a 1 Gb "backup / homebrew" memory card (such as Flash 2 Advance Ultra) and a Game Boy Micro and *cough* backed up copies of oh say EVERY SINGLE NINTENDO GAME EVER MADE (which you of course have, just collecting dust, right?)

    Let me make this crystal clear:

    Reflect on this for a moment - I would assume you guys would appreciate this far more than most.

    Slap 128 megs of games (256 if you get the 2 Gb version - thats nearly 1,000 NES games), load up PocketNES n_gba.htm [] and go to town on an original NES controller sized micro NES with built in color screen, auto saving and toggleable turbo buttons built in (GBA has 2 shoulder buttons, why not use them for something :))

    Of course you could also just buy (or build) an USB NES Controller and emulate them yourself (to prevent damage to the original games, i'm sure). Not as portable though, and saving and restoring the state is tougher (gotta use keys).

    For extra kicks and giggles, anybody remember the old AGI Sierra games? (Think Leisure Suit Larry 1, Space Quest 1,2, Police Quest, Kings Quest Series, etc).

    Some programming genius made a AGI --> GameBoy converter, called GBAGI. []

    Throw all of those on there too if you like, and even check out GREAT Fan made games that are arguably even better than the original SQ's - Space Quest 0: Replicated [] and Space Quest: The Lost Chapter []

    Man these things have come a long way in just 20 years. I look forward to what the next 20 will bring - and it had better not be a Xbox 360 the size of a standard xbox controller or I am going to be PISSED.
  • by NattyBucho ( 649379 ) on Wednesday October 26, 2005 @07:10PM (#13885112) Journal
    Nope, in the very beginning (in Donkey Kong), Mario was referred to as a carpenter. His profession was changed to a plumber with Mario Bros., so the article isn't entirely correct, but it's also not entirely wrong.

Experience varies directly with equipment ruined.