The original NES was one of the best-selling games consoles of all time. And now it’s coming back - again!
Nintendo released a mini version of the console last year to rave reviews. It promptly sold out, and Nintendo claimed it wouldn’t release any more. However, the games giant has changed its mind, and has said it will start selling the console again next year.
So what’s all the fuss about? Read on to discover what made this a childhood classic to so many, and why we’re excited about its return.
1. It was the best-selling console of its era
The NES was released in Japan in 1983, in the US in 1985 and in the UK in 1986. It trounced other consoles of the 1980s, and went on to sell a staggering 61 million units worldwide.
2. It had lots of different names
In the UK, US and Europe it was known as the NES, which stands for Nintendo Entertainment System. But in Japan, it was known as the Famicon (a portmanteau of ‘family computer’). And in Korea, it was called the Hyundai Comboy.
3. It was aimed at non-techy types
The NES was originally designed as a 16-bit games machine that took floppy discs and came complete with a keyboard. But Nintendo president Hiroshi Yamauchi nixed the idea, saying it wouldn’t appeal to non-techy types. Instead, we got a less expensive 8-bit machine that ran games off cartridges. Judging by its huge success, we’d say Yamauchi's hunch was right.
4. It gave birth to some of the biggest games characters of all time
Admittedly Mario made his debut in the arcade game Donkey Kong in 1981, but back then he was known only as Jumpman. He subsequently appeared in the arcade games Donkey Kong Junior (1982 – the first time he was known as Mario) and Mario Bros (1983).
But it wasn’t until his appearance in Super Mario Bros on the NES that he really shot to fame, as he and his brother Luigi raced through the Mushroom Kingdom to save Princess Peach from the evil Bowser. Most of the characters from the series still appear in modern games, thanks to the continuing success of the Mario franchise and offshoots like Mario Kart.
5. The new version comes with 30 games
These include classics like Super Mario Bros, Super Mario Bros 3, Metroid, The Legend of Zelda, Punchout!! and Excitebike. They’re all preinstalled too, so you won’t have to blow into any game cartridges to clear the dust and make them work.
6. It still has that retro feel
You can choose to play games in high definition, or, if you want the truly retro look, you can opt for the CRT filter mode, which makes them look exactly as they did back on a chunky CRT TV in the 1980s. It even comes complete with visual artifacts and other quirks of retro technology.
7. You’ll never lose your progress again
Games were hard back in the 80s. With no save points anywhere in some games, you had to play through in one sitting or start back at the beginning again. But the NES Classic Mini lets you save anywhere you like, so you can pick up exactly where you left off. Which makes a lot more sense.