"The Nintendo Entertainment System (often abbreviated as NES or simply Nintendo) is an 8-bit video game console that was released by Nintendo in North America, Europe, and Australia in 1985. In most of Asia, including Japan (where it was first launched in 1983), the Philippines, Taiwan, Vietnam, and Singapore, it was released as the Family Computer, also known as the Famicom. In Southern Asia (such as India), it was known as the Tata Famicom.
The Goonies II (NES)
The best-selling gaming console of its time, the NES helped revitalize the US video game industry following the video game crash of 1983, and set the standard for subsequent consoles in everything from game design to controller layout In addition, with the NES, Nintendo introduced a now-standard business model of software licensing for third-party developers.
Following a series of arcade game successes in the early 1980s, Nintendo made plans to produce a cartridge-based console. Masayuki Uemura designed the system, which was released in Japan on July 15, 1983 for ¥14,800 alongside three ports of Nintendo’s successful arcade games Donkey Kong, Donkey Kong Jr., and Popeye. The Nintendo Family Computer (Famicom) was slow to gather momentum; a bad chip set caused the initial release of the system to crash. Following a product recall and a reissue with a new motherboard, the Famicom’s popularity soared, becoming the best-selling game console in Japan by the end of 1984.
Jurassic Park (NES)
Encouraged by these successes, Nintendo soon turned its attention to the North American market. Nintendo entered into negotiations with Atari to release the Famicom under Atari’s name as the name Nintendo Advanced Video Gaming System; however, this deal eventually fell apart. Subsequent plans to market a Famicom console in North America featuring a keyboard, cassette data recorder, wireless joystick controller, and a special BASIC cartridge under the name "Nintendo Advanced Video System" likewise never materialized.
In June 1985, Nintendo unveiled its American version of the Famicom at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES). It rolled out its first systems to limited American markets on October 18, 1985, following up with a full-fledged North American release of the console in February of the following year. Nintendo simultaneously released eighteen launch titles: 10-Yard Fight, Baseball, Clu Clu Land, Donkey Kong Jr. Math, Duck Hunt, Excitebike, Golf, Gyromite, Hogan’s Alley, Ice Climber, Kung Fu, Mach Rider, Pinball, Stack-Up, Tennis, Wild Gunman, Wrecking Crew, and Super Mario Bros.
Batman: Return of the Joker (NES)
In Europe and Australia, the system was released to two separate marketing regions (A and B). Distribution in region B, consisting of most of mainland Europe (excluding Italy), was handled by a number of different companies, with Nintendo responsible for most cartridge releases; most of region B saw a 1986 release. Mattel handled distribution for region A, consisting of the United Kingdom, Ireland, Italy, Australia and New Zealand, starting the following year. Not until 1990 did Nintendo’s newly created European branch take over distribution throughout Europe. Despite the system’s lackluster performance outside of Japan and North America, by 1990 the NES had outsold all previously released consoles World-Wide.
As the 1990s dawned, however, renewed competition from technologically superior systems such as the 16-bit Sega Mega Drive (called the Sega Genesis in North America) marked the end of the NES’s dominance. Eclipsed by Nintendo’s own Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES), the NES’s user base gradually waned. Nintendo continued to support the system in North America through the first half of the decade, even releasing a new version of the console, the NES 2, to address many of the design flaws in the original NES hardware. The final games released for the system were as follows: in Japan, Adventure Island IV, and, in North America, among unlicensed titles, Sunday Funday was the last, whereas Wario's Woods was the last licensed game (also the only one with an ESRB rating). In the wake of ever decreasing sales and the lack of new software titles, Nintendo of America officially discontinued the NES by 1995. Despite this, Nintendo of Japan kept producing new Nintendo Famicom units up until October 2003, when it discontinued the line. Even as developers ceased production for the NES, a number of high-profile video game franchises and series for the NES were transitioned to newer consoles and remain popular to this day. Nintendo's own Super Mario Bros., The Legend of Zelda, and Metroid franchises debuted on the NES, as did Capcom's Mega Man franchise, Konami's Castlevania franchise, and Squaresoft's (now Square Enix's) Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest franchises.
Nintendo of Japan continued to repair Famicom systems until October 31, 2007, attributing the decision to discontinue support to an increasing shortage of the necessary parts." (Wikipedia)
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