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FamICOm (JaPan)

released: 1983 (Japan), 1985
(U.S), 1986 (EU), 1987 (AUS)
Price: US $199
Units sold: 61.91 million

Thanks to their success in the game arcades, the NES with a toy robot as one last effort to tell
Nintendo went ahead with plans to make a retailers and the public: “seriously, this isn’t a
console. Their tinkering under the hood meant video game console”.
games could now be longer and handle
detailed graphics, and once popular in Japan, R.O.B, The Robotic Operating Buddy was
Nintendo turned their sights to America. a NES game accessory that could pose as
a ‘second player’ in the compatible games
Plans were made to release their system Stack-up and Gyromite. R.O.B would move
with Atari, but went sour when Atari spotted its coloured disks around, and other simple
Nintendo’s game Donkey Kong ported actions. While popular in Japan, R.O.B was a
on another competitor’s computer system. flop in the western market and not packaged
Nintendo had given Atari the only licence to with the game later in the console’s life. Still,
publish the game, and Atari felt this was a R.O.B wasn’t destined for the trash heap, and
gross breach of trust and contract. While the can still be seen in many Nintendo games,
issue was dealt with quickly, the deal did not including Pikmin 2 and Mario Kart DS.
go through and the NES was delayed in North
America. Nintendo created restrictions on third-party
games for the NES. Only three titles per year
We aren’t joking when we say consumer were allowed to be from third-parties, who
confidence was low about video games. were also forbidden to develop for other
Nintendo redesigned their Famicom to look consoles. This shrewd business move ensured
more like a VCR, and renamed it ‘Nintendo market dominance and prevented the influxes
Entertainment System’. Game cartridges were of sub-par games that choked the previous
rebranded “game paks” and the console was generations. However, the business move was
instead a “control deck”. While it was still ruled to be illegal late in the NES life cycle.
marketed for children, it could still be seen as
another item of home entertainment for their Eighteen games were available upon release,
living room. Box art was also designed to including Ice Climber, Super Mario Brothers and
replicate Donkey Kong Jr. The top selling games for the
the graphic NES were both from the Super Mario franchise,
capabilities. with the in-pack copy of Super Mario Brothers
Moreover, selling 40 million, and Super Mario Brothers 3
they selling 18 million. The NES era also saw the
packaged birth of some franchises still existing to this day:
the first Metroid, Dragons Quest, The Legend of Zelda…
batches of and the list goes on.

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