38 Years Ago Nintendo Changed Pop Culture Forever

By the early 1980s video games were mostly relegated to coin-operated arcade machines, but their increasing popularity Time Magazine cover story In January 1982, with the embarrassing warning: “GRONK! FLASH! ZAP! Video Games Are Bombing the World!”

If this sounds like Big Boomer Energy, it’s because Baby Boomers were between 20 and 40 years old at the time and represented the dominant consumer group. media panic About gaming addiction, he portrayed arcades as immoral places for vagabonds. Meanwhile, oversaturation of home consoles and a parade of middling games caused the entire American gaming industry to collapse in 1983.

Nintendo almost single-handedly saved gaming with the NES (see on amazon) It’s 1985 and popular culture has never been the same. Originally released in Japan as the Famicom (“Family Computer”), the NES was a redesign tailored specifically for western markets. Rather than a video game console, it was branded as an “Entertainment System” with a “Control Deck” using “Game Paks.”

A risky bet

NES creator “It all started with a phone call in 1981” Masayuki Uemura He told the writer and reporter Matt Alt in 2019, “President Yamauchi told me to build a video game system that could play games with cartridges. He always liked to call me after having a few drinks, so I didn’t think much of it. I said ‘Of course boss’ and hung up the phone. Until the next morning, he came to me sober and said, ‘What we talked about is, are you involved in this?’ was to say. This hit me: He was serious.

Originally poached from Sharp to develop light gun technology for toys at Nintendo, Uemura later spent six months deconstructing and reverse engineering rival consoles such as the Atari 2600 and Magnavox to study the circuits. The 8-bit Famicom he designed proved more powerful than its rivals, and its toy-like color scheme was carefully chosen by a scarf that Nintendo President Yamauchi liked (the same red and white Mario wears on the cover). Super Mario Brothers.). This helped Japanese lawmakers in 1984 change a law regulating entry to places such as bars and casinos to include gaming arcades out of concern it would affect “public morality.” Young Japanese had to resort to home consoles instead, so the Famicom came at the perfect time to explode.

Famicom games exhibited in Tokyo used the Super Potato game store.

Famicom games exhibited in Tokyo used the Super Potato game store.
Photograph: Tomohiro Ohsumi/Bloomberg (Getty Images)

But tapping into the American market required a completely different approach; An approach that will pay big dividends.

Inside lesson At New York University in 2015, Uemura said the NES’s front-loading design was inspired by VCRs, a rapidly developing form of home entertainment in America at the time. Game Pak cartridges measure 5.25 x 4.75 x 0.75 inches and pack a significant amount of weight, and the simple, boxy gray design is nothing short of iconic. They slide towards the front of the system, and the user must then press the cartridge down so that the brass-plated nickel connectors hit the connector pins of the cartridge housing. Frequent use actually wears out the pins, which can lead to faulty connection.

Players have been propagating this for years. myth He said that blowing on the Game Paks to remove dust would solve this problem, but instead the problem would be made worse due to the moisture in their breath. Still, sliding pucks in, pressing down, pressing again, pulling out, blowing, and repeating the process felt like a game in itself.

The console’s most memorable and successful accessory was the NES Zapper, a light gun that was released alongside the console in America. “America loves gunsUemura said when talking about how Nintendo marketed the NES in the west. There were many of us Super Mario Brothers / Duck Hunt He enjoyed blasting ducks while retrieving double-cartridge and cheerful dog corpses. For typical millennial gamers, the Nintendo Entertainment System served as the primary gateway to a hobby that would last a lifetime and never give up. I have good memories while playing the legend of zelda with my grandmother. he loved Tears of the Kingdom.

Origin of the classics

Take a look at Nintendo’s biggest games of the last few years, and most of them can be traced back to the NES: Super Mario, Zelda, Metroid, and Fire Emblem.

By 1990 Nintendo took over more than 90 percent Much of the US video game market is thanks to strict regulations. third party license agreement this still sets an important precedent in the industry. Game developers who wanted to publish games for the NES had to agree to a special licensing agreement that restricted them from porting the games to other consoles. Nintendo also directly certified each game to ensure a certain standard of quality.

Konami, Capcom, Taito and Namco also joined in and remain leading developers even today. Are you a Castlevania fan? Thank you Nintendo and NES for this. Even Square and Enix have had great success Final Fantasy And Dragon Quest on NES. 20 years after the companies merged into Square Enix, both franchises are still going strong.

A deluxe NES set including the original box and ROB the Robot.

Photograph: reddit

For all its success and rapid sales over several years, the NES doesn’t even make it into the roughly top 10 best-selling video game consoles of all time. 62 million units to this day – even the widely criticized PlayStation Portable has outsold over time – but Nintendo’s groundbreaking home console remains arguably one of the most important pieces of technology ever created.

“When console games became popular and became available to everyone, it felt as if we were all exploring a new frontier of dreams together.” Masayuki Uemura said Second Hand Games magazine in 2000. “Both creators and players were obsessed with games back then, even though some people might have wasted their money on a bad game here and there. “I believe miracles can still be found in older generation games.”

He was right. NES Classic Edition — A custom emulator featuring 30 NES classics — Available with most of the 2.3 million units from late 2016 to 2017 I sell immediately. The 2018 relaunch saw similar demand.

But the NES’s lasting legacy lies in the Nintendo Switch, which has sold more than 129 million units to date. With patents For what could be a successor to the Nintendo Switch, it’s a good time to remember and appreciate what the Nintendo Entertainment System did for games 38 years ago.



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