Nintendo NES

Published: July 7, 2021

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 Famicom (Nintendo Family Computer) was slow to gather momentum; during its first year, many criticized the system as unreliable, prone to programming errors and rampant freezing. 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.

Nintendo NES

Encouraged by its successes, the company soon turned its attentions to the North American market. Nintendo entered into negotiations with Atari to release the Famicom under Atari’s name as the name Nintendo Enhanced Video System; however, this deal eventually fell through.

Finally, in June 1985, Nintendo unveiled its American version of the Famicom at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES). The firm 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 of course, Super Mario Bros.

In Europe and Australia, the Nintendo NES 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 original NES had become the best-selling console in video game history.

Instructions & manuals

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Download here the Nintendo NES manual (PDF).

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Nintendo NES value and price guide

What's your Nintendo NES worth in 2021? Here are some recently sold items.

Item Title Date Price
Nintendo HUGE SALE NES HUGE 272 Game HUGE SALE NES HUGE 272 Game System W 06/2021 $ 2 273.41
Nintendo Nintendo Entertainment System Nintendo Entertainment System Action Set 07/2021 $ 1 634.30
Nintendo Nintendo NES 1985 Game Games Nintendo NES 1985 Game Games Console 04/2021 $ 1 711.00
Nintendo Nintendo Entertainment System Nintendo Entertainment System Deluxe 05/2021 $ 1 652.00
Nintendo Nintendo NES Original 1985 Nintendo NES Original 1985 Console 06/2021 $ 1 532.82
no pictureSee all sold items on eBay for more prices07/2021-.--

Nintendo NES forum

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Eileen - September 26, 2013
When I was a single Mom I scraped together enough money (from work, selling homespun ornaments)to buy my kids an Atari. That was all they wanted for Christmas. Sadly our T.V. was a dud and he couldn't play it. In 1986 I married again and suddenly there was a blended family of four kids and the blending was not so easy. But then we bought them a Nintendo and they played nonstop. It helped the blending and bonding because the kids could challenge us parents. The Nintendo was a fun , clean ,holsom game that brought countless hours of fun. The kids played when our family experience sad events and happy events. All the kids around wanted to come and play with our Nintendo. Now grandkids have been playing that same game since the late 90's. We have a 5 year old grandson who loves that game more than any of the games. He had been very ill and in the hospital for over a month. He had to work on regaining his very basic skills again and we used the Nintendo to help with that. When he walks through the door he wants to play Duck Hunt. We look forward to another 2 years of duck hunt.
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