The Nintendo Entertainment System, or NES as it’s more commonly referred to as, launched in North America 31 years ago on October 18, 1985.
If you grew up with the NES, you likely have some very fond memories of the 8-bit video game console. You may remember blowing into your game cartridges as if they were harmonicas. And you’ve probably had your fair share of frustrating blinking red light moments, too. But countless hours spent playing the system’s mega library of games surely outweighs any frustrating moments, right?
Nintendo distributed the first batch of NES systems to a select number of American test markets on October 18, 1985. A full-scale launch in America followed a few months later, in February 1986. Seventeen titles launched alongside the NES: 10-Yard Fight, Baseball, Clu Clu Land, Duck Hunt, Excitebike, Golf, Gyromite, Hogan’s Alley, Ice Climber, Kung Fu, Pinball, Soccer, Stack-Up, Super Mario Bros., Tennis, Wild Gunman, and Wrecking Crew.
The system would eventually see its release in Europe and Australia in 1986 and 1987, respectively. And South Korea would welcome the hardware under the name Hyundai Comboy, distributed by semiconductor company Hyundai Electronics (now SK Hynix).
Here we are 31 years later and the NES continues to live on in the hearts of old-school gamers and newcomers alike. Its legacy has carried over to Nintendo’s Virtual Console service on Wii U and Nintendo 3DS. Heck, the NES Classic Edition, a miniature version of the original 1985 machine, will launch in retail stores this November; the palm-sized system includes digital copies for 30 of some of the most popular NES games of all-time.
The Japanese equivalent of the NES is the Family Computer, or simply Famicom. It launched in Japan on July 15, 1983. Both the NES and Famicom were succeeded by the Super Famicom and Super Nintendo (SNES) in November 1990 and August 1991, respectively. Roughly 62 million NES/Famicom units were sold worldwide.
Do you have fond memories of the NES or Famicom? Perhaps you’ve just recently been introduced to one or both of the ageless systems. Regardless, feel free to share your nostalgic thoughts with us.
With that, we have included memorable video footage for the first NES television commercial, which includes R.O.B., or Robotic Operating Buddy. Nintendo News wishes the NES a very happy 31st anniversary.