The name Nintendo translates into English as, “leave luck to heaven,” which suits the company well. I think we could all agree that our childhoods wouldn’t have been the same without Nintendo. Many of us had Nintendo game consoles in our house before we even owned a computer. The games were classic, and I bet that if given the chance to play some old favorites, you would jump on it.
Believe it or not, Nintendo has been around since 1889. Before being a video game company they did things like making handmade playing cards, a cab company, and “love hotels.” All of these ventures failed, and by 1965 they were facing possible bankruptcy. The company turned to toy manufacturing leading them in the direction that was the gold mine of combining electronics with toys. In 1985 Nintendo introduced its first console to North America, which was an instant success. Nintendo is still going strong today making it the longest-surviving video game console manufacturer.
The Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) was the first console to be introduced to North America and sold over 60 million units. The NES came with the game Super Mario Bros. which is still considered the best selling video game of all time although some would argue that Wii Sports has surpassed it. My favorite game by far was “Duck Hunt” although the game I remember playing the most was “Paperboy.” I just couldn’t get over the fact that you could shoot at the TV with a plastic gun and make things happen. Kids who will grow up only knowing the Wii will never have that feeling… it will just be a normal part of life. One of the classic memories I have of the NES is blowing into the cartridge whenever the game wouldn’t work, which happened a lot. It kept things interesting and found the concept fun.
The NES was followed by the Game Boy which was released in 1989 and came with the game Tetris. Talk about a brick. These things were ugly but had a huge novelty factor. You felt so cool playing one of these monsters. These also sold really well because they weren’t outrageously priced and were pretty durable. Eventually they came out with the Game Boy Pocket, Game Boy Color, Game Boy Advanced, and Nintendo DS (which isn’t actually considered to be a part of the Game Boy family). My brother had a Game Boy color and all he played on it was Pokemon.
In 1991 the Super Nintendo Entertainment System was released and eventually sold 49 million systems around the world. It featured 16-bit technology which allowed for better quality games. It was during this time that Sega began a console war with Nintendo, which was the first competition Nintendo had since the days of Atari. I don’t think I ever played an SNES, which is strange considering I wasn’t even born when the original came out. My cousins might have owned one because it definitely looks familiar, and I know we used to go over and play Mortal Kombat. By play I mean push buttons and hope we won.
This was the console that was really the highlight of my childhood simply because of the timing. When it came out in 1996, I was 8 and it was the greatest thing since sliced bread. The graphics were awesome and came with the super fun game “Super Mario 64.” I could never get enough playing time. Other favorite games were Mario Kart 64, Banjo-Kazooie, and Mario Party. Of course we also played all of the Pokemon games like Pokemon Snap and Pokemon Stadium. The controllers were much more different and complex than the previous ones. Nintendo 64 was like a whole new being with the same lovable characters and name.
The console got its name due to the 64-bit graphics. It allowed the games to have a realistic 3D look despite using similar cartridges as previous systems. The Nintendo 64 sold over 500,000 units the day it was released and was a hot Christmas toy. This was one of the first things I remember people struggling to get their hands on. The Nintendo 64 eventually led to the GameCube and now the Wii. Nintendo has basically released a new console every 5 years so I can’t wait to see what is in store for 2011.
How about you? What are your memories? Which console was you favorite? What do you remember about Nintendo?
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