The Nintendo Entertainment System was released in North America on October 18, 1985, and it celebrated its 30th anniversary yesterday. Unfortunately, many Nintendo fans today aren’t too familiar with the system, especially the NES World Championships cartridges (above). The NWC competition was based on a custom NES cartridge by the same name. Approximately 90-copies of the gray version exist, which were given to finalists after the championships concluded. Another twenty-six copies exist in gold, like the The Legend of Zelda cartridge, and were given as prizes in a separate contest held by Nintendo Power magazine, making it the rarest and most valuable NES cartridge ever released, with a few pristine examples fetching $15,000 online. Continue reading for more cool facts.
5. Originally Supposed to be 16-Bit System
Original plans called for an advanced 16-bit system which would function as a full-fledged computer with a keyboard and floppy disk drive, but Nintendo president Hiroshi Yamauchi rejected this and instead decided to go for a cheaper, more conventional cartridge-based game console as he felt that features such as keyboards and disks.
4. Cassette-Like Cartridges Planned
Original plans called for the Famicom’s cartridges to be the size of a cassette tape, but ultimately they ended up being twice as big. Careful design attention was paid to the cartridge connectors since loose and faulty connections often plagued arcade machines. As it necessitated taking 60 connection lines for the memory and expansion, Nintendo decided to produce their own connectors in-house rather than use ones from an outside supplier.
3. Made Debut at the 1985 Consumer Electronics Show
At June 1985’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES), Nintendo unveiled the American version of its Famicom. This is the system which would eventually be officially deployed as the Nintendo Entertainment System, or the colloquial “NES”. Nintendo seeded these first systems to limited American test markets starting in New York City on October 18, 1985, following up with a full-fledged North American release of the console in February of the following year.
2. Deluxe Set Would Cost $474 if Released Today
The Deluxe Set, retailing at US$199.99 (equivalent to $474 in 2015), included R.O.B., a light gun called the NES Zapper, two controllers, and two Game Paks: Gyromite, and Duck Hunt. The Basic Set, retailing at US$89.99 with no game, and US$99.99 bundled with “Super Mario Bros.” The Action Set, retailing in 1988 for US$149.99, came with the Control Deck, two game controllers, an NES Zapper, and a dual Game Pak containing both Super Mario Bros. and Duck Hunt.
1. Redesigned NES Console Stayed in Production Until 1995
The console was redesigned for both the North American and Japanese markets as part of the final Nintendo-released bundle package. The package included the new style NES-101 console, and one redesigned “dogbone” game controller. Released in October 1993 in North America, this final bundle retailed for US$49.99 and remained in production until the discontinuation of the NES in 1995.