Nintendo Entertainment System

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The North American NES.

The Nintendo Entertainment System, first released in Japan as the Family Computer, is a third-generation video game console created by Nintendo. It was first released in 1983 in Japan and in America in 1985. The system uses a Ricoh 2A03 processor which is a modified MOS 6502 with an integrated audio processing unit (APU), and a custom picture processing unit (PPU).

The first NES game I ever saw was a VS. System arcade version of Super Mario Bros. (around 1986-1987), but I first saw the home console around 1987 at my baby sitter's house. They played Super Mario Bros. and Karate Champ. As I watched them play, I was really looking forward to a turn on it, but the older boy in my baby sitter's family kept taking another turn over and over again. Finally, when he said he'd had enough and would let someone else play, someone in my baby sitter's family put their hand on the NES console and said that it had gotten too hot and might become damaged, so they unplugged it. I already didn't like the baby sitters, but I remember feeling especially cheated because of that, and I never did get a chance to play on their console because my mother picked us up before they turned it on again, and we stopped having them as a baby sitter shortly thereafter.

Back around 1988, my brother and I pooled our paper route money to buy the Action Set which came with the Zapper, two controllers, and a Super Mario Bros. / Duck Hunt dual cart. I still have the system, though it barely works now due to the poor design. It has become one of my favorite video game platforms ever made. We later got the NES Advantage, a friend of mine had the NES Max, and my cousins had the Power Pad. For awhile we had a Game Genie, and I also remember borrowing a Game Action Replay for a short time. The NES was certainly the more formative console for me, and I spent a lot of time designing my own games on paper that I was sure I would one-day make for it.

Status

I own a very damaged, but still working, original model NES.

Games

See all NES Games.

These are the NES games that are important to me:

Hardware

Review

Good

  • A lot of really great games were released on the platform.
  • The controllers, though not the most comfortable to hold, were very tough and could survive a lot of abuse.
  • The system's PPU (picture processing unit) was designed very well and provided some of the best graphic abilities of the day.
  • The APU (audio processing unit) built into the CPU was was the best audio for a home console at the time. While it featured the typical 3 pulse wave/1 noise channel design, Nintendo engineers wisely changed one of the pulse waves into a triangle wave giving it a more robust sound. They also added a DPCM channel for digital sound effects, voice, and even sample-based music.
  • Allowing cartridges to include extra chips for additional functionality was a fantastic idea which greatly extended the life of the platform.
  • Nintendo of America wisely created an official magazine to help direct buyers toward the best games.

Bad

  • Despite Nintendo's strong control over the platform, far too many horrible games were made for the system, which led to the market becoming over-saturated with crappy games.
  • The available color palette of the PPU is pretty awful.
  • The system is not very ascetically pleasing to look at.
  • In order to eliminate competition, Nintendo prevented those developers who initially released their games on the NES from releasing them on any other console.

Ugly

  • The spring-loaded toaster design had an engineering problem, and it was amplified by the lock-out chip. This caused most systems to begin experiencing problems after only a couple months and keep getting worse over time. Nintendo not only refused to fix them, but completely denied responsibility for their error.

Media

Documentation

Infographics

Prototypes

Fan Art

Videos

Developers

This is a list of my top ten favorite game developers/publishers for the NES.

  1. Nintendo
  2. Capcom
  3. Konami
  4. Technos
  5. Sunsoft
  6. Kemco
  7. Enix
  8. Square
  9. Tecmo
  10. FCI

Links

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