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Nintendo Entertainment System

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"Hi. I'm Nintendo, and I kick ass."
The Angry Video Game Nerd acting as the voice of the NES
Nintendo Entertainment System

Nintendo-NES 360

Manufacturer
Type
Video game console
Generation
Third generation
Release date
July 15, 1983
(Japan)
October 18, 1985
(North America)
September 1, 1986
(Europe)
1987
(Europe/Australia)
Retail availability
1983-2003
Discontinued
August 14, 1995
(North America)
September 2003
(Japan)
Units sold
Worldwide: 61.91 million
Media
ROM cartridge ("Game Pak")
CPU
Ricoh 2A03 8-bit processor (MOS Technology 6502 core)
Successor

The Nintendo Entertainment System, or NES, is the first video game console released in America by Nintendo. The console, known originally as the Family Computer (or Famicom) was released on July 15, 1983 in Japan and in North America (as NES) on October 18, 1985. It was known for it's large library of both officially-licensed and unlicensed games, and starting off many popular video game franchises. The Nerd plays many games on it and owns both the original model and the top-loading model, as well as a household toaster modified to play NES games called the "Nintoaster".

Design flaws

When Nintendo released the NES in the US, the design styling was deliberately different from that of other game consoles. Nintendo wanted to distinguish its product from those of competitors and to avoid the generally poor reputation that game consoles had acquired following the video game crash of 1983. One result of this philosophy was to disguise the cartridge slot design as a front-loading zero insertion force (ZIF) cartridge socket, designed to resemble the front-loading mechanism of a VCR. The newly designed connector worked quite well when both the connector and the cartridges were clean and the pins on the connector were new. Unfortunately, the ZIF connector was not truly zero insertion force. When a user inserted the cartridge into the NES, the force of pressing the cartridge down and into place bent the contact pins slightly, as well as pressing the cartridge’s ROM board back into the cartridge itself. Frequent insertion and removal of cartridges caused the pins to wear out from repeated usage over the years and the ZIF design proved more prone to interference by dirt and dust than an industry-standard card edge connector. These design issues were not alleviated by Nintendo’s choice of materials; the console slot nickel connector springs would wear due to design and the game cartridge copper connectors were also prone to tarnishing.

Hardware clones

A thriving market of unlicensed NES hardware clones emerged during the heyday of the console's popularity. Initially, such clones were popular in markets where Nintendo never issued a legitimate version of the console. In particular, the Dendy (Russian: Де́нди), an unlicensed hardware clone produced in Taiwan and sold in the former Soviet Union, emerged as the most popular video game console of its time in that setting and it enjoyed a degree of fame roughly equivalent to that experienced by the NES/Famicom in North America and Japan. A Famicom clone was marketed in Argentina under the name of "Family Game", resembling the original hardware design. The Micro Genius (Simplified Chinese: 小天才) was marketed in Southeast Asia as an alternative to the Famicom; Samurai was the popular PAL alternative to the NES; and in Central Europe, especially Poland, the Pegasus was available. Samurai was also available in India in early 90s which was the first instance of console gaming in India.

The unlicensed clone market has flourished following Nintendo's discontinuation of the NES. Some of the more exotic of these resulting systems have gone beyond the functionality of the original hardware and have included variations such as a portable system with a color LCD (e.g. PocketFami). Others have been produced with certain specialized markets in mind, such as an NES clone that functions as a rather primitive personal computer, which includes a keyboard and basic word processing software. These unauthorized clones have been helped by the invention of the so-called NES-on-a-chip.

As was the case with unlicensed software titles, Nintendo has typically gone to the courts to prohibit the manufacture and sale of unlicensed cloned hardware. Many of the clone vendors have included built-in copies of licensed Nintendo software, which constitutes copyright infringement in most countries.

Although most hardware clones were not produced under license by Nintendo, certain companies were granted licenses to produce NES-compatible devices. The Sharp Corporation produced at least two such clones: the Twin Famicom and the SHARP 19SC111 television. The Twin Famicom was compatible with both Famicom cartridges and Famicom Disk System disks. It was available in two colors (red and black) and used hardwired controllers (as did the original Famicom), but it featured a different case design. The SHARP 19SC111 television was a television which included a built-in Famicom. A similar licensing deal was reached with Hyundai Electronics, who licensed the system under the name Comboy in the South Korean market. This deal with Hyundai was made necessary because of the South Korean government's wide ban on all Japanese "cultural products", which remained in effect until 1998 and ensured that the only way Japanese products could legally enter the South Korean market was through licensing to a third-party (non-Japanese) distributor (see also Japan–Korea disputes).

In-house NES games (made directly by Nintendo) reviewed by the Nerd

  • Gyromite
  • Stack-Up
  • Super Mario Brothers (Game Glitches)
  • Super Mario Brothers 2 (Game Glitches)
  • Super Mario Brothers 3
  • Zelda II: The Adventure of Link
  • Nintendo World Championships

Licensed NES games reviewed by the Nerd

  • Castlevania II: Simon's Quest
  • Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
  • The Karate Kid
  • Who Framed Roger Rabbit? (later revisited in 2010)
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (later revisited in 2010)
  • Back to the Future (later revisited in 2010)
  • Back to the Future Part II & III (later revisited in 2010)
  • M.C. Kids
  • Top Gun (later revisited in 2010)
  • Top Gun: The Second Mission
  • Double Dragon III: The Sacred Stones
  • Friday the 13th
  • A Nightmare on Elm Street
  • Ghostbusters
  • Ghostbusters II
  • Spider-Man: Return of the Sinister Six
  • Silver Surfer
  • Die Hard
  • The Simpsons: Bart vs. the Space Mutants
  • The Simpsons: Bart vs. The World
  • The Bugs Bunny Birthday Blowout
  • Fester's Quest
  • Dragon's Lair
  • Home Alone 2: Lost in New York
  • Rambo
  • Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
  • Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
  • Star Trek: 25th Anniversary
  • Superman
  • Batman
  • Batman: Return of the Joker
  • Deadly Towers
  • Battletoads
  • Dick Tracy
  • Sesame Street: Countdown
  • Bram Stoker's Dracula
  • Frankenstein: The Monster Returns
  • Milon's Secret Castle
  • Metal Gear
  • The Uncanny X-Men
  • Wolverine
  • The Terminator
  • Terminator 2: Judgment Day
  • Transformers: Convoy no Nazo (Famicom game)
  • Mario is Missing!
  • Mario's Time Machine
  • The Bugs Bunny Crazy Castle
  • Super Pitfall
  • Godzilla: Monster of Monsters
  • Godzilla 2: War of the Monsters
  • Wayne's World
  • Castlevania
  • Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse
  • Winter Games
  • Street Fighter 2010
  • Dick Tracy
  • Hydlide
  • Ninja Gaiden
  • Mega Man 2 (Game Glitches)
  • Mega Man 5 (Game Glitches)
  • Double Dragon (Game Glitches)
  • Town & Country Surf Designs: Wood & Water Rage (2010 Christmas special)
  • Circus Caper (2010 Christmas special)
  • Fist of the Northstar (2010 Christmas special)
  • Day Dreamin' Davey
  • Star Wars
  • Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back
  • Jaws
  • Hook
  • Jurassic Park
  • Barbie (The Making of an AVGN Episode)
  • Kid Kool
  • Ghosts n' Goblins

Unlicensed NES games reviewed by the Nerd

  • Master Chu and the Drunkard Hu
  • Wally Bear and the NO! Gang
  • Bible Adventures
  • Bible Buffet
  • Spiritual Warfare
  • King of Kings: The Early Years
  • Exodus: Journey to the Promised Land
  • Noah's Ark
  • Joshua
  • Menace Beach/Sunday Funday
  • Drac's Night Out (Never sought licensing because it remained unreleased)
  • Action 52
  • Cheetahmen 2
  • Caltron 6-in-1
  • Little Red Hood

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