NES Launch Approaches

Details are difficult to pin down, but we do have confirmation that the newest console on the block, the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES for short), will be officially launching in the U.S. later this month. It’s reportedly been a difficult road for Nintendo to get these consoles on retailer shelves. Most stores are concerned that video games are a fad that’s long past their prime. After the disastrous sales results of the home console industry, it’s no wonder they are skeptical of this relative newcomer.

Compared to the U.S. NES, the Japanese Famicom is slim and more toy-like.
Compared to the U.S. NES, the Japanese Famicom is slim and more toy-like. Photo credit: Benj Edwards.

The name Nintendo has been around for the past few years thanks to hit arcade games like Donkey Kong, Mario Bros., and Donkey Kong Jr., but it remains to be seen if the company has what it takes to succeed in the home market. The Japanese equivalent of the NES is called the Famicom (short for Family Computer), and it has been a ravishing success across the Pacific. It debuted two years ago and has been steadily increasing in sales. The company has been busy recruiting other Japanese software companies to make games for its system. These developers are called third party licensees. Between Nintendo and these other developers there are almost 70 games available to play. If you follow the arcade scene you may recognize some of the names: Konami, Taito, and Namco, creators of games like Galaga, Space Invaders, and Frogger. These third parties will be taking a wait and see approach for the U.S. market to see how well the NES catches on over here.

In the meantime, here’s a sketch of what type of display we can expect to find in stores. It shows off the console, the two paddles, an interactive robot, and a gun. We expect to have a fully finalized list of launch games as well as pricing in the coming days.

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