When the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) test launched in New York back in October of 1985, the video game industry was in the dumps. Retailers avoided carrying video games like the plague after the great crash in 1983 and into 1984. After seeing some great success in New York with the NES selling around 100,000 units that holiday season, Nintendo expanded the market to Los Angeles in the spring of 1986 and then eventually went nationwide later that summer.
From October of 1985 through August of 1986 Nintendo shifted 210,000 systems to consumers. This was a modest start to be sure, but better than most had predicted given the circumstances. Nintendo has now revealed its sales from September 1986 through August 1987 and they’re pretty spectacular. Nintendo shifted an amazing 1,810,000 systems. Talk about growth! That puts the total NES install base at over 2 million and judging from what retailers have been telling us, this Christmas is going to be nuts for Nintendo.
With a multimillion dollar ad campaign and dozens of new games from its new licensee program, there will be plenty of Game Paks to choose from this year. Games have come a long way from the single screen black background ladder climbers of yesteryear. With titles like The Legend of Zelda, Castlevania, and Rygar, original and engrossing adventure games are all the rage. No longer are gamers having to chase high scores by playing arcade quartermuncher ports. Instead they have long quests to complete with puzzles to solve and an ending to unlock.
We’re hearing that the NES is on the top of many kids’ Christmas wish lists this year. We’re also hearing that retailers are worried that there won’t be enough stock of the systems and games to last the season. For those reasons, if you’re serious about having one of these wrapped under your tree this year, we suggest purchasing one now to avoid potential shortages come November and December. We will be putting together a Holiday Buyer’s Guide in the near future to help narrow down the best of the best and which games and accessories are must-haves for your family. Watch for it!