Welcome to NintendoTimes, a new website dedicated to the coverage of Nintendo products from the past, present, and future. Today marks the 30th anniversary of the Nintendo Entertainment System launching in the U.S.
A BIT OF HISTORY
Since 1995, I have been writing news, previews, and reviews for various gaming sites. I’ve spent the majority of that time at Gaming Age, and up until about 2010 I was the lead person there for all things Nintendo. After a 5 year break and as the NES’s 30th birthday approached, I found myself really wanting to create a site dedicated to Nintendo. Originally my idea was to focus entirely on the past and write the articles from the perspective of that time period. For example, if I was writing a review for Kung Fu on the NES, it wouldn’t be a retro review that compares it to other later releases, but it would strive to maintain objectivity with regard to other games available during that same timeframe. In other words, the review wouldn’t be compared to later games like Street Fighter or River City Ransom as neither of those were on the market yet. Since I was a heavy gamer back then, with hundreds of games on the Commodore and a vast number on the Atari 2600, I still remember a lot of my initial reactions to playing games on the NES. I thought this could be a big differentiator from other sites that cover retro gaming. I also thought it would be fun to create news articles and features that would have likely appeared during that time if the web had existed back then.
This idea morphed into what you see now with NintendoTimes. There’s a dedicated section called Warp Zone that is being written as if it’s 30 years ago. I’m trying to maintain accuracy, but as I discovered after hundreds of hours of research, some facts are sketchy, especially from 1985 through 1988. That’s mainly due to the lack of any dedicated videogame magazines covering those years. I’ve come across major discrepancies with what normally would be simple facts.
For example, the NES launch lineup has multiple issues. Besides the problem that Super Mario Bros. most likely wasn’t available day and date with the system (it probably arrived a few weeks later), there are also inaccuracies with several other games. Although sourced by many sites as launch titles, Donkey Kong Jr. Math and Mach Rider appear in various publications as not releasing until 1986. No ads from 1985 that I’ve found mention either game, and Nintendo’s own internal release list, sent to a person inquiring about games available in early 1986, noted that both games were still coming soon. Ed Semrad, one of the only reporters covering the NES back then, also mentioned that both of those games were set to release 1986. And yet, if you look at almost any site listing the launch lineup, both of them are mentioned as releasing October 18, 1985. On the flipside, most release lists exclude Soccer, although I’ve seen proof of that being available at launch via early retail displays and ads.
Still, it’s been extremely fun to dig into the past to try to make sense of it all. If you have anything to contribute to Warp Zone, feel free to contact me directly at: Craig@nintendotimes.com or via the Contact Us page. I’m looking for pictures, videos, catalogs, and ads from 1985 through 1995. If you have personal experiences from the early NES years and would like to share, I’d be happy to hear from you as well. Also, if you’re up for reviewing some of the early NES games from the perspective of that era, reach out and let me know.
Of course, NintendoTimes is much more than simply digging up the past. I want a site that stays up to date on the latest news and also one that speculates about Nintendo’s future. I’m going to dedicate a significant chunk of time during the week to keep the latest news updates coming as well as reviewing and previewing the newest games. Podcasts and YouTube videos will be a part of the experience as well. I hope you make NintendoTimes a part of your daily browsing routine and look forward to hearing from each of you. Thank you for checking us out!
You may notice a few reviews, previews, news articles, and Warp Zone pages that have dates prior to the official launch of the site. Well, Warp Zone articles will always be dated the launch since it’s dated 30 years ago (unless this site lasts for 30 years and the dates collapse upon themselves, causing a temporal rift dooming everyone to a life of Knight Rider reruns), but the other stuff was written and prepared before the launch of the site to fill out some sections and test the layout. The more you know…