October 18, 2005 12:39 PM PDT

Nintendo's NES game console turns 20

It was 20 years ago today, to paraphrase the Beatles song, that "Super Mario Bros." started to play.

On Oct. 18, 1985, the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) first went on sale in the United States. It was an 8-bit video game console, and largely thanks to "Super Mario Bros.," a spinoff from the arcade hit "Donkey Kong," the NES quickly became the most successful game system of its era.

"It has been 20 years, which is hard to believe," said Beth Llewelyn, Nintendo senior director of corporate communications. "Super Mario Bros." was "a great game. That's what it all boils down to. It offered something new. It was the first side-scrolling game."

In the interim, Nintendo's consoles included the Nintendo 64 and the current GameCube.

And while most cell phones are now capable of game performance far beyond that of the NES, the machine's legacy lives on.

Today, Nintendo is overshadowed in game consoles by Sony, with its PlayStation series, and by the Microsoft Xbox. But Nintendo still is considered the worldwide leader in handheld video game devices, with its GameBoy series and the Nintendo DS. However, Sony is also gaining significant ground in handhelds with its PlayStationPortable.

For its part, the "Mario" franchise is very much alive and well. Current members of the family include "Super Mario Strikers," "Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time" and "Mario Party 7."

Meanwhile, Nintendo is getting ready to release its next-generation console, the so-called Revolution. While it promises to be a significant leap forward from the GameCube, it has mostly been relegated to also-ran status by the forthcoming Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 and the excitement those two platforms have generated.

But Llewelyn said that the Revolution, which is expected to be released next spring, will feature the ability to download old Nintendo games, including titles going all the way back to the NES.

In any case, those who remember the launch of the NES 20 years ago are almost certainly no longer in the video game industry's most coveted demographic. Yet, many remain committed gamers and probably relish their first NES memories.

"When it comes down to it, it (was) just a great game play experience," Llewelyn said. "That started back with the first NES game."

19 comments

Join the conversation!
Add your comment
I love the NES
I remeber the first time I played Super Mario Brothers. I still think
the NES is the best.
Posted by (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
me too
It's great, so simple and fun.
__________________________________
R.K.
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.Remove-All-Spyware.com/" target="_newWindow">http://www.Remove-All-Spyware.com/</a>
Posted by Roman12 (214 comments )
Link Flag
You got that right
I still got the first NES my brother owens 10 to 12 years ago. I still play it for atleast 5 hours a week.
Posted by (75 comments )
Link Flag
I love the NES
I remeber the first time I played Super Mario Brothers. I still think
the NES is the best.
Posted by (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
me too
It's great, so simple and fun.
__________________________________
R.K.
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.Remove-All-Spyware.com/" target="_newWindow">http://www.Remove-All-Spyware.com/</a>
Posted by Roman12 (214 comments )
Link Flag
You got that right
I still got the first NES my brother owens 10 to 12 years ago. I still play it for atleast 5 hours a week.
Posted by (75 comments )
Link Flag
new technology to play old games, oh , wait a sec
I believe its called an "emulator" and we already have that, please hang up and try your call again
Posted by digitallysick (103 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Emulators, Roms and Hacks, Oh My!!!
The NES will live on forever because of the emulators avaialable and the ROMS to go with them. Playstation has a fairly good emulator as well, the ROMS aren't so easy to get, though.
Posted by smcgui5 (21 comments )
Link Flag
I would agree with that except........
Not everyone is into doing these things for free or unofficially.

For example, there have been ways to emulate NES games for a long time now, but the remakes are still selling for GBA: Super Mario Advance 1 through whatever they're at now (6?), NES classics ported over, etc. They're still selling pretty well from what i hear. Personally, I would never touch these titles when i already have them for older systems (and not even counting emus)

The big MP3 craze with AudioGalaxy and Napster was great, and doubtless ppl are still getting music for free, but many ppl *are* actually buying their music online from itunes and other online stores.

To have the backwards compatibility convenience of all your classic favorites playable on one single console, w/o the cartridges no less is pretty appealing. If they could offer titles with bonus features and hopefully at a fair price, all the better. Again, I wouldn't repurchase titles i already have, but I can see others will.
Posted by ackmondual (199 comments )
Link Flag
new technology to play old games, oh , wait a sec
I believe its called an "emulator" and we already have that, please hang up and try your call again
Posted by digitallysick (103 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Emulators, Roms and Hacks, Oh My!!!
The NES will live on forever because of the emulators avaialable and the ROMS to go with them. Playstation has a fairly good emulator as well, the ROMS aren't so easy to get, though.
Posted by smcgui5 (21 comments )
Link Flag
I would agree with that except........
Not everyone is into doing these things for free or unofficially.

For example, there have been ways to emulate NES games for a long time now, but the remakes are still selling for GBA: Super Mario Advance 1 through whatever they're at now (6?), NES classics ported over, etc. They're still selling pretty well from what i hear. Personally, I would never touch these titles when i already have them for older systems (and not even counting emus)

The big MP3 craze with AudioGalaxy and Napster was great, and doubtless ppl are still getting music for free, but many ppl *are* actually buying their music online from itunes and other online stores.

To have the backwards compatibility convenience of all your classic favorites playable on one single console, w/o the cartridges no less is pretty appealing. If they could offer titles with bonus features and hopefully at a fair price, all the better. Again, I wouldn't repurchase titles i already have, but I can see others will.
Posted by ackmondual (199 comments )
Link Flag
Mention other big hits, like Zelda
Why isn't Zelda mentioned in article? Sure, Mario is very successful and probably Nintendo's top selling franchise, Zelda is a big hit as well though. I would have liked to see Legend of Zelda mentioned.
Posted by pentium4forever (192 comments )
Reply Link Flag
or mention a return to fun gameplay
I'd rather them commit to the imagination and dedication to gameplay from the old days that just mention old games. Stop rehashing the fighting game or the 1st person shooter and do something fun again. Nintendo wasa success because it had great games and was better than it's competition at the time. Since that time, and their decision to stick with the cartridge with the N64, their edge has dulled because they felt content to just copy everyone else and they let the Nintendo software division fizzle as other companies took center stage.
Posted by DaClyde (96 comments )
Link Flag
Mention other big hits, like Zelda
Why isn't Zelda mentioned in article? Sure, Mario is very successful and probably Nintendo's top selling franchise, Zelda is a big hit as well though. I would have liked to see Legend of Zelda mentioned.
Posted by pentium4forever (192 comments )
Reply Link Flag
or mention a return to fun gameplay
I'd rather them commit to the imagination and dedication to gameplay from the old days that just mention old games. Stop rehashing the fighting game or the 1st person shooter and do something fun again. Nintendo wasa success because it had great games and was better than it's competition at the time. Since that time, and their decision to stick with the cartridge with the N64, their edge has dulled because they felt content to just copy everyone else and they let the Nintendo software division fizzle as other companies took center stage.
Posted by DaClyde (96 comments )
Link Flag
where can i buy the first nes anyone
Posted by keidogg (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
 

Join the conversation

Add your comment

The posting of advertisements, profanity, or personal attacks is prohibited. Click here to review our Terms of Use.

What's Hot

Discussions

Shared

RSS Feeds

Add headlines from CNET News to your homepage or feedreader.