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Nintendo Entertainment System
Nes-logo
NES
AKA NES
Manufacturer Nintendo
Launch date(s) 1985
Generation) 3rd generation
Codename "GameCom"
Discontinued NA: August 14, 1995

JP: September 2003

Media Ricoh 2A03 8-bit processor (MOS Technology 6502 core)
Input NES Controller, NES Zapper
Backwards Compatibility None
Memory {{{memory}}}
CPU
Service None
Top Game Super Mario Bros.
Predecessor Color Game 26
Successor Super Nintendo Entertainment System
The Nintendo Entertainment System (also abbreviated as NES) is an 8-bit video game console that was developed and manufactured by Nintendo. It was initially released in Japan as the Family Computer (ファミリーコンピュータ Famirī Konpyūta?) (also known as the Famicom (ファミコン Famikon?) and abbreviated as FC) on July 15, 1983, and was later released in North America during 1985, in Europe during 1986, and Australia in 1987. In South Korea, it was known as the Hyundai Comboy (현대 컴보이) and was distributed by SK Hynix which then was known as Hyundai Electronics. It was succeeded by the Super Famicom/Super Nintendo Entertainment System. The best-selling gaming console of its time, the NES helped revitalize the US video game industry following the video game crash of 1983. With the NES, Nintendo introduced a now-standard business model of licensing third-party developers, authorizing them to produce and distribute titles for Nintendo's platform.[10] In 2009, the Nintendo Entertainment System was named the single greatest video game console in history by IGN, out of a field of 25. 2010 marked the system's 25th anniversary in North America, which was officially celebrated by Nintendo of America's magazine Nintendo Power in November 2010's issue #260 with a special 26-page tribute section. Other video game publications also featured articles looking back at 25 years of the NES, and its impact in the video game console market.

HistoryEdit

DevelopmentEdit

ReleaseEdit

ReceptionEdit

LegacyEdit

GamesEdit

See List of Nintendo Entertainment System games

Game PakEdit

See also: List of Nintendo Entertainment System games

The Nintendo Entertainment System offered a number of groundbreaking titles. Super Mario Bros. pioneered side-scrollers while The Legend of Zelda helped popularize battery-backed save functionality

Nintendo did this to reduce costs and inventory by using the same cartridge boards in North
NES-Cartridge
America and Japan. Originally, NES cartridges were held together with 5 small, slotted screws. Later games (post-1987) were redesigned slightly to incorporate two plastic clips molded into the plastic itself, eliminating the need for the top two screws. The back of the cartridge bears a label with instructions on handling. Production and software revision codes were imprinted as stamps on the back label to correspond with the software version and producer. With the exception of The Legend of Zelda and Zelda II: The Adventure of Link, which were available in gold-plastic carts, all licensed NTSC and PAL cartridges were a standard shade of gray plastic. Unlicensed carts were produced in black, robin egg blue, and gold and were all slightly different shape and style than a standard NES cart. Nintendo also produced yellow-plastic carts for internal use at Nintendo Service Centers, although these "test carts" were never made available for purchase by consumers. All licensed US cartridges were made by Nintendo except Konami and Acclaim. For promotion of DuckTales: Remastered, Capcom sent 150, limited edition, gold NES cartridges with the original game, featuring the Remastered art as the sticker, to different gaming news agencies. As well, the instruction label on the back included the opening lyric from the show's theme song, "Life is like a hurricane". Japanese (Famicom) cartridges are shaped slightly differently. While the NES used a 72-pin interface, the Famicom system used a 60-pin design. Unlike NES games, official Famicom cartridges were produced in many colors of plastic. Adapters, similar in design to the popular accessory Game Genie, are available that allow Famicom games to be played on an NES.

Third-party licensingEdit

Nintendo's near monopoly on the home video game market left it with a degree of influence over the industry. Unlike Atari, which never actively courted third-party developers (and even went to court in an attempt to force Activision to cease production of Atari 2600 games), Nintendo had anticipated and encouraged the involvement of third-party software developers; strictly, however, on Nintendo's terms. Some of the Nintendo platform-control measures were adopted by later console manufacturers such as Sega, Sony, and Microsoft, although not as stringent. To this end, a 10NES authentication chip was placed in every console and another was placed in every officially licensed cartridge. If the console's chip could not detect a counterpart chip inside the cartridge, the game would not load. Nintendo portrayed these measures as intended to protect the public against poor-quality games, and placed a golden seal of approval on all licensed games released for the system. Nintendo was not as restrictive as Sega, which did not permit third-party publishing until Mediagenic in late summer 1988. Nintendo's intention, however, was to reserve a large part of NES game revenue for itself. Nintendo required that they be the sole manufacturer of all cartridges, and that the publisher had to pay in full before the cartridges for that game be produced. Cartridges could not be returned to Nintendo, so publishers assumed all the risk. As a result, some publishers lost more money due to distress sales of remaining inventory at the end of the NES era than they ever earned in profits from sales of the games. Because Nintendo controlled the production of all cartridges, it was able to enforce strict rules on its third-party developers, which were required to sign a contract by Nintendo that would obligate these parties to develop exclusively for the system, order at least 10,000 cartridges, and only make five games per year. A 1988 shortage of DRAM and ROM chips also reportedly caused Nintendo to only permit 25% of publishers' requests for cartridges. This was an average figure, with some publishers receiving much higher amounts and others almost none. GameSpy noted that Nintendo "iron-clad terms" made the company many enemies during the 1980s. Some developers tried to get around the five game limit by creating additional company brands like Konami's Ultra Games label; others tried going around the 10NES chip (see below). Nintendo was accused of antitrust behavior because of the strict licensing requirements. The United States Department of Justice and several states began probing Nintendo's business practices, leading to the involvement of Congress and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The FTC conducted an extensive investigation which included interviewing hundreds of retailers. During the FTC probe, Nintendo changed the terms of its publisher licensing agreements to eliminate the two-year rule and other restrictive terms. Nintendo and the FTC settled the case in April 1991, with Nintendo required to send vouchers giving a $5 discount off to a new game, to every person that had purchased a NES title between June 1988 and December 1990. GameSpy remarked that Nintendo's punishment was particularly weak giving the case's findings, although it has been speculated that the FTC did not want to damage the video game industry in the United States. In the longer run, however, with the NES near its end of its life many third-party publishers such as Electronic Arts supported upstart competing consoles with less onerous licensing terms such as the Sega Genesis and then the PlayStation, which eroded and then took over Nintendo's dominance in the home console market, respectively. Indeed consoles from Nintendo's rivals in the post-SNES era had always enjoyed much stronger third-party support than Nintendo which relied more heavily on first-party games.

Unlicensed gamesEdit

Several companies, refusing to pay the licensing fee or having been rejected by Nintendo, found ways to circumvent the console's authentication system. Most of these companies created circuits that used a voltage spike to temporarily disable the 10NES chip in the NES.[63] A few unlicensed games released in Europe and Australia came in the form of a dongle that would be connected to a licensed game, in order to use the licensed game's 10NES chip for authentication. In order to combat unlicensed games, Nintendo of America threatened retailers who sold them with losing their supply of licensed titles. In addition, multiple revisions were made to the NES PCBs to prevent these games from working.

Atari Games created a line of NES products under the name Tengen and took a different approach. The company attempted to reverse engineer the lockout chip to develop its own "Rabbit" chip. However, Tengen also obtained a description of the lockout chip from the United States Patent and Trademark Office by falsely claiming that it was required to defend against present infringement claims in a legal case. Nintendo sued Tengen for copyright infringement, which Tengen lost as it could not prove that the legally obtained patent documents had not been used by the reverse engineering team. Tengen's antitrust claims against Nintendo were never finally decided. Color Dreams produced Christian video games under the subsidiary name Wisdom Tree. They were never sued by Nintendo as the company probably feared a public relations backlash.

HardwareEdit

Other ModelsEdit

FamicomEdit

Nintendo Entertainment System
NES Logo2
Famicom
AKA {{{aka}}}
Manufacturer Nintendo
Launch date(s) Japan1983
Generation) 3rd Generation
Codename {{{codename}}}
Discontinued September 25, 2003
Media Famicom Game Cartridge
Input {{{input}}}
Backwards Compatibility No compatibility
Memory {{{memory}}}
CPU {{{CPU}}}
Service no service
Top Game {{{top game}}}
Predecessor Color TV Game
Successor Super Famicom
The Famicom (Family Computer) is the Japanese equivalent of the Nintendo Entertainment System, or the NES. The Famicom's controllers were attached to the main unit, unlike the NES, and could be stored on the sides of the system. Player One's controller can pause the game, and Player Two's controller has audio controls. The cartridges were half the size of the NES's, and were inserted in the top instead of through a door in the front (like on the NES). Instead of looking like a vertical cartridge, like the NES, it more closely resembles a SNES cartridge, but can be found in different colors, such as gray, red, yellow, and blue.

The console was released in 1983, but in February 1986 the Famicom Disk System was released as an accessory for the Famicom. This accessory enabled games to be played on the Famicom in the form of a disk. Many newer games were released only on the F.D.S. that were never released on the NES or Famicom. Sharp Corporation also manufactured the Twin Famicom, an NES (Famicom) combined with a Famicom Disk System in one piece of hardware, but it was only released in Japan.

Famicom TriviaEdit
TheGreatMissionMarioPlayer

Mario playing his Famicom.



NES-101 redesignEdit

Nintendo Entertainment System
NES-101-Console-Set
AKA NES 2
Manufacturer Nintendo
Launch date(s) October 15, 1993
Generation) 3rd generation
Codename None
Discontinued March 1994
Media NES Game Pak
Input NES Controller, and allNES Accessories
Backwards Compatibility None
Memory {{{memory}}}
CPU Ricoh 2A03 8-bit processor
Service None
Top Game Super Mario Bros.
Predecessor Nintendo Entertainment System NES-001
Successor Super Nintendo Entertainment System
The NES-101 model of the Nintendo Entertainment System (informally known as the NES 2, the top-loading model, or simply the Top Loader) is a compact, top-loading redesign of the original Nintendo Entertainment System control deck released by Nintendo in 1993. Nintendo marketed the NES-101 model as the Nintendo Entertainment System Control Deck, exactly the same as the original NES-001 model, only with a "new design" logo on the packaging. It retailed in North America for US $49.99 (equivalent to $80.00 in 2013 US dollars). This was at a significantly lower price than the already released Super Nintendo Entertainment System. The NES-101 model is stylistically similar to the HVC-101 model of the Family Computer, which was released in Japan at roughly the same time, but differed in several ways. The NES-101 controller design is very similar to the Super Nintendo controller. The major differences are that it has two face buttons instead of four, no L and R shoulder buttons, and is thinner in the middle. This controller, due to its shape, is often nicknamed the "dogbone" or "doggie" controller.

The external appearance of the NES was greatly overhauled and restyled to align its looks to the North American Super Nintendo Entertainment System and to address a number of commonly cited ergonomic problems of the original NES-001 model. The case design was by Lance Barr, who also designed the NES-001, the SNS-001 and the SNS-101. The power and reset buttons, while never a problem with the original design, now matched the curvature of the new look. The NES-101 does not have an LED power light to indicate the unit is on, as the original NES-001 and SNS-001 included. The most obvious change in the redesign was the removal of the cartridge-loading system that caused trouble in maintenance and game-swapping when using the NES-001 model. In that system, the user had to first open the lid of the case, slide in the cartridge, then press it down. The large space inside allowed plenty of room for dust to settle and the contact heads were almost impossible to access and clean without disassembling the system or using the official cleaning kit. Wear and tear was another problem; with continued use, the precision of the mechanism deteriorated and the user would have to poke and nudge at the cartridge to move it to a position that would be read correctly. The NES-101 returned to the standard top-loading method, used by almost all cartridge systems before and since for its ease and reliability. 

ConfigurationEdit

Although the Japanese Famicom, North American and European NES versions included essentially the same hardware, there were certain key differences among the systems. The original Japanese Famicom was predominantly white plastic, with dark red trim. It featured a top-loading cartridge slot and grooves on both sides of the deck in which the hardwired game controllers could be placed when not in use. The Famicom featured a top-loading cartridge slot, a 15-pin expansion port located on the unit’s front panel for accessories (as the controllers were hard-wired to the back of the console) and a red and white color scheme. The original NES, meanwhile, featured a front-loading cartridge covered by a small, hinged door that can be opened to insert or remove a cartridge and closed at other times. It features a more subdued gray, black and red color scheme. An expansion port was found on the bottom of the unit and the cartridge connector pinout was changed. In the UK, Italy and Australia which share the PAL A region, two versions of the NES were released; the "Mattel Version" and "NES Version". When the NES was first released in those countries, it was distributed by Mattel and Nintendo decided to use a lockout chip specific to those countries, different from the chip used in other European countries. When Nintendo took over European distribution in 1990, they produced consoles that were then labelled "NES Version"; therefore, the only differences between the two are the text on the front flap and texture on the top/bottom of the casing.

The NES-101 model of the Nintendo Entertainment System, known informally as the "top-loader", uses the same basic color scheme, although there are several subtle differences. Like the original Family Computer, it uses a top-loading cartridge slot. The NES-101 model was redesigned after the (also top loading) SNES and indeed they share many of the same design cues

Design flawsEdit

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.

Lockout ChipEdit

Technical specificationsEdit

AccessoriesEdit

ControllersEdit

NES ControllerEdit

Other controllers


Japanese accessoriesEdit

A number of peripheral devices and software packages were released for the Famicom. Few of these devices were ever released outside of Japan. Family BASIC is an implementation of BASIC for the Famicom that came with a keyboard. Similar in concept to the Atari 2600 BASIC cartridge, it allowed the user to program their own games, which could be saved on an included cassette recorder. Nintendo of America rejected releasing Famicom BASIC in the US because they did not think it fit their primary marketing demographic of children. The Famicom Modem is a modem that allowed connection to a network which provided content such as financial services, but it was only available in Japan. A modem was, however, tested in the United States, by the Minnesota State Lottery. It would have allowed players to buy scratchcards and play the lottery with their NES. It was not released in the United States because some parents and legislators voiced concern that minors might learn to play the lottery illegally and anonymously, despite assurances from Nintendo to the contrary.

Famicom Disk SystemEdit

Main article: Famicom Disk System

In 1986, Nintendo released the FDS in Japan, a type of floppy drive that used a single-sided, proprietary 5 cm (2") disk and plugged into the cartridge port. It contained RAM for the game to load into and an extra
Famicom-Disk-System

The Famicom Disk System

wavetable sound chip. The disks were obtained from vending machines in malls and other public places where buyers could select a title and have it written to the disk. Nintendo's idea was that this would cost less than cartridges and users could take the disk back to a vending booth and have it rewritten with a new game. The disks were used both for storing the game and saving progress and total capacity was 128k (64k per side). A variety of games for the FDS were released by Nintendo (including some like SMB that had already been released on cartridge) and third party companies such as Konami and Taito. A few unlicensed titles were made as well.

External LinksEdit

Wikipedia page

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