Why Is Nintendo Ignoring Its Own 25th Birthday?

More

On October 18, 1985, the first Nintendo Entertainment Systems went on sale in New York City. That makes today the silver anniversary of the most important game system ever made, and fans and enthusiasts are going down the nostalgia rabbit hole as a result. But one outlet has remained conspicuously quiet: Nintendo of America.

Publicly, the company has completely ignored the milestone. Their press site's major announcement of the day details a new way to download NetFlix for the Wii. It's a weird bit of silence; their Nintendo Wii has finally begun slumping, and their other current rivals, Microsoft and Sony, are trying to steal some motion-controlled thunder this Christmas season. Why not revel in the good ol' days?

That's because the earliest days of the NES were, in truth, kinda scary. In 1985, home video games were considered a dead market. Atari, Coleco, and other companies flooded U.S. toy stores with too many bad games in the early '80s, and after their flops, nobody wanted to stock the things. To get Nintendo games into stores for that 1985 launch, the Japanese company pared down: they focused solely on New York City, and when department stores proved skittish, Nintendo's execs had to promise to buy back all unsold units.

Of course, its nefarious history makes the 25th anniversary that much sweeter; the NES's raging success made "play Nintendo" the de facto verb for the pastime, and Nintendo spent the following 25 years mining its Super Marios, Zeldas, and other '80s franchises to great effect. But if you really want to celebrate the earliest NES days, this history-lesson video tells the story better than any other on the Internet.

Jump to comments
Presented by

Sam Machkovech is a freelance arts and tech writer based in Seattle, WA. More

Sam Machkovech is a freelance arts and tech writer based in Seattle. He began his career in high school as a nationally syndicated video games critic at the Dallas Morning News, eventually taking up the mantle of music section editor at Dallas weekly paper the Dallas Observer. His writing has since appeared in Seattle weekly The Stranger, in-flight magazine American Way, now-defunct music magazine HARP, gaming blog The Escapist, and Dallas business monthly Dallas CEO. He currently serves as a games and tech columnist for Seattle web site PubliCola.net, as well as a volunteer tutor at the all-ages writing advocacy group 826 Seattle.
Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

A Technicolor Time-Lapse of Alaska's Northern Lights

The beauty of aurora borealis, as seen from America's last frontier


Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

What Do You Wish You Learned in College?

Ivy League academics reveal their undergrad regrets

Video

Famous Movies, Reimagined

From Apocalypse Now to The Lord of the Rings, this clever video puts a new spin on Hollywood's greatest hits.

Video

What Is a City?

Cities are like nothing else on Earth.

Video

CrossFit Versus Yoga: Choose a Side

How a workout becomes a social identity

Video

In Online Dating, Everyone's a Little Bit Racist

The co-founder of OKCupid shares findings from his analysis of millions of users' data.

Writers

Up
Down

More in Entertainment

Just In