Nintendo Entertainment System
NES logo.svg
Manufacturer Nintendo
Type Console
Release Date NA October 18, 1985
JP July 15, 1983
EU September 1, 1986
AUS 1987
Discontinued NA 1995
JP September 25, 2003
Media Cartridges
Predecessor Color TV Game
Successor SNES

The Nintendo Entertainment System (abbreviated NES) was Nintendo's first video game system. It was released on July 15, 1983 for Japan as the Family Computer (Famicom), October 18, 1985 for North America, and September 1, 1986 for Europe. During its time, it was the most popular console in the video gaming business. The NES operated on 8-bit technology and had two controller ports. It was discontinued in January 1995 in North America and Europe, and September 2003 in Japan, 20 years after it was first released, giving it the record of being the longest-running video game system (when it was discontinued in Japan). The NES also came bundled with two games, Super Mario Bros. and Duck Hunt.

Family ComputerEdit

Famicom Family logo.svg

Famicom Logo

The Family Computer (Famicom or FC for short) is the Japanese version of the Nintendo Entertainment System which came out two years prior to North America. Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong, China, the Middle East, and Vietnam all got the Famicom. The Famicom, even though it and the NES utilize the same hardware, they are both different systems. For instance, the Famicom has seen many different peripherals that have never made it to the NES.



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 NES featured a front-loading cartridge slot and 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.

The original Famicom and the re-released AV Family Computer both utilized a 60-pin cartridge design, which resulted in smaller cartridges than the NES, which utilized a 72-pin design. Four pins were used for the 10NES lockout chip. Ten pins were added that connected a cartridge directly to the expansion port on the bottom of the unit. Finally, two pins that allowed cartridges to provide their own sound expansion chips were removed. Some early games released in North America were simply Famicom cartridges attached to an adapter (such as the T89 Cartridge Converter) to allow them to fit inside the NES hardware. Nintendo did this to reduce costs and inventory by using the same cartridge boards in North America and Japan. The cartridge dimensions of the original Famicom measured in at 5.3 × 3 inches, compared with 4.1 × 5.5 inches for its North American redesign.

The Famicom’s original design includes hardwired, non-removable controllers. In addition, the second controller featured an internal microphone for use with certain games and lacked SELECT and START buttons. Both the controllers and the microphone were subsequently dropped from the redesigned AV Famicom in favor of the two seven-pin controller ports on the front panel used in the NES from its inception.


The NES was distributed to other foreign countries by other manufacturers, usually illegal clones.

Name Manufacturer Region released
Bitman R-Style n/a
Dendy Steepler Russia
Family Game n/a Argentina
Hyundai Cowboy Hyundai Electronics South Korea
Kenga Lamport n/a
Little Master n/a India
Pegasus n/a Poland, Serbia, Bosnia

Super Design Ending-Man BS-500 AS ("Terminator 2")

n/a Eastern Europe, Spain
Wiz Kid n/a India

Reception & LegacyEdit

The NES was widely loved by everyone who played on it. Parents liked it for it's majority of family-friendly games. In 2009, IGN named it the most popular game system of all-time. Many of its classic games are now available for download on the Wii Shop Channel.

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