25 years ago the Nintendo Entertainment System was released. The revolutionary video game system didn’t look like much from the outside but this little gray box was destined to change video games forever. The NES has even come full circle — today gamers can enjoy many of its classic games on Wii’s Virtual Console.
Game systems have changed a lot in 25 years, transforming from 2D side-scrolling epics into 3D cinematic powerhouses worthy of blockbuster movie status. In fact, the gaming industry has grown by epic proportions since Mario’s first encounter with a Koopa Trooper.
The Couch Potato Magnet Goes High Tech
Video games have shattered their reputation as a waste of time, now they’re used for everything to training Air Force pilots to teaching third graders math. They entertain, innovate and educate. And they’ve found a way to adapt to the changing times and grow outside of their own market – and in part, thanks to the Nintendo 8-bit NES.
Games like World of Warcraft, Halo, Ratchet and Clank and practically every other video game icon owe much to Nintendo and their portly plumber. Today Mario predecessors dominate PCs, the internet, hand-held gaming consoles, even smart phones. Gamers are making their own games too and in many cases looking to the Nintendo classics for inspiration – addicting games like the iPhone’s Doodle Jump or Angry Birds, both of which, with the touch of a button are downloaded wirelessly and instantly – ready to play in seconds.
Where would we be if Mario if hadn’t come along when he did? Maybe a better question might be what would Mario look like if he had just come along today? 3D Modeler Justin Buonvino may have an idea, his Still The Best page on deviantART gives you a peek, plus a chance to grab some awesome 8-bit Nintendo inspired wallpapers for your computer.
Back To The Future
Everyone in video gaming continues re-inventing it seems, including Nintendo – who next year will release the first ever 3D handheld system (the 3DS) and whose groundbreaking Wii proved, well so groundbreaking, it spawned a new genre of video gaming (motion control – many say it’s also the future) – and the PS3 Move and Xbox Kinect copycats.
25 Reasons To Love The NES:
Video game development has been in constant evolution since it began, but in 1985 Nintendo took the reigns and guided an industry with the greatest video game system ever. Here’s how:
25. Bad to the Bone Box Art. This Mega Man box art didn’t do the game justice, for that matter, box art in those days didn’t do any games justice (ok, we’ll give you the Konami classics like Metal Gear, Contra and Rush’N Attack), but they sure fired up your imagination.
24. Contra. This side-scrolling shoot-em up set the standard for shooters long before the term even existed.
23. Codes. No save points. No memory cards. You wrote down a code or you didn’t…and had to play through what progress you had made, all over again.
22. R.O.B. the Robot. Google it.
21. The Nintendo Seal of Quality. There wasn’t a game that shipped out Nintendo’s warehouse door that didn’t get play tested to meet Nintendo’s quality standards, and if it wasn’t up to snuff, it didn’t get approved – Nintendo’s system of third-party approvals is still in use today.
20. Donkey Kong. Finally we could stop wasting our quarters in the arcade!
19. Metal Gear. The ultimate in stealth action, this game set the groundwork for action games for years to come.
18. Dragon Warrior. This game not only defined the console RPG but it would start into motion and standardize RPG game mechanics.
17. The NES controller. Sure, you take them for granted today, but back in the day Nintendo introduced this thing called the directional pad and controlling video games with clunky, less than accurate joysticks was finally a thing of the past.
16. The NES Advantage. This controller was sold separately and introduced gamers to the thumb-saving rapid fire!
15. Subtitles and Classic 8-bit Game Dialogue. Need to move the story along? Do it in text, that what’s the NES did – and by the way Mario we forgot to tell you, “our princess is in another castle.”
14. Castlevania. The original vampire hunter is still our favorite undead slayer.
13. Super Mario 3. Everything from Happy Meals to Saturday morning cartoons screamed, “Mario!” in 1990. Mario was at the height of his popularity when this sequel hit stores. Racoon suit Mario, anyone?
12. The Legend of Zelda. Aside from Super Mario Bros. no other 8-bit title captured the joy of exploration like this game.
11. Metroid. Samus chasing aliens are some of our best video gaming memories — and shocker! The hero is really a girl! Talk about cutting edge.
10. Final Fantasy. The series premiered on the NES.
9. Mega Man. The little blue dynamo also made his debut on the system.
8. The Power Pad. Long before the Wii Fit or Dance Dance Revolution this pad allowed players to control a game using their feet – and get plenty of exercise in the process.
7. The Power Glove. Sure, it was cheesy and worked only half the time but name another video game system that has it’s own glove controller?
6. The Zapper. This gun-like attachment turned your TV into a shooting gallery with games like Duck Hunt.
5. 8-bits! The NES didn’t need a super computer or CD drive, it made magic happen with a measly 8-bit processor.
4. Near Perfect Home Arcade Conversions. For the first time ever video gamers had the chance to play near perfect conversions of arcade hits like Galaga and Mappy(shown above).
3. Nintendo Fan Art. No other group of video game game fans is so respectful of their heritage – or more eager to share it with others.
2. Super Mario Bros. Packed in with every NES, the game became an icon for a generation and inspiration for gamers everywhere.
1. Mario. He’s the most successful video game franchise in history, selling over 225 million games and a bazillion game systems.
What are your best video game memories from the last 25 years? Then tell us about them.
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