In 1985, Nintendo launched the console that truly revolutionized the way in which we conceptualize console gaming now, the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES). Imagine that 32 years later, gamers across the world are still clamoring to play this system even though Nintendo has arguably moved away from its traditional console design with the Nintendo Switch. It was never a question that people loved the NES but what shocked some retailers was the reaction from gamers when Nintendo announced the NES Classic Edition last year. Within hours most retailers announced that they had sold out of the $59.99 console that came with 30 games pre-installed. Now Nintendo has announced that it has already sold over two million units of this remake of its console. Yowza!
Many people may not know just how impactful the Nintendo Entertainment System was to the home console market. This writer while never having had the opportunity to play on the NES appreciates the many major franchises that got their start or continuation through this platform. Some of the better-known series include Final Fantasy, Super Mario Bros, The Legend of Zelda, and Castlevania. With more robust consoles available and higher resolution versions of games coming out each year, how does the NES stand up to the competition?
Well, it’s probably due to the nostalgia that its games evoke within players. Similar to how there exists an enduring love for the Nintendo 64 games such as Super Mario 64 and Super Smash Bros., the quality of the games of the NES era can almost be seen as timeless. This is part of the reason why Nintendo could build a brand around only a handful of franchises that seems to return players to a glimpse of the pinnacle of the franchise in its prime. It’s such a hit that even modified versions of the console resonate with players, just ask the guy in the Uber.
While two million units might not seem like that many in comparison to the over 40 million PlayStation 4 owners, it does speak volumes about the demand for the Nintendo Entertainment System and just how much it still is relevant today. Nintendo has launched the Switch earlier this year and has seen similar success with the handheld console almost constantly being sold out at retailers. Combining this with the announcement of the Nintendo 2DS XL system, gamers have more than a wide variety of consoles to choose from.
Folks who haven’t had a chance to get an NES may lose that opportunity forever as Nintendo has announced that it will be discontinuing production of the Classic Edition. Since it was always intended to be a limited edition, there is no surprise here. However, no one knows what to expect when companies announce a new piece of hardware. Stories abound of excited fans waiting in line for a chance to grab this exclusive console while it’s still available.
Still, there is just so much about gaming culture and history that players owe to these older consoles. The NES was truly a masterpiece at its time, bringing friends together in both competitive and cooperative play. It is hard to imagine that one of the largest games on the platform was only one megabyte big. That’s right, one megabyte! If you take a screenshot of this article on a high-resolution phone you would probably be around two megabytes! It’s crazy but the Nintendo Entertainment System holds its own in the console world. Who knows maybe next year Nintendo will announce a remake of the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES)? Or not… we can never know what rabbit Nintendo will pull out of its hat.
[Featured Image by Richard Drew/AP Images]