March 30, 2005
Super Mario Brothers, Nintendo!
Picking up a controller almost 10 years after my last time playing Super Mario Brothers was a very emotional sensation. Tuesday night was the first reunion in which I was reunited with one of my favorite childhood pastimes, playing Super Mario Brothers on the original Nintendo. Picking up the controller last night could possibly be viewed analogously to an orphan infant being placed back with their original birthparents at the age of 10. I almost cried. Just like playing Nintendo as a child, many of the same problems surfaced last night. Remember always initially turning the system on and it never worked right away? Well that happened last night. I took the systematic approach I developed, as well as every other child during Nintendo days, to try and make the game work.
STEP 1) Make sure system is plugged into TV and electrical outlet.
STEP2) Bang on the top and sides of the system.
STEP3) Remove game from system and blow really hard into system & game.
STEP4) If the above step doesn’t work, pick entire system up and throw hard against ground.
*** The Nintendo system is almost guaranteed to work after completing the above steps!
I spent a portion of Tuesday night competing against Nick & Laura playing Super Mario Brothers! I almost got to the castle to win the entire game, as I use to do as a child. I obtained the classical sweaty palms from playing as well as making a statement that was misinterpreted for a sexual innuendo, “I once had 10 guys up!” It was an excellent time.
I also went to see Closer with Nick and Lesley at the student center on the St. Paul campus. It was an excellent movie once again, after initially seeing it at Block E! Read My Review!
The Famicom rocks Japan! (1983) Nintendo released their first console for the home market, the Famicom or Nintendo Entertainment System as it was called when released in the west. Famicom is short for Family Computer. The console was sold for around $100 ($25 more than it was intended to in the first place, still it was less than half the price of the competitors' machines). The Famicom sold very well in Japan and became very popular but, due the video game crash of early 1984, Nintendo had a difficult time releasing the system in America. During this crash the market was flooded by mediocre games and e.g. Atari games were sold for 10% of the suggested retail price. The American retailers promised themselves to never again sell video game consoles or computers... To prevent the same thing from happening to Nintendo's console Nintendo included a software licensing program, the famous Nintendo Seal of Quality, so Nintendo would only license games that met their minimal standards of quality. Atari's fault was that they hadn't been able to control that the games from the third party developers were good enough. This was a part of Yamauchi's plan, he knew that if Nintendo released their system when the video game market was as good as dead, there would be no competition and if successful their NES would be the only choice for gamers around the states!
What few people know is that one of the first companies that Nintendo turned to, for help in the American launch of their console was Atari. Nintendo approached Atari, who by then had a big share of the American video&computer -game market, in 1983. They were ready to sell Atari the rights to distribute the NES everywhere outside Japan. They were so close to an agreement that they actually planned to sign the agreement on C.E.S. in June the same year.
However when Atari saw that Coleco demonstarted a (unlawful) prototype of Donkey Kong for their home computer Adam on the C.E.S. they refused to sign the deal since they assumed that Nintendo was also forging a deal with Coleco.
You might speculate what would have happened if Atari hadn't seen that Donkey Kong protype and actually signed the deal. The worst case scenary would that they would just have abandoned the Famicom. This way they would have elimiated one possible oponent on the video game / home computer -market and their own 8-bit system, the Atari 7800 ProSystem with backwars compability with the current library of Atari 2600 CVS games would have had a much better chance of success...
(Atari was in fact a doomed company when they were negotiating the deal with Nintendo. They were loosing the incredile amount of $2 million - Daily. The only thing that kept the already crashed company from going bankrupt was the fact that 20% of the company was owned by Wanrer Communications, which now is Time Warner.)
Nintendo continued to search for distributors for their console and in 1985, Mr. Arakawa (President at Nintendo of America) managed to persuade one retailer to release it as a test in New York, and you know the rest, don't you? Within 10 years of the release in February 1986, the NES sold around 30 million copies in the US only, and had approximately 90% of the 8-bit market! The NES was released in Europe 1986.
*Nintendo History courtesy from nintendoland.com
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