October 18, 1985-- not exactly a day that will live in infamy but one which forever changed the world.  Twenty-five years ago, the Nintendo Entertainment System was first sold in America, almost two years after its introduction in Japan as Famicom.

Initial sales were not good.  Nintendo had to guarantee purchases of systems by retailers, who were promised they could return unsold units for a full refund.  What a contrast to today's blockbuster releases of the PS3 and XBox 360, or the NES's great-great grandchild, the Wii.  Like the Wii, Nintendo marketed its system differently-- as a system that came with a zapper light gun and a robot-- A FRICKIN' ROBOT!!!  --as opposed to just controllers.

NES launched in the US packaged with Duck Hunt and Gyromite and only had 11 other titles:

  • 10-Yard Fight

  • Baseball

  • Clu Clu Land

  • Donkey Kong Jr. Math

  • Excitebike

  • Golf

  • Hogan’s Alley

  • Ice Climber

  • Kung Fu

  • Mach Rider

  • Pinball

  • Stack-Up

  • Tennis

  • Wild Gunman

  • Wrecking Crew

    I have fond memories of most of those games-- probably more than they deserved. Especially since in that first year, Nintendo only sold about 50,000 units.

    Our family, didn't get an NES until Christmas of '87, AFTER Nintendo found their blockbuster (and seemingly everyone else had one--t hanks mom and dad!):  Super Mario Bros.

    Come on, now.  Who can't sing that theme music?

    "I'm sorry, but our princess is in another castle" was a meme before anyone knew what the internet or a meme was.

    Other classic titles  followed: Contra (up, down, up, down, left, right....), Ikari Warriors (A, B, B, A), The Legend of Zelda-- in it's distinctive and beautiful gold case!, Mike Tyson's Punch Out (before he raped someone and went to prison, before he bit Evander Holyfield's ear off, and before his redemption in The Hangover), Super Mario 2, Super Mario 3, Metroid (JUSTIN BAILEY), Castlevania I, II, and III, Dragon Quest ("Thou encounterest a slime!!" "Attack the slime!" "Thou Art Dead"), Tetris, Dr. Mario, Battletoads, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Arcade Game, Double Dragon (Anyone else feel weird beating up women in that game? Or using the whip on them?), Blades of Steel (speaking of fighting), Ice Hockey, Major League Baseball, Bases Loaded, Double Dribble, and, of course, the Final Fantasy and Mega Man franchises started on NES.  I'm sure I've missed some, even some obvious ones.

    Huffington Post has a top 25 list of the greatest NES games of all time. Thoughts?  (Damn those liberals for not including pro-NRA games like Hogan's Alley!)

    The venerable Nintendo entertainment System may turn 25 today, but my inner child will always be 10 years old for the joy it brought into my life.  Too bad this newest generation will never know the joy of blowing on a cartridge to get it to work...

    What about the rest of you robots?  Favorite game?  Favorite NES-related memory?

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    Tags: Video Games