Following the Video Game Crash of 1983 no U.S. company felt there was money to be made in video games anymore. It wasn’t until a Japanese company named Nintendo brought stateside their popular Famicom (FAMily COMputer) re-named the Nintendo Entertainment System. For the first time gamers were actually able to play almost arcade perfect translations at home.
Nintendo was planning on jumping into the U.S. market on it’s own originally, he had been looking for someone to be their stateside partner. Because Atari had captured most of the market before 1983 Nintendo contacted them and a deal was in the works for Atari to be their distributor here. That’s right, the N.E.S. was almost going to go under the Atari brand! With this relationship set Atari would manufacture and market all Nintendo hardware and software. It would have been a win-win situation for both companies. Unfortunately (or fortunately, it depends on who you talk to) a misunderstanding brought their partnership to an end.
Atari witnessed a beta version of Donkey Kong in development by Coleco for the Adam computer at the Consumer Electronics Show (C.E.S.) and thinking that Nintendo was working two different deals bowed out of the deal. Nintendo was able to persuade one retailer to sell the system and it exploded with over 30 million systems sold before its death.
Around 1993 the sales of the N.E.S. were almost none existent as most gamers had moved onto the SNES, Genesis and TurboGrafx-16. As a thank you to all the loyal Nintendo gamers out there they released a re-designed N.E.S. and it’s biggest feature was it’s top loading cartridge slot. This is how the N.E.S. should have been originally (the Japanese Famicom was a top loader from the start) as the front loading version had nothing but problems. Unfortunately this new N.E.S. didn’t sell very well and was discontinued after just a year so they are very hard to find. If you can get one this is the version to get.