Did you catch that part in the NIntendo Power post a couple of weeks ago about Nintendo Fan Club News? I had never heard of NFCN before then, or if I had, I had forgotten it. I only remember Nintendo Power today. But I guess NFCN was out there. Here’s a video from somebody who knows more about it than I do.
I’ve posted histories of Nintendo before, but this one is way cool. This guy did this as a history class project. How awesome is that? He even has a thesis: Nintendo has become the greatest video game company ever by pricing and innovation. I don’t know about the pricing part. That was always Mom’s area. But I agree with the innovation part.
Could this be the evening news story I mentioned in Arcadian, the story that introduced me to Space Invaders and video games in general? I have no way of knowing for sure, but it was a story like this. BTW, I’ve been by the Atari Sunnyvale location they mention, as you can see in my Tour of Atari video!
Arcade games came in two types of cabinets: the upright cabinet and the cocktail cabinet.
The cocktail cabinet was perhaps the first I ever played. The Space Invaders knock-off game my dentist had in his office was a cocktail cabinet, and my experiences with it could very well have been my first arcade experience. These cabinets looked like tables. You sat down at them to play like you sat down at a table. You could even use them as tables if you wanted to. The screen was in the table top and you had to look down at it.
The upright cabinet was the more popular and familiar. The screen was held horizontally, and you played it standing up. For games that only took one hand, like Pac-Man and Ms. Pac-Man, you could put your free hand on the cabinet side, or, if you were really cool, hang in from the cabinet top.
I certainly prefer the upright version. There is just something about playing while standing that I prefer. I wouldn’t completely dismiss the cocktail version, though. Heck, I wouldn’t even completely dismiss the bar top versions that I never saw or played, even though they are much too small for my taste. An arcade game is an arcade game, after all, no matter what kind of cabinet it comes in.
I think you have to already know the history of the Nintendo company to get this one, but it is still cool. There are lots of interesting old images, including the original Duck Hunt game.
ANESthetized is a memoir of the NES, not a history. I couldn’t write a history. Not without doing a whole lot of research and coming out with something a lot less personally meaningful, anyway. But I am very interested in the history of the NES. If you are as well, you’ll love this little video. It throws out a bunch of things I never heard of before. We almost had the AES (Atari Entertainment System)? We owe everything to Teddy Ruxpin? All that and more in this short history of the NES.
Here’s the opening for the revised ANESthetized:
The Nintendo Entertainment System Catches My Attention
“I’m thinking of asking for a Nintendo for Christmas.”
That’s what I said to a group of my friends on the last recess of our sixth grade year. We were walking around the playground and talking. That is what we did during recess in those days. We never played. We were too old for that. We just walked and talked. On this last recess, we were talking about life beyond the summer break. That life seemed too distant to ever arrive, but we were talking about it anyway. And that’s when I said it. That’s when I said, “I’m thinking of asking for a Nintendo for Christmas.”
The Nintendo Entertainment System, a new home video game console whose name we were already shortening to Nintendo or NES, had been released in select American markets in the fall of 1985, but my friends and I on the west side of Columbus, Ohio didn’t learn about it until the spring of 1986. That’s when it started appearing in local stores and on weekday afternoon TV commercials. That’s also when I began thinking about asking my parents for one.
Just thinking about it? Yes. Just thinking about it. Modern kids don’t think about asking for the latest Nintendo console. They don’t need to. They know what Nintendo is and they know they want whatever console Nintendo makes. But it wasn’t that way back then. I didn’t know what a Nintendo Entertainment System was. I knew it was a home video game console, but I didn’t know what it or its games would be like. I didn’t even know what Nintendo was. I had never heard that name before. Yes, it was right there on the side of my local arcade’s Donkey Kong cabinet, but I hadn’t noticed it. Nintendo and its Entertainment System were complete unknowns, at least to me.
Not only so, but home video games were not popular at the time. Arcade video games were. I had been eagerly dropping quarters into every arcade cabinet I could find for years and was still doing so. But home video games were not. The luster had long since worn off the Atari 2600, which had been the reigning home console since 1977. It had also worn off the Atari 5200 and the Intellivision and the Colecovision and all the other home consoles. I wasn’t playing them as much as I once did. I wasn’t buying games for them. I wasn’t talking about them with my friends and they weren’t talking about them with me. Home video games were not a big part of our lives.
So I was just thinking of asking for a Nintendo. I wasn’t sure I was going to ask for one. I wasn’t sure I wanted one. But since there was nothing else in the department stores and toy shops that interested me, I was at least thinking about it. And I told my friends I was. That made me the first in our circle to say he was thinking of Nintendo. It may even have made me the first in our school.
As it turned out, I did ask for a Nintendo for Christmas. Did I do so because I had gotten more excited about it over the summer? Or was it because there was still nothing else that interested me? I don’t know. I just know that I asked for and got a Nintendo for Christmas 1986.
Or perhaps I should say Nintendo got me, because that’s what really happened. From the moment I pulled that Nintendo Entertainment System out of its wrapping paper, I was won over to Nintendo. In that instant I became Nintendo fan. At that moment I was aNESthetized. ANESthetized for life.
What was it that so aNESthetized me? What was it that won me over to Nintendo and made me such a Nintendo fan? Turn the page and I’ll show you.
Hope you liked the changes. The full book will be out soon!