It was 30 years ago today, on July 15, 1983, when Nintendo launched the Family Computer, the 8-bit video game console, commonly called Famicom -- known better as the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) in the United States.
This original Nintendo home system looked much more toy-like than the redesigned console which would eventually come to U.S. audiences two years later, with a white, red, and gold motif.
Unlike the NES system released in the U.S., the two controllers were hardwired to the console, and could be stored in the system by attaching them to the top. The Player 1 controller on Famicom had the same button layout as the U.S. NES controller, but the second controller also had a built-in microphone in place of the Select button.
The first games available for the Famicon system were ports of Nintendo's successful arcade games Donkey Kong, Donkey Kong Jr., and Popeye.
With the U.S. launch of the American version of Famicon, NES, on July 15, 1985, Nintendo released 18 titles: 10-Yard Fight, Baseball, Clu Clu Land, Duck Hunt, Donkey Kong Jr. Math, Excitebike, Golf, Gyromite, Hogan’s Alley, Ice Climber, Kung Fu, Mach Rider, Pinball, Stack-Up, Tennis, Wild Gunman, Wrecking Crew, and the iconic Super Mario Bros.
The NES Zapper light gun looked more futuristic than the original Japanese Famicom version, and came bundled along with the console, R.O.B. (the Robotic Operating Buddy), and the Duck Hunt and Gyromite games.
R.O.B., the Robotic Operating Buddy, and known as the Family Computer Robot in Japan, was a somewhat gimmicky accessory intended to differentiate from other manufacturers. The robot received commands from the console via optical flashes emitted from the screen.
The revised Famicon controllers that came with the U.S. NES system were different from those on the original Japanese console in that they could be unplugged. They did, however, lack the microphone featured in the original Japanese Famicom Player 2 controller.