Famicom, Nintendo Family Computer

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.

As part of the anniversary, Nintendo is releasing a Virtual Console title each month at a 30-day special reduced price of 30 cents in the Nintendo eShop, a digital storefront accessible from your Wii U console.
Updated:
Photo by: Wikipedia/Evan-Amos / Caption by:

Nintendo Entertainment System at 30

It was two years later, on July 15, 1985, when the Nintendo Entertainment System first came to the United States, ushering in a new age of video games and setting the standard for the era.

Known as one of the greatest consoles in history, Nintendo's NES introduced the now-standard business model of licensing third-party developers to build games on Nintendo's platform.
Updated:
Photo by: Wikipedia/Evan-Amos / Caption by:

Super Mario Bros.

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.
Updated:
Photo by: Nintendo / Caption by:

Famicom's controller

Unlike the NES, the Famicom's controllers were hardwired to the console. The second controller eliminated the Start and Select buttons, replacing them with a microphone and volume control.
Updated:
Photo by: Wikipedia/Evan-Amos / Caption by:

Famicom Disk System

The Famicom Disk System was an accessory available only for the Japanese version of Famicom that used games stored on "Disk Cards" with a 3-inch Quick Disk mechanism.
Updated:
Photo by: Wikipedia/Evan-Amos / Caption by:

Excitebike for NES

The Excitebike game was one of the first titles released for the U.S. version of Famicom, the Nintendo Entertainment System in the United States.
Updated:
Photo by: Nintendo / Caption by:

Original Famicom light gun

The original Japanese Famicom version of Nintendo's light gun, the Zapper, was a realistic old revolver handgun made for the shooting game Wild Gunman.
Updated:
Photo by: Famicomworld.com / Caption by:

NES Zapper

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.
Updated:
Photo by: Wikipedia/Evan-Amos / Caption by:

R.O.B.

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.
Updated:
Photo by: Wikipedia/Evan-Amos / Caption by:

Duck Hunt

Duck Hunt, along with Wild West, was one of the first shooting games for the Famicon system, and used the light gun to shoot moving targets on the television screen in midflight.
Updated:
Photo by: Nintendo / Caption by:

NES controller

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.

Check out a few of the classic titles Nintendo is releasing each month on its Virtual Console section in the Nintendo eShop, a digital storefront accessible from your Wii U console.
Updated:
Photo by: Wikipedia/Evan-Amos / Caption by:
Hot Galleries

CNET's Holiday Gift Guide

'Tis the season for a gadget upgrade

Check out these 8 tablets you'll want to bring home for the holidays.

Hot Products