Happy 25th, Nintendo Entertainment System

The NES became an iconic device in the gaming industry that many gamers point to as the reason they got into video games.

Don Reisinger
Former CNET contributor Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.
Don Reisinger
2 min read

The Nintendo Entertainment System, undoubtedly one of the most iconic video game consoles ever released, turned 25 years old today.

Released on October 18, 1985, the device gave birth to Super Mario Bros., The Legend of Zelda, Metroid, and several other franchises that still live on today.


When the NES hit store shelves in New York City a quarter of a century ago, the future of gaming was decidedly in doubt. Some believed the industry was on its last leg, and few retailers were willing to take the kind of financial risks they once did on games.

But players got their hands on the 8-bit console, and many fell in love. And it wasn't until 1995 and well over 60 million worldwide unit sales later that Nintendo finally discontinued the U.S. version of the console. The company waited until 2003 to discontinue the Japanese model, known as Famicom.

It's hard to find a single product--console or game--that contributed more to the gaming industry in the 1980s and 1990s than the NES. The console proved that people could fall in love with video games. And it quickly became the benchmark by which so many other consoles would be judged throughout the years.

On a personal note, I find it rather sobering that the NES is now 25. It seems like only yesterday that I was playing Super Mario Bros., blowing into cartridges to get them to work, and pulling off seemingly impossible shots on ducks flying around my screen. But 25 years old it is.

So, happy birthday, NES. And thank you for all the good times.