Nintendo’s Famicom launched 31 years ago today in Japan


On 15th July 1983, Japanese retailers opened their doors to help Nintendo welcome the Famicom into the world. At 14,800 yen, the company were testing the market to see whether they could spark consumer interest behind a cheaper, cartridge-based system that rivalled floppy disk computers that were flooding the market.

With just three arcade ports in Donkey Kong, Donkey Kong Jr. and Popeye console sales were slow, and the system’s early life was plagued by a bad chip set that saw it regularly crash. A swift product recall and reissue later, and Nintendo were able to reverse its fortunes.

Invigorated by the Famicom’s renewed success, Nintendo looked to introduce the console to the North American market although it didn’t surface ashore until a number of years later after a partnership with Atari went sour. When it did arrive, under the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) banner, the rest, as they say, is history.

The Famicom is responsible for birthing many iconic franchises within the games industry, whether that be Super Mario Bros., The Legend of Zelda, Metroid, Mega Man, Final Fantasy, or Dragon Quest, and it will be long remembered for it. Happy 31st Birthday, Famicom!

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