Each Nintendo console from 1980 to now: A whole historical past

Relating to gaming machines, Nintendo has an extremely wealthy previous. Regardless of what you may suppose, the NES wasn’t Nintendo’s first client video games machine – that accolade belongs to the hand held collection Sport & Watch, though it has come on leaps and bounds since then. Actually, in Mario’s case.

Sport & Watch was a collection of handhelds that solely performed a single sport, and had both a clock, an alarm or in some circumstances, each. There have been no cartridges or different video games to obtain. Certainly, there was no web to obtain them from. You got a single sport and caught to it.

Within the following years, Nintendo carved a distinct segment for itself by being the quirky console producer. In comparison with the likes of Sony, Sega and Microsoft, it all the time took gaming in an odd however satisfying course. And due to that that it grew to become an organization you may’t assist however love.

We have taken a glance again at Nintendo’s illustrious historical past, which has offered us with a number of the most iconic video games consoles and to not point out a number of the best video games franchises of all time.

Nintendo Sport & Watch: 1980-1991


There have been a complete collection of Sport & Watch units launched all through the 80s. And like comparable handhelds of the time, they grew to become extremely standard.

The primary was produced after Nintendo worker Gunpei Yokoi noticed a businessman travelling on the Shinkansen enjoying along with his calculator and thought the corporate may make a conveyable video games machine to assist kill time on the commute.

Every Sport & Watch solely had one sport obtainable to play, and there have been round 60 in complete. Some have been primarily based on arcade machines and have been additionally liable for bringing massive licences and sport characters, akin to Donkey Kong, The Legend of Zelda and Mario Bros, into the house.

Nintendo Leisure System (NES): 1983-1995

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Nintendo’s subsequent console would not want a lot introduction. The NES performed 8-bit video games and was designed for the house. It was by far the best-selling console of its time, promoting in extra of 60 million items, and helped North America get better from the videogame crash of 1983 that noticed too many consoles flood the market and private computer systems grow to be extra highly effective.

The NES was initially marketed because the Household Pc, or Famicom in Japan, however was launched as NES in North America at CES 1985. Launch titles included Tremendous Mario Bros, Ice Climber, Pinball and Duck Hunt. You may choose up a console with a duplicate of Tremendous Mario Bros for $99 or a Deluxe Set, which included two video games and several other equipment, for $199.99.

Sport Boy: 1989-2003

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One other of gaming’s best consoles ever is the Nintendo Sport Boy. Considered and designed by the identical group behind the Sport & Watch, the Sport Boy mixed options of the primary handheld with swappable cartridges just like the NES to create one of many best-selling consoles ever. Gross sales of the Sport Boy and Sport Boy Shade (launched in 1998) are estimated at round 120 million items.

It value round $90 when it launched in America and got here bundled with a duplicate of Tetris, extremely thought to be the sport that helped the mammoth gross sales. Nintendo additionally made a variety of equipment for the Sport Boy, together with a printer and magnifying display screen with built-in gentle.

Tremendous Nintendo Leisure System (SNES): 1990-1998

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Nintendo’s second main residence console was additionally a runaway success, despite the fact that it had robust competitors from the Sega Mega Drive. Sega’s machine was launched first, but it surely was in the end Nintendo’s array of video games that helped it grow to be the best-selling console of the 16-bit period, with almost 50 million items shipped worldwide.

Nintendo produced completely different variations of the console for various markets, with the Japanese model referred to as the Tremendous Famicom. It additionally encoded the cartridges in such a manner that you just weren’t capable of play video games from one nation on a console from one other.

Digital Boy: 1995-1996

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A bizarre and in the end disastrous console launch adopted the SNES, but it surely’s seemed again on fondly because the forerunner of digital actuality within the residence.

The Digital Boy stood on a desk or cupboard and gamers needed to lean into the visor to play wireframe 3D video games. Sadly, reasonably than present a space-age expertise, most avid gamers got here away feeling queasy and the idea was shelved. Its lifespan will be measured in months not years and it by no means made it out of Japan or the US.

Nintendo 64 (N64): 1996-2003

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The N64 obtained its title from the 64-bit CPU it used and was Nintendo’s final residence console to require cartridges. It was profitable when it launched, with many purchasers combating to get their fingers on one and was deemed probably the most highly effective console of its technology.

Sadly, it had the Sony PlayStation and Sega Saturn to compete with, so could not fairly emulate its predecessors’ success, happening to promote just below 33 million items. However the N64 nonetheless goes down in historical past as a unbelievable Nintendo video games console by these within the know.

A big a part of its success will be put all the way down to the video games: Tremendous Mario 64, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time and Goldeneye 007 are nonetheless thought to be a number of the finest titles in historical past.

Nintendo GameCube: 2001-2007

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Nintendo turned to the optical disc format for the GameCube however was up towards robust competitors from the Sony PlayStation 2, Microsoft Xbox and Sega Dreamcast. Sport progress may very well be saved to reminiscence playing cards, coming in sizes from 4MB to 64MB and the controller was redesigned from the three-handled mannequin of the N64 to a two-handled one for the GameCube, however they could not stop it being an enormous flop.

As soon as once more Mario and Zelda made an look on the GameCube, serving to in some half in direction of its preliminary success, however solely 22 million GameCubes have been offered in complete. Contemplating 153 million rival PlayStations have been shifted, that was an enormous failure. It hasn’t stopped it happening in historical past as an iconic console although.

Sport Boy Advance: 2001-2008

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Nintendo determined to improve its ageing Sport Boy idea with a extra highly effective mannequin, with higher graphics and a wider vary of colors obtainable to builders.

The Sport Boy Advance went by means of a number of designs in its seven-year shelf life, with a return to the clamshell type of the unique Sport & Watch units for the Sport Boy Advance SP. That specific oddity may even be seen because the forerunner to the Nintendo DS to comply with quickly after.

Nintendo DS: 2004-2014

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Although it was urgent ahead with new designs for the Sport Boy Advance, Nintendo determined to fully refresh its handheld technique with the discharge of the DS.

Importantly, it launched an progressive new dual-screen setup that developed from the unique Sport & Watch. The underside show featured a touchscreen and may very well be used to regulate video games, whereas the highest was simply an LCD display screen to see what you have been doing.

Its important rival was the Sony PSP, however due to backwards compatibility with Sport Boy Advance video games and a few evolution fashions with improved efficiency and options, the DS line grew to become the best-selling handheld video games console collection in historical past.

Nintendo Wii: 2006-2013

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The Wii was Nintendo’s entry within the seventh technology of residence consoles, going up towards fearsome competitors within the type of the Sony PlayStation 3 and Microsoft Xbox 360. However for a while it led the opposite two in gross sales figures.

The Wii ushered in a brand new period of movement gaming utilizing the Wii Distant, which the console tracked in three-dimensional house. It additionally ultimately launched the Wii Stability Board which was used with health video games. Its family-friendly type and video games releases made it the most well-liked lounge machine for fairly a while.

Nintendo 3DS: 2011-

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To comply with up on its DS handheld idea, Nintendo turned to a visible know-how standard on the time: 3D. It made the highest display screen of its clamshell machine a 3D display screen, though, not like comparable image tech on TVs and the like, it did not require glasses.

To be sincere, most individuals have been disenchanted with the 3D show and its efficiency, however that did not cease the 3DS from promoting in bucket hundreds. It has since has minor refreshes within the type of a bigger XL mannequin and enhanced variations. A 2D-only model can also be obtainable for youthful kids who can not use the 3D display screen.

Nintendo Wii U: 2012-2016

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The Wii U was the successor to the Wii and Nintendo’s reply to the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. It’s the first Nintendo console to help high-definition graphics, and is primarily managed utilizing the touchscreen-enabled Wii U GamePad.

Whereas preliminary reception to the Wii U was optimistic, it has in the end been thought-about a gaming failure, promoting simply over 13 million items since its launch.

NES Traditional Mini: 2016-2017

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Retro gaming has grow to be extremely standard and upfront of the Nintendo Change turning into obtainable in early 2017, the Japanese gaming large helped avid gamers younger and outdated revisit a few of its finest early video games with a mini form of the original NES console. It featured 30 of the corporate’s Nintendo Leisure System titles and an genuine type controller however with a contemporary HDMI connector.

Vastly profitable, Nintendo offered round 2.3 million of the console earlier than it was discontinued in 2017. Nintendo produced a restricted run in 2018 to fulfill the remaining demand.

Tremendous NES Traditional Version: 2017-2018

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Following the success of the NES Traditional Mini above, the Tremendous NES Traditional Version was launched in 2017 and just like the NES Traditional Mini, was very profitable.

It offered over 5 million items and was discontinued after the tip of 2018.

There have been three completely different variations of the SNES Traditional Version as a result of there have been three completely different variations of the unique SNES in Japan, North America and Europe.

21 Tremendous NES titles have been pre-installed, together with the primary launch of Star Fox 2 which was cancelled in 1995 (it is also obtainable for Change).

Nintendo Change: 2017-

Original NIntendo Switch console running Zelda


And so we come to the Change, which was launched first in March 2017. It contains a tablet-like machine with a touchscreen, plus a docking station to play it at residence on a TV. So it is each moveable to play when out and about however may work from home.

The Pleasure-Con controllers are small pads that slot onto both aspect of the display screen. They usually may also be slotted onto a central residence controller unit with a view to give a extra joypad really feel to proceedings.

Nintendo’s first-party titles have been massively profitable for the console. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, Tremendous Mario Odyssey, Tremendous Smash Bros. Final, Pokémon Sword and Protect, and Animal Crossing: New Horizons have offered over twenty million items every.

In contrast to the Wii U, the Change has been remarkably profitable, with 79 million items offered up till the tip of 2020. There have additionally been a number of particular editions, too, akin to 2021’s Mario Pink and Blue version.

Nintendo Change Lite: 2019-

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The Change Lite is a variation of the Change with out the separate Pleasure-cons or the dock that permits the Change to be linked to a TV.

As a substitute, the unit is designed for complete portability – it has fastened controls and is presently obtainable in 4 colors plus particular editions, notably for Animal Crossing.

The Change Lite has been successful, with 13.5 million offered till the tip of 2020.

Nintendo Change (OLED mannequin): 2021-

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Nintendo hasn’t but dropped a Change Professional, regardless of years of rumours, however in 2021 it did supply up an upgraded model of the Change. The OLED mannequin brings a massively improved show that has deeper blacks and extra luscious colors, whereas the console feels extra sturdy and has a far, much better kickstand for enjoying on the go.

It is the newest and best from Nintendo, briefly, and one of the best model of the Change obtainable.

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