A few miscellaneous factoids and tidbits about everyone's favorite gray box from the 1980's...
  • Test marketed in New York City and Los Angeles in December 1984 after retailers as a whole refused to carry it without a successful test marketing phase after being burned by the collapse of Atari.
  • Nintendo offered to buy back all unsold consoles after the test marketing phase. They didn't have to buy back a single one.
  • First release: Super Mario Bros. (1984 test market, 1985 wide release)
  • Last release produced by Nintendo: Kirby's Adventure (1993)
  • Last release overall (Japan): Hudson's Adventure Island 4 (1994)
  • Last release overall (USA): The Jungle Book (1994)
  • Most controversial release from parents' point of view (USA): Castlevania II: Simon's Quest. Thousands of angry parents flooded Nintendo with calls and letters after their little children became frightened and had nightmares thanks to artwork in the manual and on the cover of the Nintendo Power magazine hyping the game.
  • Most controversial release from Nintendo's point of view (USA): Maniac Mansion. When Nintendo learned it was possible to microwave the hamster in the game they demanded a halt to production of the cartridge while the "feature" was removed. Early copies of the game made it out the door before this aspect of the game was caught, and many players (such as myself) have this version.
  • Most illegal release (USA): Tetris by Tengen. They believed that they owned the rights to produce the game for the NES when in fact it was Nintendo itself that had the rights. Nintendo sued the company and forced the game (which many believed superior to the Nintendo version) off the market. Today it's worth big bucks in the collection world.
  • Most anticipated release: Super Mario Bros. 3, a game that attracted the attention of so many people that they flocked to the movie The Wizard, a movie that probably wouldn't have done so well otherwise, for a sneak peek at the game in action.
  • Fastest selling game: Super Mario Bros. 3, which is still ranked as the fastest selling game of all time, selling 15 million copies in 1990 alone. Used copies of the game are in high demand even today, despite the game being fairly common and having been rereleased in Super Mario All-Stars and Super Mario Advance 4.
  • Famous Vaporware: The Telegames modem would have snapped on to the bottom of the NES and accessed its expansion port to allow online play. Note that by "online" I mean that the NES would physically call the person you wanted to play against and make a direct connection to their NES. No Internet, no central game server. The device never made it to market.

Nintendo Power issue #50
Years worth of reading about the NES itself in misc. magazines and websites