30 Years Down the Nintendo Road – Famicom’s Birthday

Today the Nintendo Family Computer has turned 30. Happy Birthday!

I could sit back and procrastinate about where Nintendo would be today if they didn\’t release this little gem of a game changer.  This would delve into if they would still be making small toys like the love tester, would they still be around to make hanafuda cards or would they only be in existence due to money in properties that it once held ownership of as love hotels (or as a long shot would they still be associated with the Yakuza).  But the bigger picture is, where would the Video Games Industry be as we know it.  It’s widely opined that the industry was in a downward spiral, arcades weren\’t what they used to be, home consoles just weren\’t delivering, and then along came the Famicom. It launched in 1983 in Japan but was delayed to the rest of the world until 1985, first of all in North America with a deal through Atari failing and then subsequently delaying the EU system and issues with a Mattel partnership.

Through the sour deals, this forced Nintendo to step in and do most things themselves, but the most important feature they accomplished that has shaped the industry as a whole is the 3rd party developer/publisher agreement.  A lot of what is still done today is because that’s how Nintendo did it in 1983.

For anyone who is familiar with the gaming industry in their 20’s or older it’s hard to think of the games industry today without considering what Nintendo have done in the past.  The pair’s history is intertwined and reliant on each other.  It may be hard for some younger gamers to understand that we are where we are today because of Nintendo and their forward thinking, their tenacity to create demand. Not everything was plain sailing, but the success of the Famicom started one of the greatest stories of the creation that one company can achieve, not just from hardware, but from flourishing talent from within to create some of the industry’s longest running and most beloved game series.


Mark Loughlin