Nintendo Entertainment System (NES)
The NES was launched in 1986 and helped to revitalise the video games industry after the crash in the industry in 1983 due to too many consoles and too many poor games. The release of the NES with Super Mario Bros, the lightgun game Duck Hunt and a string of other popular franchises making an appearance on the console made the NES the best selling console of its time and is still very popular today.
Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES)
The update to the NES in 1992 bought about better graphics and sound with the release of the Super Nintendo. The advanced graphics were far better than what was capable on the NES and the popularity of Mario was at an all time high so when the SNES was packaged with Super Mario World it flew off the shelves. 49.10 million Super Nintendo’s were sold worldwide and this was due to a great range of classic games and continued improvements such as the Super FX PCB that made even better graphics possible.
Nintendo 64 (N64)
The N64 contained a 64-bit CPU and was released in 1997 with one of the greatest games of all time; Super Mario 64. This was the first 3D Mario adventure and the new N64 controller allowed gamers complete control over Mario in a 3D world due to the analogue control stick on the three-pronged controller. Although the console was technically advanced, the fact Nintendo stuck to using cartridges where as competitors were now using CDs meant that many companies didn’t support the console. This didn’t stop the console having some great games though with Goldeneye, Mario Kart 64, Perfect Dark, The Legend of Zelda and Blast Corps being some of my favourite games of all time.
The Nintendo GameCube was the first Nintendo console to not use cartridges for its games and also the first one to launch without a new Mario game, although he did appear later in Super Mario Sunshine. With more publishers back on board the console launched with 12 games with Wave Race and Super Monkey Ball being great fun and making good use of the four control ports on the front of the machine. The console dabbled with online play and had some great games but Nintendo lost ground in the gaming market as other consoles from Sony and Microsoft became more popular.
The most current console and the most popular is the Nintendo Wii which has a broad appeal because of its unique motion controls and wide range of games. Although not as powerful as the other consoles available today, the Wii has become very popular due to the fun of Wii Sports and a range of games that are not possible anywhere else. Nintendo embraced online functionality with the Wii with numerous online channels and online play for titles such as Mario Kart Wii. This console is also capable of playing all GameCube games and features control ports for the controllers and games from the NES, SNES and N64 are also playable by downloading them off the Internet.