Games Company Nintendo has warned of a £205m loss in the financial year ending March 2014 and as a result its share price has plummeted. Sales for the Wii U have been disappointing and it seems that Nintendo, which once was a big player in the games console industry, is now struggling to compete with Sony and Microsoft. We hope Nintendo doesn’t die, but just in case, we’ve taken a look at the iconic Nintendo products that the world once loved.
Nintendo Entertainment System – 1983
This was Nintendo’s first home video games console and was released in Japan in 1983, then in the US in 1985. The 8-bit NES was the best-selling games console of its time and helped revitalise the gaming industry, which was considered dead. The Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES) came next and had even better graphics and sound but it had to compete with its nemesis, the Sega Megadrive. The NES sold 61 million units worldwide while the SNES sold less at 40 million. Both remain highly popular with collectors and retro gamers.
Gameboy – 1989
The Gameboy was a huge success and loved by millions. Combined with its successor the Gameboy Colour, they sold 118 million units worldwide. It came bundled with the ever-popular games Super Mario Land and Tetris and had only 8kb of RAM (the PS Vita has 512 MB RAM). Other successors include the Gameboy Advance in 2001, the Gameboy Advance SP in 2003, and the Gameboy Micro in 2005. Combined, the ‘Advance’ models sold 81 million units worldwide.
Nintendo 64 – 1996
The Nintendo 64 was named after its 64-bit CPU and had just 4MB of RAM (The PS4 has 8GB RAM). It was the last of Nintendo’s consoles to use cartridges and competed with the PlayStation and Sega Saturn, which both used discs. Game cartridges cost a lot more to make and were also limited in terms of space at a time when games were becoming more complex. As a result, many games manufacturers stopped making Nintendo games. It sold 32 million units worldwide so it wasn’t Nintendo’s greatest success on paper. Still, there was a long time between this and Nintendo’s previous console, which meant people were lining up to get their hands on it. It had great reviews from critics and is still considered one of the best consoles of all time.
GameCube – 2001
This was Nintendo’s first console to use discs and it had to compete with the popular PlayStation 2, Xbox and Sega Dreamcast. The 64’s control pad had many negative reviews, so Nintendo changed it for the Gamecube to a ‘handlebar’ design made popular by the Playstation. The Gamecube had a mixed response from critics who disliked its lack of features and design. It did, however. Support online gaming and a modem adapter was needed to connect it. Game support for this feature was rather limited though and therefore was hardly used by anyone. The console sold 22 million units worldwide.
Nintendo DS – 2004
The next generation of handheld consoles came with the Nintendo DS and then its successors the DS Lite, DSi, DSi XL, 3DS and the 3DS XL. The first four have sold a total of 153 million units worldwide. All versions of the DS have a clamshell design and two screens, making it different to any other handheld console out there. In addition, the 3DS supports 3D effects without the need for 3D glasses which is the first handheld console to do so. It was released in 2011 and has been quite successful selling 35 million units.
Wii – 2006
It’s been almost seven years since the Wii was released and it’s been a huge success selling 100 million units worldwide to date. It’s simply Nintendo’s best-selling console. What made it such a success was its ability to detect movement with its sensor and controller, which paved the way for sports and fitness games and the subsequent Wii Fit. All Wii consoles were bundled with ‘Wii Sports’ as standard. So not only was it fun, but the Wii helped people be active in front of their TVs. The Wii U was its successor, released in 2012 and incorporated HD graphics.
Nintendo has created some of the most iconic games ever made and this is probably why Nintendo is still alive today despite disappointing sales and harsh competition from Sony and Microsoft.
Everybody still loves Mario.
Super Mario Brothers was launched along with the very first Nintendo console and since its release, the little plumber has inspired generations of Nintendo fans. The franchise has spawned many more Mario games including Mario Kart and Super Mario World. Nintendo will likely continue to release more games based on these lovable brothers for years to come. Other Nintendo game series that proved incredibly popular and are considered some of the best games/series of all time include:
Legend of Zelda
What are some of your favourite Nintendo memories?