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Nintendo NES Screenshots
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Nintendo NES
Released October 1985
Following a series of arcade game successes in the early 1980s, Nintendo made plans to produce its own console hardware that had removable cartridges, a feature not included with the company's earlier Color TV Games product. Designed by Masayuki Uemura and released in Japan on July 15, 1983, the Nintendo Family Computer (Famicom) was slow to gather momentum: during its first year, many criticized the system as unreliable, prone to programming errors and rampant freezing. Following a product recall and a reissue with a new motherboard, the Famicom's popularity soared, becoming the best-selling game console in Japan by the end of 1984. Encouraged by their successes, Nintendo soon turned their attentions to the North American markets.

In June 1985, Nintendo unveiled its American version of the Famicom at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES). With a completely redesigned case and a new name, the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) proved to be just as popular in America as the Famicom was in Japan, and played a major role in revitalizing interest in the video game industry.


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Super Nintendo Entertainment System Screenshots
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Super Nintendo Entertainment System
Released August 23, 1991 for $200.00
The Super Nintendo Entertainment System was Nintendo's second home console, following the Nintendo Entertainment System (often abbreviated to NES, released as the Famicom in Japan). Whereas the earlier system had struggled in Europe and large parts of Asia the SNES proved to be a global success, albeit one that could not match its predecessor's popularity in South East Asia and North America - due in part to increased competition from Sega's Mega Drive console (released in North America as the Genesis). Despite its relatively late start, the SNES became the best selling console of the 16-bit era but only after its competitor Sega had pulled out of the 16-bit market to focus on its 32-bit next generation console.

Nintendo released the Super Nintendo Entertainment System which initially sold for a price of $200. The North American package included the game Super Mario World. The SNES was released in the United Kingdom and Ireland in April 1992 for Ł150, with a German release following a few weeks later. The PAL versions of the console looked identical to the Japanese Super Famicom, except for labelling.


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Nintendo Entertainment System Model 2 Screenshots
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Nintendo Entertainment System Model 2
Released February 01, 1993 for $45.00
In 1993, Nintendo released a top loading NES model 2. This newer model was scaled down to nearly half the size of the original. The case was a sleeker design (Like a smoother Famicom). The cartridge port was more stable, and used eject & power buttons similar to it's successor the SuperNES. Even the controller had the "bone-like" shape of the SuperNES. This new model sold for $45. The cheaper price came at the loss of the original model's interface and A/V output ports. Nintendo dropped support for this new model a year later. Today, it's a collectors item.

Nintendo's success introduced some of the most interesting accessories and conversions. Who could forget the "Power Glove", and "Rob the Robot". Nintendo slapped "NES-like" hardware into an Arcade cabinet and released Nintendo Playchoice to arcades everywhere. In Japan they released a disk drive accessory that allowed gamers to download games from vending machines onto a disk.


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Nintendo Virtual Boy Screenshots
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Nintendo Virtual Boy
Released August 1995
The Virtual Boy is a video game console developed and manufactured by Nintendo. It was the first video game console capable of displaying "true 3D graphics" out of the box. Whereas most video games use monocular cues to achieve the illusion of three dimensions on a two-dimensional screen, the Virtual Boy creates an illusion of depth through the effect known as parallax. In a manner similar to using a head-mounted display, the user looks into an eyepiece made of neoprene on the front of the machine, and then an eyeglass-style projector allows viewing of the monochromatic (in this case, red) image.

It was released on July 21, 1995 in Japan and August 14, 1995 in North America at a price of around US$180. Hype surrounding the device included public musings by Nintendo that the device might resemble a gun, projecting a 3D image in the air. The actual device was considered a disappointment. The commercial demise of the Virtual Boy was considered to be the catalyst that led to the designer, Yokoi being driven from Nintendo, yet it was maintained that Yokoi kept a close relationship with Nintendo despite Yokoi having later created a rival handheld system for Bandai. According to Game Over, the company laid the blame for the machine's faults directly on the creator. The Virtual Boy was discontinued in late 1995 in Japan and in early 1996 in North America. In 2007, the system was listed as number five in PC World's "The Ugliest Products in Tech History" list. TIME Magazine's website listed the Virtual Boy as one of the worst inventions of all time.


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Nintendo 64 Screenshots
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Nintendo 64
Released September 29, 1996 for $199.00
The Nintendo 64, commonly called the N64, is Nintendo's third home video game console. The N64 was released on June 23, 1996 in Japan, September 29, 1996 in North America, 1 March 1997 in Europe/Australia and September 1, 1997 in France. It was released with only two launch games in Japan and North America (Super Mario 64 and PilotWings 64) while Europe had a third launch title in the form of Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire (which was released earlier in the other markets). The Nintendo 64 cost $199 at launch in the United States.

During the developmental stages the N64 was referred to by its code name, Project Reality. The name Project Reality came from the speculation within Nintendo that this console could produce CGI on par with then-current super computers. Once unveiled to the public the name changed to Nintendo Ultra 64, referring to its 64-bit processor, and Nintendo dropped "Ultra" from the name on February 1, 1996, just five months before its Japanese debut.


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Super Nintendo Entertainment System Model 2 Screenshots
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Super Nintendo Entertainment System Model 2
Released October 01, 1997 for $99.00
By 1996, the 16-bit era of gaming had ended, and a new generation of consoles, including Nintendo's own Nintendo 64, caused the popularity of the SNES to wane. In October 1997, Nintendo released a redesigned SNES 2 in North America for $99 USD (which included the pack-in game Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island). Like the earlier NES 2, the new model was designed to be slimmer and lighter than its predecessor but lacked S-Video and RGB output, and would prove to be among the last major SNES-related releases in America.

Nintendo of America ceased production of the SNES in 1999. In Japan, the Super Famicom continued to be produced until September 2003 (also some new games were produced until the year 2000). In recent years, many SNES titles have been ported to the hand held Game Boy Advance, which has similar video capabilities. Some video game critics consider the SNES era "the golden age of video games," citing the many ground breaking games and classics made for the system, whereas others question this romanticism. See video game player for more.


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Nintendo 64 Pikachu Screenshots
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Nintendo 64 Pikachu
Released November 01, 2000 for $189.99
The Pokémon Pikachu Nintendo 64 had a large, yellow Pikachu model on a blue Nintendo 64. It has a different footprint than the standard Nintendo 64 console, and the Expansion Pak port is covered. It also shipped with a blue Pokémon controller; orange in Japan.


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Nintendo Game Cube Screenshots
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Nintendo Game Cube
Released November 2001
Unveiled during Spaceworld 2000, the Nintendo GameCube was widely anticipated by many who were shocked by Nintendo's decision to design the Nintendo 64 as a cartridge-based system. Physically shaped similar to a geometric cube, the outside casing of the Nintendo GameCube comes in a variety of colors, such as indigo, platinum, and black (also a limited edition Resident Evil 4 platinum and black game console).

The Nintendo GameCube uses a unique storage medium, the GameCube Optical Disc, a proprietary format based on Matsushita's optical-disc technology; the discs are approximately 8 centimeters (3 1/8 inches) in diameter (considerably smaller than the 12cm CDs or DVDs used in competitors' consoles), and the discs have a capacity of approximately 1.5 gigabytes. The disc is also read from the outer-most edge going inward, the opposite of a standard DVD. This move was mainly intended to prevent piracy of GCN titles, but like most anti-piracy technology, it was eventually cracked.


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Nintendo Wii Screenshots
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Nintendo Wii
Released November 2006
The console was known by the codename of "Revolution" until April 27, 2006, when it was renamed Wii, spelled with two "i"s to imply an image of players gathering together, as well as to represent the console's controllers. It is said Wii sounds like 'we', which emphasizes that the console is for everyone. Wii can easily be remembered by people around the world, no matter what language they speak. No confusion. No need to abbreviate. Just Wii"

The Wii Remote is a one-handed controller that uses a combination of accelerometers and infrared detection to sense its position in 3D space. This allows users to control the game using physical gestures as well as traditional button presses. The controller connects to the console using Bluetooth, and features force feedback, 4KB non-volatile memory and an internal speaker. Perhaps the most important of these devices is the Nunchuk unit, which features an accelerometer and a traditional analog stick with two trigger buttons. In addition, an attachable wrist strap can be used to prevent the player from unintentionally dropping or throwing the device.


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Nintendo Wii U Screenshots
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Nintendo Wii U
Released April 2012
On April 25, 2011, Nintendo released a statement officially announcing a system to succeed the Wii. They simultaneously announced that it would be released during 2012, and that playable console units would be present at E3 2011 (June 7–9)

A prototype version of Wii U was showcased at the E3 2011. The design of the console and controller were not definitive versions. The controller demonstrated features a touch screen over 6 inches wide and contains a built-in microphone, speakers, gyroscope, accelerometer, rumble and camera. Although it may look like a tablet, all processing is done on the console itself and the screen only supports single touch, not multitouch, going against a popular trend across the technology industry. Games that were confirmed are LEGO City Stories, a new Super Smash Bros. game, and a new Pikmin title. A list of third party titles was announced to be available at release, and were on show with video clips taken from PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 versions.

The Wii U is Nintendo's sixth home console and the first Nintendo console to produce 1080p high-definition graphics, and features a new controller with an embedded touchscreen. The controller allows a player to continue a gaming session by displaying the game even when the television is off. The system will be fully backwards compatible with Wii, and Wii U games can support compatibility with Wii peripherals, such as the Wii Remote, Wii MotionPlus, and Wii Balance Board. However, it will not be backward compatible with Nintendo GameCube media or peripherals.



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1970s Video Game Consoles | 1980s Video Game Consoles | 1990s Video Game Consoles | 2000 and Beyond
GameConsoles
Top 10 Game Consoles of All Time | 10 Game Consoles That Didn't Catch On | Game Console Clones
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Top Brands:Magnavox | Atari | Coleco | Mattel | Nintendo | Sega | Sony | Microsoft
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