Every Nintendo console, and when it came out
For many older game enthusiasts, the Nintendo brand has been the go-to gaming company since post-Atari. From before the original Nintendo to the advent of 3D gameplay, Nintendo is constantly bringing unique ideas, game theories and innovations to the industry. Nintendo may not bring the most power to the console wars, but it’s impossible to entirely discredit them on that basis.
Related: Every Xbox console and its release date
Color Game Show (1977)
Color TV gaming is often overlooked by the Nintendo Entertainment System in discussions of Nintendo’s first console, but the clunky monstrosity was absolutely first. Each console could only play one game and, as the title implied, all hardware parts had a strong color. Although it was a commercial success for Nintendo upon release, the names of the software titles left a lot to the imagination. This system had a total of five titles, each shipped as a separate console:
- Color TV Game 6
- Color TV Game 15
- Racing 112 Color TV Game
- Computer TV-Game
- Kusure color TV block
Nintendo Entertainment System (1985)
Emboldened by its successes with previous consoles, Nintendo hatched a bold plan: an international release of a console that could change titles with cartridges, much like Atari and Intellivision had proposed and succeeded. The NES was released in Japan as the Famicom (a family computer portmanteau) and revitalized the gaming industry after the game crash of 1983, usually associated with the release of the Atari 2600 ET. The 8-bit system offered a litany of titles ranging from Super Mario Bros. to Dragon Quest 3, and became an international gaming icon.
Super Nintendo Entertainment System (1991)
The Super Nintendo Entertainment System, known as the Super Famicom in Japan, marked Nintendo’s entry into the 16-bit era. Originally behind the Sega Genesis, the SNES eventually overtook all other consoles of its era with the instant hit, Super Mario Kart. Nintendo tried to generate interest in the SNES by selling it with various boxes and under different names such as Super Famicom Jr.
Much like with the Game Boy, Nintendo attributed the success of the Super Nintendo Entertainment System to its wide range of third-party titles. The Super NES was a fascinating era in gaming history as it began the console wars in earnest, with Sega and Nintendo both releasing various advertisements against each other. Congressional hearings on whether video games cause violence also began around this time, thanks to Sega’s Night Trap and Mortal Kombat, the latter eventually being ported to the SNES uncensored after consumer pressure.
Virtual Boy (1995)
The Virtual Boy was a portable console that simulated a 3D effect and was produced for a singular year. This console is one of the few financial failures of Nintendo consoles, exacerbated by reported eye strain and user headaches. The monochromatic red and black was a decisive step back from what gamers expected in a post-Super NES era, and consumer hesitation resulted in a lack of titles (14 in total) for the system.
Nintendo 64 (1996)
The Nintendo 64 (or N64), called Comboy 64 in its South Korean release, was Nintendo’s 64-bit console that stunned gamers with the fully realized 3D worlds of Super Mario 64 and The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. . Codenamed Project Reality, the N64 used cartridges for its games, rather than the popularized CDs, which turned some studios away. The cartridges were more expensive to produce, could not hold as much data, and Nintendo was the sole manufacturer. This point of contention between Nintendo and third parties, however, would not be enough to slow down the steam of the Nintendo 64.
The Nintendo 64 was the first 64-bit console capable of four-player gameplay, and it capitalized on this aspect with several party-style games such as Super Smash Bros, Mario Kart 64, and GoldenEye 007. The Nintendo 64 is notable as having one of the weirdest controller setups in mainstream consoles, one that users took a bit of getting used to. Despite its status, the original PlayStation surpassed it in units sold.
Nintendo GameCube (2001)
Nintendo’s penchant for redesigning the classic controller layout continued with the Nintendo GameCube, codenamed Dolphin during development until its reveal in 2000. The GameCube is an important part of Nintendo’s history, as this is one of the singular cases where Nintendo has moved away from cartridges in favor of CDs. As is Nintendo tradition, these were not classic CDs, but rather smaller 8cm discs, which meant the GameCube was unable to play movies.
The C stick on the right side was placed in favor of the C buttons found on the Nintendo 64 with analog inputs. This system was the third best-selling video game console for Nintendo, behind only the Wii U and Virtual Boy. The Xbox and PlayStation 2 were far stiffer competition than Sega had offered in the past, and Nintendo credits the Game Boy Advance with keeping profits going in those days.
Panasonic Q (2001)
The Panasonic Q is less well known than the GameCube, but it was an important exploration for Nintendo. From a relationship with Panasonic, the Panasonic Q was able to play DVDs and audio CDs that the GameCube could not. This was only released in Japan, but it could be edited by hobbyists to read media outside the region, making it a popular article for enthusiasts. The Panasonic ultimately sold less than 100,000 units, despite its high-end features such as Dolby Digital 5.1 ports, and was discontinued two years after its release.
The Wii was Nintendo’s fifth major home console and was released in competition with the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. This console took Nintendo’s habit of thinking outside the box and expanding it – major controls consisted of into a motion-based Wii Remote and connecting analog stick. , called Nunchuk, to be held in the other hand. These motion controls might initially be confusing to veteran gamers, but were intuitive to many others, reflecting Nintendo’s strategy of approaching people who may have never played a game before.
The Wii was named as the two i’s at the end were to symbolize two gamers enjoying the platform in tandem. The name was initially frowned upon by consumers, but was pronounced the same in all languages, which facilitated access to foreign markets. Again, Nintendo made moves towards backwards compatibility with the Wii Virtual Console, allowing several games to be downloaded and played on the Wii. Two of the top three selling games for this system were Wii Sports and Wii Sports Resort.
Wii Home Edition (2011)
The second model in the Wii family, the Wii Family Edition, came with improved motion sensors in the controller and did not work with GameCube accessories. This step back in applied technologies meant that some Wii titles that required the GameCube controller would not work properly on the Home Edition, although this was a particularly rare situation.
Wii U (2012)
The Wii U was another step into uncharted territory for the industry as a whole, although this time Nintendo was unrewarded for its attempts to buck convention. The Wii U was the lowest-selling home console, not including the Virtual Boy, as Nintendo considered it a portable device. With a touchscreen tablet that served as an information center and controller, the Wii U was almost fully backwards compatible with Wii accessories.
The asymmetrical interaction of the controller/tablet hybrid and what was happening on TV might be shocking to some, despite the Sega Dreamcast having similar functionality. In 2015, Nintendo stated that it intended to pull the unit from the South American and South African markets, with many noting this as a sign that the console was not moving well enough.
Wii Mini (2012)
The Wii Mini was basically a Wii, stripped down to its most essential components. At a price of $100, this console had a production run of five years. Still, the core components of the Wii were still more than enough to satisfy most who had yet to jump into the motion-controlled fray with this third iteration of the original Wii. Where the Wii had an opening for discs in the front of the console, the Wii Mini had a top hatch that opened and allowed the discs to be put in.
NES Classic Edition (2016)
The NES Classic was a successful brainchild of Nintendo, launching the classic Nintendo Entertainment System with 30 popular games for the title. Avoiding the standard ports of the original NES, the NES Classic Edition offered Wii-like ports for classic Nintendo controllers. A small series of this platform was planned and two million units were sold. Nintendo has announced that the platform will return to stores when its limited time ends.
Nintendo Switch (2017)
The Nintendo Switch is a unique hybrid console, capable of running on both handheld and standard consoles. Launched in competition with the Xbox One X and the PlayStation 4 Pro, the Switch has managed to carve out a place for itself. The Nintendo Switch doesn’t offer the level of power of Microsoft’s and Sony’s platforms, but it was able to reach an audience with its unique IPs, handheld gaming console, and reinvented controllers.
The Nintendo Switch has fully embraced the idea of charging users for connecting their consoles to the internet with this platform. The service is called Nintendo Switch Online, and it’s the cheapest of the three main consoles at around $20 on an annual basis. Online access also features classic titles from the NES and SNES eras.
Classic Edition Super Nintendo Entertainment System (2017)
As Nintendo noted the success of the NES Classic Edition, the Super Nintendo Entertainment System Classic Edition (SNESCE) was to eventually follow. While the NES Classic Edition offered 30 titles, the SNESCE comes with 20 built-in titles, including the unreleased Starfox 2. Technically, the SNESCE outsold the NESCE with five million, but many more SNESCEs were made after Nintendo noted that the NESCE was in trouble. to answer the question.