You might be surprised to learn that Mario Bros. wasn't figured to be the original runaway hit for the NES system. When Nintendo of America first opened its doors in 1985, they had a very different idea of what games would appeal to American audiences. How different? Well, I think this vintage advertisement says it all:
In case you can't make out all those screenshots, the games shown are:
The original Light Gun showcase.
One of the few games to utilize the R.O.B accessory.
America's National Pastime!
Another state of the art Sports game in 1985!
The Light Gun Police-Training Simulator.
-Clu Clu Land
The only game on this list to feature authentic arcade styled gameplay.
It may seem strange that of all the Black Box titles that launched with the Nintendo, these six game were voted "most likely to succeed." However, in 1985 Atari was dying and most investors were saying that the home video game market was dead. In that context, the decisions made by Nintendo of America make a lot more sense. Games like Gyromite, Duck Hunt, and Hogan's Alley all showcased peripherals that no home console had ever used. I mean, a robot that would play games with you? Even today that sounds amazing! And while sports games were hardly new, Basebal and Golf were light-years ahead of anything that had been released by Atari at the time. They had state-of-the-art, HD graphics and unprecedented depth in gameplay!
Still, even with all of that in mind, looking back it feels weird to think the original all-star Nintendo lineup would have looked something like this:
Humble beginnings? Maybe. But let's be fair, hindsight is 20/20. And, I doubt anyone could have guessed just how phenomenally successful the NES would become.
How many of you owned these Nintendo Launch titles? How many of you still play Gyromite with your R.O.B? As always, I'd love to hear all your memories in the comments.
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