Happy 30th, Nintendo Famicom: Maybe You Didn’t Save the Industry, but You Set the High-Water Mark

Posted: July 16, 2013 in Test Equipment


You’ll read a lot about the U.S. video games industry’s financial nosedive in 1983, as if that crash — when U.S. consumers walked away from a glut of lackluster games and billions of dollars in revenue evaporated — almost killed gaming in its cradle. But for Nintendo, gaming might have gone the way of Tupperware parties, shell suits and fondue.

That’s a shortsighted way of viewing the past: Industries wax and wane, and technology has a way of circumventing financial downturns. Computer technology was always bound to revolutionize a global, millennia-long obsession with play. If not Nintendo’s Famicom, something else would have emerged, and though gaming’s grammar would parse differently in a world without the company Hiroshi Yamauchi transformed, we’d still have one, just as we’d still have arrived at printed books and longer lasting incandescent light bulbs without Gutenberg or Edison.

But give Nintendo its well-earned due: When Masayuki…

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