Nintendo Entertainment System (NES)
The Nintendo Entertainment System (abbreviated as NES) is an 8-bit video game console, which released in North America in 1985, and in Europe throughout 1986 and 1987. The console was initially released in Japan as the Family Computer (abbreviated as Famicom) in 1983. The best-selling gaming console of its time, the NES helped revitalize the US video game industry following the video game crash of 1983. With the NES, Nintendo introduced a now-standard business model of licensing third-party developers, authorizing them to produce and distribute games for Nintendo's platform. The NES was bundled with Super Mario Bros., one of the best-selling video games of all time, and received ports of Nintendo's most popular arcade games.
Nintendo also produced a limited run of the NES Classic Edition in 2016. The NES Classic System was a dedicated console modeled after an NES with 30 built-in classic first- and third-party games from the NES library. By the end of its production in April 2017, Nintendo shipped 2.3 million units.
The Super Nintendo Entertainment System (abbreviated as the Super NES or SNES) is a 16-bit video game console, which was released in North America in 1991, and in Europe in 1992. The console was initially released in Japan in 1990 as the Super Famicom, officially adopting the colloquially abbreviated name of its predecessor. The console introduced advanced graphics and sound capabilities compared with other consoles at the time. Soon, the development of a variety of enhancement chips which were integrated onto each new game cartridge's circuit boards, progressed the SNES's competitive edge.
While even crude three-dimensional graphics had previously rarely been seen on home consoles, the Super NES's enhancement chips suddenly enabled a new caliber of games containing increasingly sophisticated faux 3D effects as seen in 1991's Pilotwings and 1992's Super Mario Kart. Argonaut Games developed the Super FX chip in order to replicate 3D graphics from their earlier Atari ST and Amiga Starglider series on the Super NES (more specifically, Starglider 2), starting with Star Fox in 1993. The SNES is the best-selling console of the 16-bit era although having experienced a relatively late start and fierce competition from Sega's Mega Drive/Genesis console.
Released June 23, 1996, The Nintendo 64, commonly called the N64, and codenamed Ultra 64, was Nintendo's third home video game console for the international market. It was released with three launch games in Japan (Super Mario 64, Pilotwings 64 and Saikyo Habu Shogi) and two in North America (Super Mario 64 and Pilotwings 64). PAL regions also had three launch titles (Super Mario 64, Shadows of the Empire and Pilotwings 64) with Turok: Dinosaur Hunter delayed until three days after launch. Other key games included Donkey Kong 64, Diddy Kong Racing, Banjo-Kazooie, two games in The Legend of Zelda series, GoldenEye 007, Mario Kart 64, Super Smash Bros. and Star Fox 64. The Nintendo 64 sold 32.93 million systems.
The GameCube (officially called Nintendo GameCube, abbreviated NGC in Japan and GCN in North America) was released in 2001, in Japan and North America, and in 2002 worldwide. The sixth-generation console is the successor to the Nintendo 64 and competed with Sony's PlayStation 2, Microsoft's Xbox, and Sega's Dreamcast. The GameCube is the first Nintendo console to use optical discs as its primary storage medium. The discs are similar to the miniDVD format, but the system was not designed to play standard DVDs or audio CDs. Nintendo introduced a variety of connectivity options for the GameCube. The GameCube's game library has sparse support for Internet gaming, a feature that requires the use of the aftermarket Nintendo GameCube Broadband Adapter and Modem Adapter. The GameCube supports connectivity to the Game Boy Advance, allowing players to access exclusive in-game features using the handheld as a second screen and controller.
The Wii was released on November 19, 2006 as Nintendo's seventh-generation home console. Nintendo designed the console to appeal towards a wider audience than those of its main competitors, the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, including "casual" players and audiences that were new to video games.These aims were emphasized by the console's distinguishing feature, the Wii Remote—a handheld motion controller that can detect motion and rotation in three dimensions, using a mixture of internal sensors and infrared positioning. The controller includes an expansion port that can be used to connect other accessories, such as the Nunchuk—an attachment with an analog stick and additional buttons, a "Classic Controller" gamepad providing a traditional control scheme, and Wii MotionPlus—an accessory designed to enhance the motion detection capabilities of the original Wii Remote models.
The Wii U was released on November 18, 2012 as a direct successor to the Wii, and the first entry in the eighth generation of home video game consoles. The Wii U's distinguishing hardware feature is the GamePad, a tablet-like controller which contains a touchscreen that wirelessly streams a video output from the console. The GamePad's display can be used to provide alternative or complimentary perspectives within a game, or as the main display in lieu of a television. In particular, Nintendo promoted the concept of "asymmetric" multiplayer, where a player with the GamePad would have a different objective and perspective than that of other players. Alongside the GamePad, the Wii U supports Wii controllers and games. A conventional gamepad known as the Wii U Pro Controller was also released.The Wii U features more-extensive online functionality than the Wii, using the Nintendo Network platform; as with the Wii, it supports online multiplayer and downloading and purchasing new games and apps, but also allows video chat. It previously featured an internal social network known as Miiverse, which allowed users to write and draw posts in game-specific communities, the service was discontinued on November 8, 2017. Nintendo also attempted to provide second screen experiences for television programming for the Wii U through a feature known as Nintendo TVii, but it was discontinued outside of Japan in August 2015. Unlike the Wii, the Wii U's hardware is capable of high-definition graphics.
Game & Watch
The Game & Watch series were handheld electronic games made by Nintendo and created by its game designer Gunpei Yokoi from 1980 to 1991. Most featured a single game that could be played on an LCD screen, in addition to a clock and an alarm. Most titles had a "GAME A" and a "GAME B" button. Game B is usually a faster, more difficult version of Game A. Different models were manufactured, with some consoles having two screens (the Multiscreen Series) and a clam-shell design. The Nintendo DS later reused this design. The Game & Watch made handhelds vastly popular. Many toy companies followed in the footsteps of Game & Watch, such as Tiger Electronics and their Star Wars themed games. Nintendo's Game & Watch units were eventually superseded by the original Game Boy. Each Game & Watch was only able to play one game, due to the use of a segmented LCD display being pre-printed with an overlay. The speed and responsiveness of the games was also limited by the time it took the LCD to change state. The Game & Watch sold over 80 million units worldwide.
The Game Boy was the first handheld game console sold by Nintendo that featured interchangeable cartridges for each game, unlike the Game & Watch that had a different system for each game. Released in 1989 in Japan, it is one of the world's best-selling game console lines, with over 100 million units sold worldwide. The classic Game Boy was sold in a number of different revisions and variations, including the streamlined Game Boy Pocket and the Game Boy Light in Japan. In 1998, Nintendo released the Game Boy Color, a new Game Boy platform with color graphics. Combined, the Game Boy and Game Boy Color sold 118.69 million units worldwide.
Game Boy Color
In 1998, Nintendo introduced the Game Boy Color as the successor to the original Game Boy. It features a color screen and an 8-bit processor and a custom Zilog Z80 central processing unit. It was made to compete with the WonderSwan Color and the Neo Geo Pocket. Its best selling game was Pokémon Gold and Silver series.
Game Boy Advance
In 2001, Nintendo introduced the Game Boy Advance, the first major technological upgrade to the Game Boy line. Nintendo later released two revised models of the Game Boy Advance, the Game Boy Advance SP and the Game Boy Micro. The Game Boy Advance SP features a smaller clamshell deign, and introduced a built-in screen light and rechargeable battery which became standard features for future Nintendo handhelds. The Game Boy Micro is an even smaller variant with interchangeable designer faceplates. The three Game Boy Advance models have sold 81.51 million units worldwide.
The Nintendo DS (abbreviated NDS, DS, or the full name Nintendo Dual Screen, and iQue DS in China) is a handheld game console developed and manufactured by Nintendo, released in 2004. It is visibly distinguishable by its horizontal clamshell design, and the presence of two displays, the lower of which acts as a touchscreen. The system also has a built-in microphone and supports wireless IEEE 802.11 (Wi-Fi) standards, allowing players to interact with each other within short range (10–30 meters, depending on conditions) or over the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection service via a standard Wi-Fi access point. According to Nintendo, the letters "DS" in the name stand for "Developers' System" and "Double Screen", the former of which refers to the features of the handheld designed to encourage innovative gameplay ideas among developers. The system was known as "Project Nitro" during development.
Although the name and look of the device are similar to that of the DS series, the Nintendo 3DS (or shortly 3DS) is the successor to the DS and a brand new console. It contains three cameras, two on the outside (for 3D photographs) and one internal one above the top screen. The bottom screen is a touch screen comparable to the DS bottom screens, and the top screen is Wide Screen and an autostereoscopic 3D LCD. Autostereoscopy is a process that sends different images to the left and right eyes to enable the viewer to view the screen in 3D "without the need for special glasses". The 3DS is said to enhance Nintendo's online experience. In 2012, the 3DS XL was released, similar to the change between the DSi and DSi XL. It has 90% larger screens and design changes such as a matte finish and the stylus in a more accessible area. The 2DS was released on October 12, 2013. It is a variant designed to be affordable without the clamshell design or 3D capabilities of the 3DS. Another redesign, the New Nintendo 3DS, was released in Japan in October 2014, Australia for November 2014, and everywhere else in February 2015. It includes a C-Stick, ZR and ZL shoulder buttons, and a faster CPU, allowing for more software specifically for the New Nintendo 3DS (such as Xenoblade Chronicles 3D). Like the original 3DS, the New Nintendo 3DS also has an XL form. As of December 31, 2013, Nintendo has sold 42.74 million units, including 15.21 million Nintendo 3DS XLs and 2.11 million Nintendo 2DS units.