Can you hear that? That familiar song bleep blooping its way from buzzing screen of a tube TV and into your heart? Why it’s Happy Birthday pitch bending out of an NES, glitching out a fanfare for its 3rd decade on this planet! The Famicom, known as the Nintendo Entertainment System in the United States, premiered in Japan 30 years ago today. In honor of the Nintendo’s 30th birthday, we’ll be posting about the legendary console and its incredible lineup of games all week. So stay tuned!
Happy 30th, Famicom, and thanks for all the fun. Here’s a bit from a great Japan Times piece about the anniversary below, and be sure to check out the video below it for a fitting birthday tribute!
On July 15, 1983, Kyoto-based Nintendo Co. launched the Family Computer video game console, or “Famicom.” Priced at ¥14,800, more than 63 million units of the iconic white, red and gold machine were sold worldwide, laying the foundations for today’s gaming industry.
The original Famicom had an 8-bit CPU that ran at a speed of 1.79 Mhz and 2 kilobytes of RAM. To put it in perspective, Sony’s PlayStation 3 has 256 megabytes of RAM — 100,000 times more than the Famicom.
Some of the Famicom’s signature character designs stemmed from the limitations of the hardware. The big challenge for game creators was to draw a character in as few pixels as possible, Shigeru Miyamoto, an executive at Nintendo who began as a designer, has said.
Most of the characters were given large faces and big noses to make it easier to distinguish them. To lessen the need to program facial movements, Miyamoto came up with the idea of adding a beard to the main character. The completed image was thought to resemble an Italian man. Hence, one of his most famous creations was named Mario, Miyamoto said.
[Via: Japan Times]