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Greatest Video Game Console of All Time: The Nintendo

VO: DP WRITTEN BY: Briana Lawrence
Greatest Video Game Console of All Time: The Nintendo To say that the video game industry has come a long way is the understatement of the century. Beyond the graphical enhancements, we’re in an age where video games have become award winning forms of entertainment. Encompassing all forms of media, video games provide powerful storytelling elements, remarkable characters, fantastic music, and, of course, gameplay that takes you to another world. And that’s just the games themselves. The industry as a whole has evolved exponentially throughout the years. Indie developers, YouTubers, and Virtual reality are capturing the hearts and minds of entire generations. The future and its possibilities are endless
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Greatest Console of All Time: Nintendo Entertainment System



To say that the video game industry has come a long way is the understatement of the century. Beyond the graphical enhancements, we’re in an age where video games have become award winning forms of entertainment. Encompassing all forms of media, video games provide powerful storytelling elements, remarkable characters, fantastic music, and, of course, gameplay that takes you to another world. And that’s just the games themselves. The industry as a whole has evolved exponentially throughout the years. Indie developers, YouTubers, and Virtual reality are capturing the hearts and minds of entire generations. The future and its possibilities are endless.



And we owe it all to the little 8-bit console that could: the NES.



Believe it or not, there was a time when the gaming industry was suffering. Badly. Imagine an E3 sales presentation that reveals low sales for a console. The company will either continue to attempt to support it, or let it die and launch something better, and maybe even keep some elements of the failed console. Now imagine that scenario, but with every game company at the same time. In the early 80s, consoles were released one after another in an attempt to resuscitate the industry, but all it did was create fatigue among consumers. There were too many options, not enough quality games, and eventually, it just died.



That’s what the NES was up against when it was released in 1985.



Somehow, it succeeded, and gave a 1UP mushroom to the video game industry.





But let’s step away from that narrative for a moment. Breathing new life into a dying market is, of course, admirable. However, that’s not the only reason we love the NES. It was a fresh start not only for consoles, but for developers, as several iconic studios hit the ground running during the NES’ hay day. Capcom brought us a super fighting robot and even put a grouchy, wealthy duck on the moon. Konami introduced us to gaming’s best vampire hunter, then later, threw us into the depths of the jungle, armed with spread shots and kick ass music. And let’s not forget a certain studios’ “final” fantasy. These developers -- and many others -- used the NES to reintroduce consumers to gaming, fleshing out the genres they’d become exhausted with.


They did more than provide entertaining gameplay, they created iconic characters that would stay with us beyond the NES. Instead of offering something you’d put down and forget about after you reached the end goal, they created titles with staying power. From HD remasters, to gaming bundles, to playing the latest instalment in the adventures of Mario, Link, or Samus... these sentiments aren't just exclusive to Nintendo. We’re excited to finally have a new Mega Man adventure, and Netflix, when are we getting some more Castlevania?



Then there’s the consoles that came after the NES, which probably wouldn’t be here without the NES paving the way. After the video game crash, the NES’ success was like a beacon: it was ok to invest in video games again. Companies that would become their fiercest competitors stepped up with their own consoles and characters. This created a market that was no longer oversaturated with lackluster devices and games. That’s not to say everything in gaming has been perfect, but we’ve certainly had better options than we did in the early 80s. Because of the NES, people were willing to try their hand at creating something better -- and they succeeded, time and time again, whether it was through exclusives, or games that were available on multiple platforms.





Even if games aren’t being developed for the NES anymore, people are actually still playing it. We mentioned that the characters and games born from the NES have had staying power for decades, but honestly? The console has, too. People went insane when the NES Classic was announced, as it brought about memories of Saturday morning cartoons, cereal, and having your mind blown when you ducked behind the stage in Super Mario Bros. 3 . While there aren’t a lot of games that have aged gracefully, and some are just plain inexcusable, there’s something about the NES that just gets us excited about gaming.


For many, it’s the first console they ever owned, whether it was in their own home or at that one friend’s house, you know, the one who had the NES, the light gun, and the running pad? It feels like there’s still something to discover with the console. Maybe we can beat the level faster, or finally conquer that last level in Ninja Gaiden. Even with the heavy hitters in the gaming industry, there’s still something so quaint about the NES that we find ourselves revisiting it over and over -- and being overjoyed when other games pay homage to its retro style.





The NES wasn’t the first gaming console, and you can even argue that it wasn’t the first to do gaming well, as many players enjoyed its predecessors before the industry crash. But to us, it was the first to really show the potential video games had to offer. Video games were suddenly telling stories and allowing us to go on epic adventures. They were offering incredible soundtracks and challenges that made us strategize our next move.



Yes, the NES saved the video game industry, but it did so much more than that. It was a fresh start in an oversaturated market and the rebirth of the medium as a whole. It gave rise to the industry and was the biggest step toward making it as celebrated as it is now. While the debate on what console is the best is one we’ll have for years to come, it’s hard to deny that the greatest of all time is the gray and black brick-house that is the NES.
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