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Nintendo’s Road to the NES

How a series of strange clone machines gave birth to the iconic Nintendo Entertainment System

Nintendo Beam Gun toy. Source:
Color TV-Game 6 console with packaging. This orange version is actually a “CTG-6V” model. The original released was in an off white colour as opposed to the bright orange seen here. Source: eBay.
CTG-6V (above) and CTG-6S (below). Source:
Nintendo Color TV-Game Block Kuzushi. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

“Throw away all your old ideas in order to come up with something new.”

Hiroshi Yamauchi

Although the Color TV-Game consoles opened the door to Nintendo’s later domination of the video game business, it’s fair to say that none of these machines became the massive blockbuster hit that company was hoping for. But they did demonstrate a few important points:

  • Nintendo could leverage existing microprocessor technology to develop novel entertainment applications.
  • Nintendo now had sufficient in-house engineering and manufacturing know-how to create its own dedicated entertainment machines.
Nintendo Famicom. Source: Wikimedia Commons.
Color TV-Game Block Kuzushi. Source: Wikimedia Commons.
Special thanks to David Sheff for his wonderful interviews with NCL and Before Mario/Wikimedia Commons for their fantastic image archives.



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