The Nintendo Entertainment System, also known as the NES, revived the dying gaming-console market when it hit the United States in early 1986. The original gaming system was offered in two bundles. The cheapest package, at $199, featured a set of controllers and the Super Mario Bros. game. The $249 set came with a lightgun, R.O.B. (Robotic Operating Buddy), Duck Hunt, and Gyromite, a game played with the R.O.B.

Thanks to 8-bit technology, the days of blocky graphics on an all-black screen, which described the experience of playing on an Atari system, were gone. Games like Super Mario Bros. and the Legend of Zelda had vividly imagined worlds that could be explored for hours and hours on end. Other games like Punch-Out!! and Tetris were more simple but just as addictive. Nintendo shipped more than 62 million consoles by the early ’90s and ruled the market with tight control over licensing, advertising, and pricing.

In the early 1990s, new 16-bit technology threatened the NES, so Nintendo responded with the Super NES, launched in 1991. By 1995, the original NES was considered so outdated it was discontinued.


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