Nintendo Entertainment System

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It has been requested that this article be rewritten. Reason: Needs general reorganization

Not to be confused with Nintendo Switch, abbreviated as NS.
"NES" redirects here. It is not to be confused with Ness.
This article is about the first Nintendo console outside Japan. For the treasure from Wario World, see List of treasures in Wario World#Greenhorn Ruins.
Nintendo Entertainment System
The NES model 1.
Generation Third generation
Release date Nintendo Entertainment System:
USA October 18, 1985
South Korea October 18, 1985
Europe September 1, 1986
Australia July 1, 1987
NES Classic Edition:
Australia November 10, 2016[1]
USA November 11, 2016
Europe November 11, 2016
Discontinued USA August 14, 1995
Europe 1995
Ratings NES Classic Edition:
ESRB:ESRB E10+.svg - Everyone 10+
PEGI:PEGI 7.svg - Seven years and older
ACB:ACB PG.svg - Parental Guidance
USK:USK 12.svg - Twelve years and older
Predecessor Color TV-Game
Successor Super Nintendo Entertainment System
“Now you're playing with power!”
Advertisement slogan for the NES
The logo for the Nintendo Entertainment System

The Nintendo Entertainment System (abbreviated as NES) is a third-generation home video game console created by Nintendo as the western counterpart of the Family Computer (also known as the Famicom). It was released in the United States and South Korea on October 18, 1985; Europe on September 1, 1986; and Australia on July 1, 1987. The original model of the system is a complete redesign of the Famicom, featuring a gray and white color scheme, a covered slot on the front where cartridges are slid into, and detachable controllers. The system contributed to revitalizing the American video game industry following the video game crash of 1983, due to its software quality control through the Official Nintendo Seal of Quality and toy-like peripherals.[2] Combined, the NES and Famicom sold 61.91 million units before being discontinued in 1995.[3][4] The system vastly outsold competitor video game consoles, such as the Sega Master System and the Atari 7800, as well as home computers such as the Commodore 64.[5]

The Nintendo Entertainment System was bundled with Super Mario Bros., resulting in it being the console's most successful game. For decades, Super Mario Bros. was the highest-selling video game ever, with 40.23 million copies sold, until Nintendo packaged Wii Sports with the Wii. Eventually, Super Mario Bros. 3 was released in the United States, and it became an instant hit, making 500 million dollars in less than twenty-four hours.[citation needed]

In America, the NES was sold in three packages:

  • Control Deck: Contained the console, two controllers, the Super Mario Bros. cartridge, and the needed connections.
  • Action Set: This set included the console, two controllers, the Super Mario Bros./Duck Hunt cartridge, the NES Zapper, and the connections.
  • Power Set: The most complete package, it contained the console, two controllers, a Super Mario Bros./Duck Hunt/World Class Track Meet cartridge, the Zapper, the Power Pad, and the connections.


The NES's Ricoh 2A03 (top) and a regular stock MOS 6502 (bottom). The NES uses a 6502 based processor.
The NES's Picture Processing Unit video processor.

The NES/Famicom hardware consists of 2 kilobytes of onboard RAM, a custom second source MOS Technology 6502 based processor (called the Ricoh 2A03 in NTSC regions and the 2A07 in the PAL regions) which has a built-in sound generator on-chip and is used as the main processor. The Ricoh 2A03/2A07 contains 5 channels of sound: 1 triangle channel, 2 square wave channels, 1 noise channel, and 1 DPCM channel for playing samples from memory. The Ricoh 2A03/2A07 is essentially the same as a regular 6502, but with the binary code decimal mode removed.

The video generator hardware is the Picture Processing Unit (PPU) (Ricoh 2C02 "NTSC"/Ricoh 2C07 "PAL") which is responsible for generating the sprites and background images onscreen. Graphical capabilities, extended RAM, and even sound capabilities can be expanded with the use of memory mappers like the MMC2, 3, 4, 5, and Konami VRC6 among other mappers. For instance, the MMC5 adds 2 extra pulse wave channels and another Raw PCM channel in addition to the main 2A03/2A07 channels; the Konami VRC6 adds a sawtooth wave channel and 2 extra square waves and the VRC7 adds FM Synthesis capabilities which are based on the Yamaha YM2413 OPLL FM Synthesizer and are a derivative of the OPLL chip.

The only 2 Super Mario games that use memory mappers are Super Mario Bros. 2 and Super Mario Bros. 3 with the MMC3 mapper being used. The only Mario cameo appearance that uses memory mappers is Mike Tyson's Punch-Out!! with the MMC2 being used, which is also the only NES game that uses that particular mapper.

An expansion port is located underneath the console. However, no accessories were used for it. Although the Famicom Disk System was planned for a North American release and if released it would have used the Expansion Port. However, the redesigned NES-101 Top Loader model lacks the expansion port entirely.

Biederman Design Labs Research & Development was working on a handheld NES console called the Nintendo Express, but it never got released. Almost no screenshots were taken of it.[6] On the source video's comment section, a YouTuber by the name of Rick Gordon said he worked with Paul Biederman on occasion. He also said there was a version that had a crosspad. He went on to say that Paul went directly to Nintendo, who would not approve of the system, due to the upcoming Game Boy. He lastly said that because of this, Biederman Design Labs went to Galoob who looked at it, but the toy company did not want to enter another legal fight with Nintendo.


NES Controller[edit]

The NES Controller.
The later "dogbone" version of the NES controller which is included with the NES-101 Top Loader models.

The NES controller is the basic controller that comes with the console. It has four buttons and a directional pad on a brick-shaped case. A Button and B Button are stationed on the right with the Start Button and Select Button in the middle. The D-pad, first used on the Game & Watch to replace bulky joysticks, are on the left of the controller.

There were various versions of the NES controller. Nintendo released the NES Max and the NES Advantage, the latter of which had a "slow" button and both of which featured "turbo" buttons which, when held, would represent a button being pressed repeatedly. Nintendo later released a different form of the NES, which used a "dog-bone" design instead of the brick design, which looked a lot like Super Nintendo Entertainment System controllers. This design combines elements of the Game Boy and the Super Nintendo Entertainment System controller.

Unlike the Famicom, the NES does not have any audio controls (volume slider and microphone) on the second controller. Instead, the Start Button and Select Button buttons are available on both controllers, making those practically identical. Another difference is that the NES' controllers can be extracted, while the Famicom's cannot.

NES Zapper[edit]

The gray NES Zapper.
The orange NES Zapper.

The NES Zapper was a light gun accessory used for only a small number of games, the most notable one being Duck Hunt. The first version of the Zapper to release was the gray one, but since a soldier mistook it for a real gun,[7] Nintendo re-released it in orange.

The Zapper is also used in Duck Hunt's moveset in Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS / Wii U and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, although since the character wielding the light gun is never seen in-game, its only real appearance is in the character reveal trailer for Duck Hunt in Super Smash Bros for Nintendo 3DS / Wii U.

Power Glove[edit]

The NES Power Glove.

The Power Glove was a handheld glove controller that used hand movements as a controller via conductive ink. It also had a keypad that defaulted certain buttons to certain hand movements. Under it featured the normal buttons on the NES controller. It sold poorly and was criticized for being imprecise. It was featured in the movie The Wizard.


Main article: R.O.B.

Cleaning Kit[edit]

Featuring Mario.

Over time, pins inside the NES and game cartridges would get dirty. Nintendo released an approved cleaning kit to improve the condition of the contacts so games would play without interruption.

NES Classic Edition[edit]

The NES Classic Edition
Main article: Classics § NES Classic Edition

Announced on July 14, 2016, the NES Classic Edition (known as the Nintendo Classic Mini: Nintendo Entertainment System in Europe and Australia) is a smaller version of the Nintendo Entertainment System and the first entry to the Classics series. It was released in Australia on November 10, 2016, and in the Americas and Europe on November 11, 2016.[8] Unlike the original NES, the NES Classic Edition does not support cartridges, but rather features 30 games pre-installed, including Super Mario games such as Super Mario Bros., Donkey Kong, and Dr. Mario. A version for the Japanese Family Computer, the Nintendo Classic Mini: Family Computer, was released in Japan on the same day and includes a slightly different software line-up than the NES Classic Edition.

The NES Classic Edition was discontinued on April 2017,[9] but resumed production in Summer 2018.[10] On June 26, 2017, a successor was announced in the form of the SNES Classic Edition.[11]

Game gallery[edit]

Please note that this gallery also includes Japan-only Family Computer games.


Appearances in the Super Mario franchise[edit]

Super Smash Bros. Melee
  • At the beginning of the The Super Mario Bros. Super Show! episode "Mama Mia Mario", as Mario and Luigi are relaxing in front of the TV, Luigi is seen holding an NES controller.
  • The NES appears as one of Wario's treasures in Wario World.
  • 9-Volt has an NES in WarioWare: Twisted!
  • An NES controller appears as one of the tokens in the 2006 and 2007 versions of Nintendo Monopoly.
  • In Super Paper Mario, one of Francis's protected rooms has an NES, along with various other Nintendo consoles.
  • In Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle, the design on the carpet in the Genius Girl's room is based on the NES controller.
  • Though the console itself does not appear in Super Mario Odyssey, one of the filters that are available for use in Snapshot Mode is the graphics style of the NES.
  • LEGO Nintendo Entertainment System, a LEGO version of the system created as part of the LEGO Super Mario partnership, was released on August 1, 2020. The set also features a Super Mario Bros. cartridge as well as a television "playing" the game and is compatible with the Mario figure from the Mario Starter Course set.[12]
  • In The Super Mario Bros. Movie, Mario owns an NES in his apartment and is seen playing Kid Icarus on the console. The Toad at the antique store asks about an NES cartridge, to which the clerk tells them to blow into it, referencing a popular real-life method to cause a cartridge to work properly.

Names in other languages[edit]

Language Name Meaning
Japanese ファミリーコンピュータ
Famirī Konpyūta
Family Computer

Korean 현대 컴보이
Hyeondae Keomboi
Hyundai Comboy
Spanish (NOA) Nintendo Entertainment System
Spanish (NOE) Sistema de Entretenimiento de Nintendo Nintendo Entertainment System


  1. ^ Nintendo AU NZ. (July 14, 2016). Nintendo Classic Mini announcement. Twitter. Retrieved July 14, 2016.
  2. ^ Gardner, Matt. (October 18, 2020). It’s Been 35 Years Since Nintendo Changed Western Gaming Forever. Forbes. Retrieved December 4, 2021.
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^ Ferrell, Keith. (July 1989). Just Kids' Play or Computer in Disguise?. Computer Magazine. p. 28. Retrieved December 4, 2021.
  6. ^ Evil Pixel (February 22, 2017). Unreleased Consoles | Nintendo Express YouTube. Retrieved March 4, 2020.
  7. ^
  8. ^ Nintendo. (July 14, 2016). Nintendo Classic Mini: Nintendo Entertainment System. Nintendo UK. Retrieved July 14, 2016.
  9. ^ Otero, Jose (April 13, 2017). Nintendo Discontinues the NES Classic Edition IGN. Retrieved March 4, 2020.
  10. ^ McFerran, Damien (September 12, 2017). Nintendo Is Resurrecting The NES Classic Mini And Increasing SNES Classic Inventory. Nintendo Life. Retrieved March 4, 2020.
  11. ^ Nintendo. Super Nintendo Entertainment System Classic Edition. Retrieved March 4, 2020.
  12. ^ Nintendo (July 14, 2020). LEGO Nintendo Entertainment System: Now you're playing with power...and bricks. YouTube. Retrieved July 14, 2020.