So instead of finding the NES next to your other PCs at the time, it was near the toy aisle?
I don't have a specific source for this, besides some memory of podcasts and articles touching on the topic throughout the years.
Anyone who maybe was able to witness the revival able to comment with their anecdotes?
Nintendo also didn't try to oversell the systems capabilities or the games, which was a big problem with the marketing materials for older games and game systems.
They also limited 3rd party companies ability to make games for the system (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CIC_(Nintendo)#10NES) to ensure a certain degree of quality. That's also the origin of the gold Nintendo Seal.
The NES also had Super Mario Bros as a launch title in the US and that game holds up incredibly well to this day. It was truly a big leap in video game design, especially considering games like Ms Pacman and Donkey Kong Jr. were winning Best Game awards in magazines the year before the NES launched.
Lastly, the Light Gun and Duck Hunt were also big system sellers. As far as I know, no other console had an experience like that and much like the Wii and the DS, gimmicks like that are very popular among people who don't play a lot of traditional video games.
You should also consider the velocity that Nintendo launched into the console industry with. A year after the NES came out, The Legend of Zelda came out which was another giant leap in game design and the first home console game to allow you to save your progress. Two years after that Super Mario Bros. 3 came out which was an absolutely massive leap over the first Super Mario Bros. A year after that they launch the GameBoy and suddenly you can play Super Mario Land on the go.
Nintendo was responsible for a lot of innovation in a very short amount of time.
They're constantly bringing new stuff to the table, so even though each iteration of Mario might not be that far off from the previous one design-wise, you're approaching it in a completely fresh way.
I find it amusing that their long and innovative history also includes things like selling instant rice, their own "love hotels" for people to use with prostitutes, and a taxi company in the time after their playing card business declined but before their video game business took off.
"Nintendo" could mean something very different today had certain parts of their business performed differently.
Well, even if one wanted to, a marketing exec really couldn't advertise Nintendo NES as a "general computer" since it had no keyboard nor ability to connect a disk drive and printer. The "toy" aspect was an intrinsic property of NES (the "E" in Nintendo _E_ntertainment System) rather than a marketing angle. Therefore, its focus on gaming dictated the type of commercials you could run to advertise it.
From what I remember, the Nintendo NES was the first console where the quality of the games closely matched the real arcade versions. Donkey Kong was a prime example. The NES version looked, sounded, and played like the real thing. (This wasn't true arcade games licensed & ported to Commodore 64, Intellivision, Atari, etc.)
The combination of low price point with higher quality games I think were the key factors for its success.
This was a conscience choice by Nintendo of America though. The Japanese counterpart of the NES has the hardware and software capabilities of a computer, like a disk and cassette recorder, BASIC, and a keyboard. These were never released in the US.
There was a lot of entrepreneurial game development in this period, and a lot of really bad games. The market was saturated, the quality was not nearly as high as during the coin-op prime, not enough revenues were being recovered by the major players, and the market collapsed soon after '83. The market seemed to move past games. Computers like the Mac were released.
Only one company seemed to be quietly persevering with a steady stream of quality titles: Nintendo.
> Anyone who maybe was able to witness the revival able to comment with their anecdotes?
That is NOT my recollection. I bought my Atari games from the same isle I bought my NES games from at Toys R Us (obviously in different years).
I think there is truth that game console marketing shifted into its own more toy like thing, distinct from computers, but I think that shift was already underway by the heyday of the 2600. I remember an entire display of just video games (2600, ColecoVision, and others), which was separate from other software, computers, and the consoles.
With the Toys R Us closure, I wrote an article about my memories of Toys R Us and The Great Video Game crash (and recovery) that tries to fill in for people what living through the crash actually felt like.
Outside of the console market, between the 2600 and the NES, there was growth in gaming on personal computers, but it was driven by floppy pirating. I'm not sure there was a lot of profit there.
Yes, but chances were good that you were shopping for a computer in a small department store anyway, so it was all a short walk to the bedding and appliances sections. I don't know that they were marketed as toys so much as their primary market was kids.
Toys-R-Us had a pretty good selection of gaming consoles, plus the C64 and C128. No Amiga though. The boxes would show Dad fiddling with a mortgage calculator, then another picture of the family watching as the kids played a game.
Yes... that's why the NES originally came with a toy robot and was sold as an "entertainment system" rather than a "video game console."