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Iwata Asks about development of the NES

JC Fletcher, @jcfletcher
October 7, 2010
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Indulging his inquiry habit, Nintendo president Satoru Iwata spoke with Masayuki Uemura, advisor to Nintendo's Research & Engineering Dept., and Hiroshi Imanishi, Ex-Director and GM, Corporate Communications Division, about their time working on the Famicom (NES) way back in 1981-82. The two veteran developers describe the impetus behind the decision to make the Famicom, the problems competing with Nintendo's own Game & Watch, and the lasting appeal of Super Mario Bros.

Uemura shared how the Famicom came to use its (at the time) unusual 6502 processor. A friend at Ricoh cold-called him and asked for help getting the factory's efficiency up. While working on that, Uemura consulted with Ricoh about processors, and told their engineers about his desire to make a console that could run Donkey Kong. " When I think about it now, I think I was spot-on in asking 'Can we make Donkey Kong?' rather than 'Can we make a circuit like this?'," Uemura said. "It seems like the engineers at Ricoh were starving for the challenge of working on some new technology. Even more important to them was the idea that if they worked at it, they could take Donkey Kong home! (laughs)"



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