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Nintendo's Famicom turns 30: a look back at the console that saved gaming

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Without Nintendo's Famicom there would be no NES. And without the NES, chances are, the video game industry as we know it would never have existed. It's hard to appreciate history while you're living it, but thirty years ago today on July 15, 1983, Nintendo's Japan-only Family Computer debuted and set off a domino effect that would make video games a global, billion-dollar industry and rank Nintendo as synonymous with gaming itself. Rather than look back with the rosy tint we have for the NES' early days, Ars Technica's gone the informed route to celebrate the system's anniversary. From a condensed account of the console's origins (i.e., failed Atari distribution deal, revised prototypes, soft US launch in 1985) to a walkthrough of the silicon circuitry and hardware add-ons (like the Famicom Disk System and Modem) that only saw the light of day in Japan, the retrospective covers all the bases of gaming's golden era. There's a whole lot more Nintendo trivia packed into the retrospective (did you know the original Famicom's controllers had inbuilt mics?), so be sure to check it out and pour one out for that famous grey box.

Lead Image: iFixit

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