The Top Ten Most Influential Video Game Consoles of All Time

The Top Ten Most Influential Video Game Consoles of All Time

  • By: CM Boots-Faubert
  • Posted 21st Dec 2011

(4) Nintendo -- Nintendo Entertainment System / Famicom - NES
(3rd Gen July 1983)

There are many elements that the NES / Famicom can claim rightly as significant contributions to the home gaming industry, but the single most significant (and even critical one) is without doubt the traction behind its widely considered position as the Game Console that saved the home gaming industry.

By the time Nintendo got around to launching the NES the collapse of the home console market was well underway, largely due to the flood of bad games on the market that went on for far too long as the plethora of competing systems and brands cashed in on a gaming public that had not quite yet learned to judge quality in games before purchasing them.

Those conditions, in addition to nearly tanking home gaming, were the seed that eventually created what we know today as the games press and, once the Internet went commercial, the games news and feature market that brought the gaming public websites like Gaming Update, SuperCheats, IGN, and the like -- and later the game-based ePublications -- so it can be said that even in its darkest days some good came from the greed that nearly destroyed the industry.

Still, the timely launch of the NES and Nintendo's hardline approach to maintaining high standards in quality and entertainment for the games that it allowed to be released for the console number among its greatest contributions to the industry. The gold approval seal from Nintendo that was found on the boxes and game cartridges genuinely came to represent an important measure by which gamers could judge a game.

With its release in 1983 the Nintendo Family Computer (or Famicom) would set new standards for games and home gaming at a time when they were badly needed -- and when only a few years later the Famicom was repackaged for the North American market under the brand Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), it carried forward that call to quality that redefine and relaunched the near-dead industry. Of course it helped that the worse offenders in the events that directly lead to the crash had, by that point, crashed and had gone out of business, having been hoisted by their own petard -- and educating the gaming public to view with suspicion any new game until its virtues were a proven and established fact!

By the late 1980's the well-established killer game series like Super Mario firmly established Nintendo at the top of the heap, and the addition of unique peripherals like the light gun and the bundling of Duck Hunt, along with peripherals like the game pad, combined games on a single cartridge, and an unwillingness to remain static, and the strong desire to constantly push the envelope and improve both the technology and maximizing the potential in the hardware with each new generation of game rather than game console hints at the most significant of the contributions that the NES made.

Saving the industry was a key contribution, but its efforts in shaping the mindset among studios to create games that fully used the hardware and, with the establishment of game series, push entertainment in games to new heights, is a lasting one that continues to hold influence today.