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Looking for NES Launch Reviews


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Basically I am looking for a magazine that covered the NES launch id prefer U.S.(as im canadian) but Europe would be good too. Obviously there are tons of magazines covering 1987 on up for consoles but I cant find much for 83-87 when NES launched and also those early game reviews

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Your out of luck on this one. Their were no magazines covering the NES launch. It's well known there was a lack of coverage at the time. The NES and the SMS launched during the dead zone after the video game crash where all the game mags were out of business. I believe video game historian Frank Cifaldi has looked for reviews and had found possibly the only only contemporary review of Super Mario Bros was written by this women who did a fanzine of sorts at the time.

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  • Retromags Curator

Your out of luck on this one. Their were no magazines covering the NES launch. It's well known there was a lack of coverage at the time. The NES and the SMS launched during the dead zone after the video game crash where all the game mags were out of business. I believe video game historian Frank Cifaldi has looked for reviews and had found possibly the only only contemporary review of Super Mario Bros was written by this women who did a fanzine of sorts at the time.

 

What about Electronic Games, didn't they run thru the mid 80's? Or did they just not think the NES was going to catch on and skipped covering it?

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The April 1985 issue of Electronic Games reported on the Nintendo Advanced Video Entertainment System (which evolved into the eventual NES) in a news blurb in its Hotline section.  They mention how it could be a miscalculation on Nintendo's part.  :)  RetroMags currently doesn't have this issue preserved but you can find it via Digital Press.

 

Sean697 is referring to a newsletter originally titled The Video Game Update, later retitled Computer Entertainer.  I believe it started as a store-to-customer newsletter but eventually expanded into something nationally (internationally?) through subscription.  If you're looking for early USA NES and SMS coverage it's probably your best source - perhaps even your only source.  Frank Cifaldi is (was?) holding a bound archive of the newsletter and arranged to have it preserved by the Internet Archive.

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What about Electronic Games, didn't they run thru the mid 80's? Or did they just not think the NES was going to catch on and skipped covering it?

Yup, what Retodefense said. NES and SMS launched after it folded. They probrably might have had a blurb from CES winter coverage. Also some newspapers like the Chicago ones had video game columns, Ed Semrad wrote one. There may be something there.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Yup, what Retodefense said. NES and SMS launched after it folded. They probrably might have had a blurb from CES winter coverage. Also some newspapers like the Chicago ones had video game columns, Ed Semrad wrote one. There may be something there.

Yup, what Retodefense said. NES and SMS launched after it folded. They probrably might have had a blurb from CES winter coverage. Also some newspapers like the Chicago ones had video game columns, Ed Semrad wrote one. There may be something there.

Yeah people forget when NES came out the market was dead, by the late 80s it was booming again

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  • 2 weeks later...

Nice find.  It's a shame it has absolutely zero editorial commentary.  A review of some sort would have been illuminating, but from the article as presented I don't get the sense that Mr. Semrad has even sat down and played a single one of the games he mentions.  It basically reads as if he's regurgitating the promotional copy sent by Nintendo to all journalists at the time, without offering up any of his actual personal insights or opinions (since he has none).  In other words, it seems a lot like a GamePro preview: completely meaningless.  The NES launch review shall remain a mythical beast, it seems.

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My favorite is a later Ed Semrad column that was circulated this year where he says the Sega Master System is goin goth eat Nintendo;s lunch.

 

​Well, he was right, in a way. They did eat Nintendo's lunch; they just did in Europe instead of North America.

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  • 4 weeks later...

​Well, he was right, in a way. They did eat Nintendo's lunch; they just did in Europe instead of North America.

In the end NES sold more in Europe than the Mega drive did or they both sold 8,3 million units (but that includes the mega 2, CD redesign etc.) It was also nr 1 in several European countries and it also launched in many European countries before Sega. With the SNES Sega was dead in Europe and never made a come back.

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In the end NES sold more in Europe than the Mega drive did or they both sold 8,3 million units (but that includes the mega 2, CD redesign etc.) It was also nr 1 in several European countries and it also launched in many European countries before Sega. With the SNES Sega was dead in Europe and never made a come back.

 

Do you happen to have a link to something that confirms this?  I've found references to the Master System selling 8.3 million units in Europe, but not the NES.  Everything I've ever read suggested the NES was outsold by the Master System in Europe due to poor marketing, but if you've got a link to a credible source of sales data, I'd be interested in checking it out.

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Do you happen to have a link to something that confirms this? I've found references to the Master System selling 8.3 million units in Europe, but not the NES. Everything I've ever read suggested the NES was outsold by the Master System in Europe due to poor marketing, but if you've got a link to a credible source of sales data, I'd be interested in checking it out.

https://www.nintendo.co.jp/ir/library/historical_data/pdf/consolidated_sales_e1609.pdf

It is Nintendo own data and it is precise

8.56 million

(Other: 856)

61.91 million

(Total: 6.191)

http://m.ign.com/articles/2014/01/29/these-are-nintendos-lifetime-hardware-and-software-numbers

Also has a Wikipedia

Vgchartz lists it as 8.30 million in Europe.

http://www.vgchartz.com/analysis/platform_totals/

With the mega drive at 8.39 million and WW at 29.54 million

So for many Europeans and countries Sega was a non-factor while for some Sega apparently dominated.

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So Sega won with nine hundred thousand consoles. But both won countries in Europe, just not the same ones. Back then people did not refer to Europe as a single market either, the UK was the UK and Germany was Germany and the Nordics were the Nordics and France, france and so forth.

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Interesting. Not being a Sega or Nintendo fanboy, I don't really care which of them sold the most units. But if all the data is correct, the main points of interest are:

The NES was a failure in the UK, despite being popular everywhere else. (I've also been told by my Australian friends that the NES wasn't a big deal there, but haven't ever researched it myself)

The Master System was a success overall in Europe (and especially Brazil), despite being a failure everywhere else (including Japan).

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Interesting. Not being a Sega or Nintendo fanboy, I don't really care which of them sold the most units. But if all the data is correct, the main points of interest are:

The NES was a failure in the UK, despite being popular everywhere else. (I've also been told by my Australian friends that the NES wasn't a big deal there, but haven't ever researched it myself)

The Master System was a success overall in Europe (and especially Brazil), despite being a failure everywhere else (including Japan).

It is interesting I find it that's all.

Personally I think the NES and SNES were better and also the best Nintendo has ever made. I like Saturn and Dreamcast more than the N64 and GameCube. Today I honestly view them both as history :(

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  • 3 weeks later...

Your out of luck on this one. Their were no magazines covering the NES launch. It's well known there was a lack of coverage at the time. The NES and the SMS launched during the dead zone after the video game crash where all the game mags were out of business. I believe video game historian Frank Cifaldi has looked for reviews and had found possibly the only only contemporary review of Super Mario Bros was written by this women who did a fanzine of sorts at the time.

 

http://www.area5.tv/blog/2014/1/29/outerlands-short-franks-magazine-collection-the-first-super-mario-bros-review

 

here is a vid of him reading blurbs from said review. stumbled upon it last night and wanted to share.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Basically I am looking for a magazine that covered the NES launch id prefer U.S.(as im canadian) but Europe would be good too. Obviously there are tons of magazines covering 1987 on up for consoles but I cant find much for 83-87 when NES launched and also those early game reviews

 

 

The April 1985 issue of Electronic Games reported on the Nintendo Advanced Video Entertainment System (which evolved into the eventual NES) in a news blurb in its Hotline section.  They mention how it could be a miscalculation on Nintendo's part.   :)  RetroMags currently doesn't have this issue preserved but you can find it via Digital Press.

 

Sean697 is referring to a newsletter originally titled The Video Game Update, later retitled Computer Entertainer.  I believe it started as a store-to-customer newsletter but eventually expanded into something nationally (internationally?) through subscription.  If you're looking for early USA NES and SMS coverage it's probably your best source - perhaps even your only source.  Frank Cifaldi is (was?) holding a bound archive of the newsletter and arranged to have it preserved by the Internet Archive.

 

Not much to add, except this section from Hotline in Electronic Games March 1985 Issue 36

2E2cXmS.jpg

 

Reviews of Nintendo games didn't begin until Nintendo Power as far as I know.

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