Retro Uprising
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Old 08-22-2010, 01:21 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Movers and Shakers of the NES

Gamers ultimately remember systems for the quality of their games -- well, successful systems, anyway. The likes of Virtual Boy or Sega 32X are likely to be remembered for the inexplicable thinking behind their existence, or for the way they ruthlessly exploited users, or any other number of unflattering facets of their legacy. With a console like the NES, though, its library is its ultimate testament to history.

Not every game for the system was a masterpiece, but the great ones were simply miles beyond anything anyone had ever seen before on a console: an arcade experience at home, and eventually even more than that.

Be that as it may, the NESís fortunes were shaped by the business behind it, and by the people behind that business. Truth be told, there was as much drama in the systemís tale as in any plot spun by its games: Nintendoís fortunes in its home market were buoyed at the crest of the Bubble Economy wave, and its westward-facing ambitions were hardly uncommon for any successful Japanese corporation of the í80s. Americans saw the unprecedented vitality of the Japanese economy, that beaten-down nation weíd helped bootstrap back to its feet after WWII despite its role as an imperialist aggressor, compared it to the economic rot and ennui that afflicted the U.S. economy, and regarded Japan with suspicion, hostility, and fear.

Nintendo found itself cast as the poster child of Japanese ambition, painted as the vanguard of an insidious war waged in the American living room, a victory to be earned by winning the hearts and minds of God-fearing, corn-fed American youth with diabolical hypno-boxes plugged into our televisions. It took a crew of people with iron spines to stand up to that perception and pursue the American home with draconian monopolism anyway, and Nintendo was blessed during its NES era with quite a number of executives with precisely that sort of determination. Itís these people who defined the NES and made it a success, even though millions of concerned parents across the nation regarded Nintendo as Satanís dark earthly agents.

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