Lots has been written on the video game crash of 1983; needless to say after events with Atari, North American retailers were left with their hands burnt, so launching a new console was a risky proposition. We recently took a look at the baby steps which Nintendo took at CES in 1984, which provided useful feedback for the company and changed its whole marketing strategy with the product which would become the ridiculously successful Nintendo Entertainment System, or NES to its friends.
We've briefly touched on the trial regional launches of the NES in 1985 in the past, too; initially you could only get a NES in New York and LA in a very limited number of stores. Shedding more light on the days of old, King Solomon over on the NintendoAge forums has now unearthed some old documentation sent to consumers which does make for fascinating reading:
This information pack, dated 24th April 1986 and addressed to a Robert Dahl from Wisconsin, reveals the state of play. Young Robert was advised that the NES would be scheduled for a nationwide roll-out during 1986, but until then he could order the system via mail order from recommended stores in Costa Mesa in California, Chicago or New York.
Also enclosed in the pack are some charming descriptions of the hardware and games on offer. Our favourite is the description of arcade classic Donkey Kong:
Mario climbs ladders and dodges barrels to save Paula in this exciting maze game.
It's interesting to look back at these old days and marvel at the times when Nintendo had difficulty launching a product and keeping up with demand. Thankfully those days are behind us, right?