While the NES is famous for being the console that established Nintendo as a world-leader in the realm of video games, it's vital to remember that when it was initially pitched to US retailers, success was by no means a sure thing.
The Video Game Crash of 1983 had knocked retail confidence in games consoles and Nintendo actually had a hard time convincing major stores to even stock the product. In fact, it held a 'soft launch' in New York City on October 18th, 1985 to prove that there was demand for such a system.
Friend of the site Phil Summers (he's the guy who creates those amazing hand-drawn retro guides) has managed to trace some promotional flyers from the period and has been painstakingly cleaning them up to make them look flawless.
He's found one that pre-dates not only the 1985 New York 'soft launch' but the reveal of Lance Barr's iconic 'zero insertion force' design which was officially shown off to the public in June of the same year. The flyer also places a firm focus on R.O.B. the Robot – referred to as the 'Nintendo Video Robot' here – and shows an early console/controller design which was ultimately abandoned in favour of the machine we actually got in the February of the following year.
The very different-looking console on this flyer – which was referred to as the Nintendo Advanced Video System at the time – has a top-loading cartridge system (and appears to be using Famicom carts) while the controllers have a square D-pad not entirely unlike the one which would make its way onto the Sega Master System joypad.
It's a curious look at what could have been, and we'd recommend checking out some of Summer's other clean-up jobs – the one which features a man wearing a C3PO costume back-to-front is especially cool.