Nintendo Entertainment System
Introduced in 1985, the NES was an instant hit. Over the course of the next two years, it almost single-handedly revitalized the video game industry. Selling over 60 million units, people brought games like Mario and Zelda into their homes for the first time on the NES.
The screen was four-colors-of-gray but the device defined portable gaming and was enormous fun. Game Boy, which came out in 1989, was closely associated with the classic game Tetris when it debuted. Game Boy is the most successful video game system ever released. Since its introduction in 1989, Game Boy has sold well over 150 million systems worldwide. Originally bundled with the game, Tetris, this little handheld became an instant phenomenon.
Super Nintendo Entertainment System
The SNES was released in 1991 and featured 16-bit technology. More processing power meant more entertaining games which helped the SNES sell more than 49 million systems worldwide.
The N64 set new standards in realistic 3D gaming when it came out in 1996. Super Mario 64 was the system’s showcase game and thrilled millions with its amazing graphics and gameplay.
Game Boy Pocket
The same year the N64 came out, the Game Boy Pocket found its way into gamers’ school backpacks all over the world. It was smaller than the original Game Boy and came in a variety of colors.
Game Boy Advance
Featuring a larger screen and better graphics than previous versions of the Game Boy, the GBA would go on to sell tens of millions of units worldwide after its North American debut in 2001.
2001 also saw the release of the Nintendo GameCube which one-upped the graphics and gameplay of the N64. It was the first Nintendo system to use optical discs instead of cartridges for its games.
Game Boy Advance SP
Released in 2003, the Game Boy Advance SP had the same size screen as the Game Boy Advance, but the GBA SP was dramatically smaller, lighter, and folded in a clamshell design to become truly pocket portable. It also featured a rechargeable battery and backlit screen.
Featuring two screens, including a touch screen, a microphone, built-in Wi-Fi capability, and backward compatibility, the DS is an incredibly successful portable gaming device beating its rivals in the marketplace by a wide margin.
Nintendo DS Lite
The Nintendo DS is smaller, lighter, and has brighter screens than the previous model and has been embraced by fans. Tens of millions of DS Lites have sold worldwide since its release in early 2006.
In 2006, Nintendo introduced the Wii and with it several advanced, revolutionary features. Wireless motion-sensitive remote controllers, built-in Wi-Fi capability, and a host of other features have made the Wii the best-selling latest generation console system in the world.
In April, Nintendo DSi introduced a revised portable system with two cameras and wireless access to downloadable games via the Nintendo DSi Shop. Wii Sports Resort built on the Wii Sports phenomenon and included the new Wii MotionPlus accessory, which made motion controls even more precise. Wii Fit Plus brought new options and activities to the fitness software and New Super Mario Bros. Wii brought the hand-held game to the home console. The Nintendo DS family of systems set a new all-time calendar-year U.S. sales record for any console or hand-held system.
Nintendo DSi XL
Nintendo DSi XL debuted with screens that were 93 percent larger than those on Nintendo DS Lite. Nintendo and Netflix announced a partnership that would allow most Netflix subscribers to stream movies and TV shows directly through their Wii consoles. The American Heart Association and Nintendo of America formed a multifaceted strategic relationship aimed at helping people create healthy lifestyles through physically active play. The iconic American Heart Association brand appeared on boxes for the Wii Fit Plus and Wii Sports Resort software and for the Wii system itself. Super Mario Galaxy 2 was just as well-received and well-reviewed as the original, Metroid: Other M took the franchise in a new direction and Donkey Kong Country Returns revisited a classic franchise. The Wii Games: Summer 2010 competition brought thousands of people of all ages together in fun competitions.
In 2011, Nintendo launched the Nintendo 3DS system in North America, and for the first time ever, users could view and play 3D content without special 3D glasses. The Mii Maker™ app let players create their own Mii™ characters to use as virtual avatars, while the online gaming community known as Miiverse™ let users connect with Nintendo fans around the world.
Released in 2012, the Wii U™ system included the innovative Wii U GamePad controller that offered users new ways to play together, including off-TV. Wii U was the first Nintendo system to play new games in HD, while remaining backwards compatible with Wii™ games. This system also introduced support for amiibo™ accessories, figures and cards that gave players in-game bonuses in compatible games.
The Nintendo 2DS™ system joined the Nintendo 3DS™ family in North America in 2013. Its form factor, features, and price made it an excellent option for young gamers. The system played the Nintendo 3DS games only in 2D.
New Nintendo 3DS XL
In 2015, Nintendo released the New Nintendo 3DS XL system in North America. The system offered super-stable face-tracking 3D and screens that were almost twice as large as those of Nintendo 3DS. Built-in amiibo support meant players could more easily tap in amiibo accessories to get bonus in-game content in compatible games.
Released in 2017, the Nintendo Switch™ is a home console that can transition seamlessly to a portable handheld that gamers can enjoy anywhere. The included Joy-Con™ controllers attach to the console while in handheld mode, and can be removed and used separately with compatible games in TV or tabletop modes. The system’s features include built-in amiibo support, motion controls and HD Rumble to makes games more immersive, and the Nintendo Switch Online* service.
*Nintendo Account required. Online services and features, including online gameplay, are free until the paid Nintendo Switch Online Service launches in 2018.
New Nintendo 2DS XL
The New Nintendo 2DS XL system debuted in 2017 with screens that are 82% percent larger than the screens for Nintendo 2DS. The system offers customers the power and features of the New Nintendo 3DS XL system in a streamlined, affordable package, and plays a huge library of Nintendo 3DS games in 2D only.