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The Nintendo Entertainment System, also known as the NES (and Famicom in Japan), launched on this day 35 years ago on October 18, 1985. It is the console that helped turn around the dying video game market in North America after the crash in 1983.
The console at first was only available in the biggest market in the USA, New York City, as a test market to see how successful the console could be in the nation before getting a full North American release in 1986.
The NES is the 13th best-selling video game platform in history. It is also Nintendo’s seventh best-selling platform with 61.91 million units sold lifetime and third best-selling Nintendo home console, behind the Wii and Switch. However, the Switch is a hybrid of a console and handheld.
The NES proved most successful in North America, but also sold exceedingly well in Japan and decently in Europe. It sold 33.49 million units in North America, 19.35 million units in Japan, and 8.30 million units in Europe. It has also sold a combined 0.77 million units across the rest of the world.
78 games for the console managed to sell over one million units, 31 games sold more than two million units, and three sold over 10 million units.
Super Mario Bros. is the biggest hit on the platform with 40.24 million units sold. The game was heavily bundled with the console.
Duck Hunt comes in second place with 28.31 million units shipped, followed by Super Mario Bros. 3 at 17.28 million units sold, Super Mario Bros. 2 at 7.46 million units, and The Legend of Zelda at 6.51 million units. Tetris is the one other game to have sold five million units.
The rest of the top 10 includes Dr. Mario with 4.85 million units sold, Zelda II: The Adventure of Link with 4.38 million units, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles with 4.17 million units, and Excitebike with 4.17 million units.
A life-long and avid gamer, William D’Angelo was first introduced to VGChartz in 2007. After years of supporting the site, he was brought on in 2010 as a junior analyst, working his way up to lead analyst in 2012. He has expanded his involvement in the gaming community by producing content on his own YouTube channel and Twitch channel dedicated to gaming Let’s Plays and tutorials. You can contact the author at [email protected] or on Twitter @TrunksWD.