UK Nes original owners

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big mean bunny
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UK Nes original owners

Post by big mean bunny » Mon Jun 13, 2016 5:45 pm

I am always interested to see the idea of the nes and the idea and comments of it's revisionist history, I frequently see sites such as this and podcasts talking about how the nes dominated the u.s market but not the uk, however it makes me wonder if anyone seemed to experience totally the opposite, like we did growing up in Corby in Northamptonshire. I was massively privileged as a child gamer (born in 82) that my dad was mad keen on gaming so we always had significantly more stuff than others because it was his hobby and we piggy backed. I am never entirely sure on the dates but he got either a spectrum or a c64 as heard it was better than the amstrad we had and couldn't believe it wasn't really an upgrade considering the price, however when he returned it to boots he was was told about the NES which seemed to be in its very early days or release. Anyway he spent the rest of the day tracking one down and we ended if my memory is correct with Super Mario, Gyromite and R.O.B, Duck hunt and Kung Fu, it's possible we had other games, I remember Excite bike and Punch out being early game memories and Castlevania but have't looked up releases for them.

However everyone round our way over the next few years began to pick up NES's. I didn't actually play in a master system till about 94 when our school youth club wheeled one out one evening. Some of the NES adopters were friends of my dad, I remember a birthday or a party of some sort where my dad and his mates were all crowded around a tele he had assembled in the garage, and there minds were literally being blown by him popping the cartridges in and out loading games in seconds, but others just seemed to never consider getting anything other than a nes.

So coming from this I always find it strange the idea that it wasn't popular. No doubt as a result of demand but the places that sold games around our way always seemed to favour nintendo (again that might just be my memory and having no need to look at the other sections till the Mega Drive). Am sure I mentioned this before on here but when we completed our Nintendo official fanclub memberships mine and my brothers junior membership numbers were 002 and 003 and our dads was 007 for the adult section as we used to think that was impressive due to the bond connection. Which we had some of the stuff we used to get sent, used to get the paper magazine monthly and our Dad used to pretty much buy the featured game from it whatever it was.
Last edited by big mean bunny on Tue Jun 14, 2016 3:29 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: UK Nes original owners

Post by learnedrobb » Tue Jun 14, 2016 12:52 am

I'd hardly call it "revisionist" to say the NES was significantly less popular in the UK than the Master System.

I can honestly say that amongst me and my friends, hardly anyone owned a NES. Plenty of Spectrums, C64s, Amigas, STs, Master Systems, and later on Mega Drives. I knew exactly 1 person growing up who owned a NES.
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Re: UK Nes original owners

Post by Matt_B » Tue Jun 14, 2016 2:18 am

Hardly anyone I knew had a NES either, at least from the people who grew up in the UK.

Still, enough machines were sold in the UK that there's bound to have been a few clusters of ownership where you'd have had large groups of friends who've all got the console to whom it would have seemed very popular; it'd only be natural for them to extrapolate and assume that the rest of the country would be similar.

There's a similar situation with my group of friends at the moment, even, where the current generation console we're far and away the most likely to own is the Wii U. It'd be easy to get a false picture from that, but it's easy to tell from the sales figures that the XB1 and PS4 are much more popular both nationally and worldwide. So, just be wary of extrapolating your personal experience.

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Re: UK Nes original owners

Post by Big Shoes » Tue Jun 14, 2016 3:32 am

My sister had a NES, but I never played it, me and about 4 other friends all had Master Systems. I still prefer it now to the NES. We all went from Master Systems to SNES though. SNES is still my favourite system. Master System 2nd.

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Re: UK Nes original owners

Post by big mean bunny » Tue Jun 14, 2016 3:32 am

I used the word revisionist as that was how this months mag opened, I am aware of the truth of the matter with sales however there seems to almost be a sneery attitude towards the nes and this idea that no one owned them and people going on about them now are looking back to the era rather than having been part of it, however I was looking for others and just sharing that to us it was totally different and entirely skewed as you say. If 100% of the people you know owned the nes, then as you say it's easy to assume that's how it is everywhere.
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Re: UK Nes original owners

Post by Antiriad2097 » Tue Jun 14, 2016 3:41 am

big mean bunny wrote:Some of the NES adopters were friends of my dad, I remember a birthday or a party of some sort where my dad and his mates were all crowded around a tele he had assembled in the garage, and there minds were literally being blown by him popping the cartridges in and out loading games in seconds.
I suspect they were rather more impressed with the smoothness of scrolling and sprites in games like Mario Bros rather than speed of loading. Carts were unlikely to impress anyone of your dad's era, as we'd had those in common use with the 2600 and other consoles since the 70s. Even the Spectrum and C64 supported cartridges (C64 natively, Spectrum via one of several commonly available joystick adapters).

As the success of the Spectrum indicates, price was a major factor for many gamers with so many systems to choose from. Since we'd had cassette based games for so long, it was hard to swallow cart games at 3-4 times the price, with no easy way to copy them either. Tapes were cheap to buy and easy to copy, and that access to inexpensive games you could share among friends was very attractive.

With the NES, you may have had more advanced hardware and instant loading, but for most that meant limiting games to a very small subset of those available (maybe just one or two on birthdays and christmas), or a reliance on rentals. With tape games as little as £1.99, we could have a new one every week even on pocket money.

You and your friends were very lucky to have relatively affluent parents with an interest in gaming, a far from common circumstance.

We also have to consider upgrade paths. The Atari ST and Commodore Amiga appeared at a similar time period. For many computer gamers, these were a more attractive proposition than the NES, again offering cheaper games, but also with the additional creative options the NES (or any console) lacked.
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Re: UK Nes original owners

Post by big mean bunny » Tue Jun 14, 2016 4:26 am

Antiriad2097 wrote: You and your friends were very lucky to have relatively affluent parents with an interest in gaming, a far from common circumstance.
Corby is far from affluent which is what I find strange about the nes price when it's discussed as being an expensive machine, as a kid you aren't really aware of that, I remember it was widely considered that the Amiga was too expensive a purchase by my mum! how did they compare for price? I remember I always wanted one for Christmas and wasn't allowed so would constantly ask about going on Noel's house party to win one. We also never used to ever go on holiday bar a couple of rare occasions, although I am starting to think that might be because my Dad had spent all our money on nes games...
Last edited by big mean bunny on Tue Jun 14, 2016 4:49 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: UK Nes original owners

Post by Antiriad2097 » Tue Jun 14, 2016 4:37 am

You don't want to be comparing system prices so much, look more towards relative game costs. An Amiga 500 (the common model most widely adopted at the time) would have been £4-500, around double the price of the NES. Games cost less than half the price though, so once you'd bought a dozen, you recouped that initial cost back and then continued to save.

Your dad had made his choice and was sticking with it, reinforcing the idea your folks weren't rolling in cash, but had enough to buy the essential games.

Hard as this may be to believe, but even the Amstrad CPC had a following in some areas :shock:
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Re: UK Nes original owners

Post by big mean bunny » Tue Jun 14, 2016 4:48 am

Hey I loved our Amstrad! We had a green screen one for years before the nes, and later on after we had the nes we got a colour one that had a console slot although only ever had burning rubber for it. I imagine our getting of that colour model (which I know was an incredible amount of money from Kays catalogue!) was probably due to already having stacks and stacks of amstrad games.

I always look to get amstrad games but I can't for the life of me remember any of the names. I remember hours of happy memories playing football manager/director with my dad, as well as Harrier Attack and some of the Roland games but loads of the others I can't recall. I used to listen to the retro asylum and am always surprised that people were aware of publishers and developers and who were making what games, although if I am honest I still seem to have that affliction now!

Never knew anyone with an amstrad other than when our mum sold our older model to a neighbour.
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Re: UK Nes original owners

Post by Katzkatz » Tue Jun 14, 2016 6:49 am

I never knew anyone who owned a NES. I lived in East Kent. I knew a lot of Spectrum owners, who decided to move on to the Sega Master System in about 1989-1990. That seemed very popular. I also knew someone with a PC Engine. As far as games consoles went - the NES was a non-starter.

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Re: UK Nes original owners

Post by Mayhem » Tue Jun 14, 2016 7:04 am

My brother's godparents bought a NES for their younger son, so I got to play some of the NES classics such as Super Mario Bros 1&2, Castlevania, Mega Man 2 etc, at their place. We did get an NES as well, but not until the TMNT pack in... 1990? Only ended up with a few games for it though because they were so expensive! Unlike kids today, 5 quid pocket money wasn't going to get you a new NES game any time soon.
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Re: UK Nes original owners

Post by RodimusPrime » Tue Jun 14, 2016 7:22 am

Matt_B wrote:Hardly anyone I knew had a NES either, at least from the people who grew up in the UK.

Still, enough machines were sold in the UK that there's bound to have been a few clusters of ownership where you'd have had large groups of friends who've all got the console to whom it would have seemed very popular; it'd only be natural for them to extrapolate and assume that the rest of the country would be similar.

There's a similar situation with my group of friends at the moment, even, where the current generation console we're far and away the most likely to own is the Wii U. It'd be easy to get a false picture from that, but it's easy to tell from the sales figures that the XB1 and PS4 are much more popular both nationally and worldwide. So, just be wary of extrapolating your personal experience.
This happened with me, I got the Turtles pack one Xmas and my cousin got the MS. As more people slowly bought consoles it was definitely the NES that ended up more popular. Plenty of people had the MS but all the buzz seemed to be around the NES.

The Master system was considered the inferior cheapy option round our way.

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Re: UK Nes original owners

Post by JamesC » Tue Jun 14, 2016 7:41 am

In my home town (Great Yarmouth) the 'hot toy' of Xmas 1989 was the NES.
I knew people with Master Systems (as well as Amstrads, Speccys and Commodore 64s) but loads of people bought NES consoles that year.
It's interesting that you mention Boots - that was the place that really pushed the NES in those days, with a very elaborate demo system on permanent display. You could also buy the consoles and games in Dixons, Curry's, Comet, Prism Leisure, Argos, Woolworth's and a couple of local game and toy shops. The NES was well represented in all of these places.
There was a pretty healthy loan and swap scene in my school for the next few years until people started to lose interest or moved on to the Megadrive or Amiga (and then later the SNES but I knew far less people to own that than either of the other two).

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Re: UK Nes original owners

Post by felgekarp » Tue Jun 14, 2016 7:45 am

My cousin had one and seeing as he only lived 10 minutes away I got to use it quite a bit, there were plenty of places you could pick them and games up from round us as well.
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Re: UK Nes original owners

Post by Liamh1982 » Tue Jun 14, 2016 7:52 am

Mayhem wrote:We did get an NES as well, but not until the TMNT pack in... 1990?
I do think the Turtles and WWF bundles gave the NES a boost - everyone I knew who had the console got it as one of those two packs, except for my uncle who got one in 1988 and only ended up with Super Mario Bros. and DuckTales.

The Master System was more popular in my circle but not by much and I only had one mate who had any of the 8-bit micros (a Speccy). Almost everyone had Game Boys though.

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