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When was the NES released in the UK and the rest of Europe?

Posted: Fri Feb 15, 2019 1:38 pm
by dave4shmups
I often wonder about this-I don't think it was released in 1985, like it was here in the USA. I also wonder what it was like for British game developers to develop games for the NES, as opposed to the ZX Spectrum. For example, Codemasters had the Camerica label here, but they also made ZX Spectrum games.

Re: When was the NES released in the UK and the rest of Europe?

Posted: Fri Feb 15, 2019 1:50 pm
by FatTrucker
The NES was hardly advertised in the UK. The whole industry crash in 83 and its resurrection with the NES in 85 more or less passed the UK industry by entirely as it was primarily focused on home micro's like the Spectrum and C64 (some of us also had Amstrad CPC's...shhhh). So the industry in the early to mid 80's was dominated by independent publishers and developers. The console revolution started slowly here, first with the Master System but really taking off with the Megadrive (Genesis). The home micro scene hung on until the early 90's with the AtariST and Amiga, but more or less died with the 32 bit era and release of the Playstation.
Nintendo's European operations never really seemed to be given much focus or funding with the NES and even the Snes, preferring to concentrate on the bigger markets in Japan and the US.

Re: When was the NES released in the UK and the rest of Europe?

Posted: Fri Feb 15, 2019 3:33 pm
by merman
Mattel handled distribution of the NES in the UK, it didn't officially launch in the UK until 1987.

Most of mainland Europe saw it launched in 1986.

Re: When was the NES released in the UK and the rest of Europe?

Posted: Fri Feb 15, 2019 4:46 pm
by Matt_B
Did it ever even get a proper launch in the UK? From what I've read, Mattel had serious problems even getting retailers to stock it.

Re: When was the NES released in the UK and the rest of Europe?

Posted: Fri Feb 15, 2019 6:32 pm
by The Laird
Initially it was exclusive to Boots I believe. Later on a few others stocked it like Dixons, Toys R Us and Argos but you never saw it in mainstream games stores.

I've heard that only 600,000 NES consoles were sold in the UK and a large portion of them came late in its life with the launch of the £60 Turtles pack.

Re: When was the NES released in the UK and the rest of Europe?

Posted: Fri Feb 15, 2019 8:19 pm
by dave4shmups
FatTrucker wrote:
Fri Feb 15, 2019 1:50 pm
The NES was hardly advertised in the UK. The whole industry crash in 83 and its resurrection with the NES in 85 more or less passed the UK industry by entirely as it was primarily focused on home micro's like the Spectrum and C64 (some of us also had Amstrad CPC's...shhhh). So the industry in the early to mid 80's was dominated by independent publishers and developers. The console revolution started slowly here, first with the Master System but really taking off with the Megadrive (Genesis). The home micro scene hung on until the early 90's with the AtariST and Amiga, but more or less died with the 32 bit era and release of the Playstation.
Nintendo's European operations never really seemed to be given much focus or funding with the NES and even the Snes, preferring to concentrate on the bigger markets in Japan and the US.
Interesting! In an issue of Retro Gamer, there was a guy interviewed (can't think of his name off of the top of my head) who was the head of a UK magazine called Nintendo Magazine System. That must have sold poorly, unless it was circulated in the rest of Europe.

Re: When was the NES released in the UK and the rest of Europe?

Posted: Sat Feb 16, 2019 7:48 am
by The Laird
That magazine covered the Game Boy too, and the SNES when that arrived, it wasn't just NES

Re: When was the NES released in the UK and the rest of Europe?

Posted: Sat Feb 16, 2019 1:45 pm
by dave4shmups
I do wonder how different programming games for the NES was compared to the Spectrum and the Commodore 64. I mean, they were all 8-bit machines, but you have different color palettes and processors.

Re: When was the NES released in the UK and the rest of Europe?

Posted: Sat Feb 16, 2019 5:24 pm
by WaveRacer
The NES was ignored in the UK until the NES turtles pack in 1990.

The Guy who made the decision to create the bundle said he did it against Nintendo of USAs wishes. Hr eckons sales for that Holiday period were up by as much as 2000 percent. and it sold well for the following year an went past the 1m mark.

I remember seeing the advert for the Bundle and that combines with the release of Mean machines magazine created a bit of a late buzz for the machine and it was really popular in my area at the time.

The wizard getting released on VHS, and Mario 3 coming out/ Plus the Captain N cartoon. I know it was dead in the UK for a longtime, but I distinctly remember it exploding in popularity for a period of around 12-18months.

I remember seeing a report where that year alone it was a big seller, so although low figures overall, it was actually popular and sold well for a certain period.

Re: When was the NES released in the UK and the rest of Europe?

Posted: Sun Feb 17, 2019 5:50 am
by JamesC
In my area (Great Yarmouth) the NES was well and truly on the radar before the Turtles pack came out.
It had been on sale, with a very substantial display and demo unit (with just about every black-box game available to play, along with others such as RC Pro Am, Castlevania, Mike Tyson's Punch Out) in Boots for a couple of years before Xmas 1990.
I actually received the Turtles pack for my birthday in December 1990 (and it was the only time I ever saw that particular bundle. Many friends received a NES that Xmas but none got the Turtles pack).
I'd actually wanted a NES two Xmasses previous to this though, but had instead got a Commodore 64 on the advice of my well-meaning brother.

Re: When was the NES released in the UK and the rest of Europe?

Posted: Sun Feb 17, 2019 6:50 am
by merman
dave4shmups wrote:
Sat Feb 16, 2019 1:45 pm
I do wonder how different programming games for the NES was compared to the Spectrum and the Commodore 64. I mean, they were all 8-bit machines, but you have different color palettes and processors.
I've spoken to one or two programmers who worked on the NES - its Ricoh processor was basically a clone of the 6502/6510 that powered other machines (such as the C64), so it was easy to code for if you already knew that processor. Graphics and sound were harder, due to the way the memory was laid out and the need to use "memory mappers". Later NES games had larger memory thanks to bank switching, which increased the complexity but made some things easier.

Re: When was the NES released in the UK and the rest of Europe?

Posted: Sun Feb 17, 2019 6:52 am
by merman
JamesC wrote:
Sun Feb 17, 2019 5:50 am
In my area (Great Yarmouth) the NES was well and truly on the radar before the Turtles pack came out.
It had been on sale, with a very substantial display and demo unit (with just about every black-box game available to play, along with others such as RC Pro Am, Castlevania, Mike Tyson's Punch Out) in Boots for a couple of years before Xmas 1990.
I actually received the Turtles pack for my birthday in December 1990 (and it was the only time I ever saw that particular bundle. Many friends received a NES that Xmas but none got the Turtles pack).
I'd actually wanted a NES two Xmasses previous to this though, but had instead got a Commodore 64 on the advice of my well-meaning brother.
My local Boots had a Select system that I used to play a lot. First time I actually played a NES was a friend who had been to the States and got one, which would have been '87-88.
The Turtles pack did have a large impact in terms of sales.

Re: When was the NES released in the UK and the rest of Europe?

Posted: Sun Feb 17, 2019 6:57 am
by JamesC
merman wrote:
Sun Feb 17, 2019 6:52 am
JamesC wrote:
Sun Feb 17, 2019 5:50 am
In my area (Great Yarmouth) the NES was well and truly on the radar before the Turtles pack came out.
It had been on sale, with a very substantial display and demo unit (with just about every black-box game available to play, along with others such as RC Pro Am, Castlevania, Mike Tyson's Punch Out) in Boots for a couple of years before Xmas 1990.
I actually received the Turtles pack for my birthday in December 1990 (and it was the only time I ever saw that particular bundle. Many friends received a NES that Xmas but none got the Turtles pack).
I'd actually wanted a NES two Xmasses previous to this though, but had instead got a Commodore 64 on the advice of my well-meaning brother.
My local Boots had a Select system that I used to play a lot. First time I actually played a NES was a friend who had been to the States and got one, which would have been '87-88.
The Turtles pack did have a large impact in terms of sales.
Oh, I'm not disputing that at all. Just round my way most people seemed to have the more expensive action set with one or two having the basic control deck with SMB bundled.
Another friend who missed out at christmas got his NES the follwoing summer from Argos - a control deck bundled with Super Mario Bros 2. I've never seen that set pop up anywhere else either - I guess it was an Argos exclusive.