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The Nintendo Entertainment System (often referred to as the NES or simply Nintendo) is an 8-bit video game console released by Nintendo in North America, Brazil, Europe, and Australia in 1985. In Japan, it was released as the Family Computer (ファミリーコンピュータ Famirī Konpyūta?) or simply, the Famicom (ファミコン Famikon?). In South Korea, the hardware was licensed to Hyundai Electronics, which marketed it as the Comboy (컴보이).[5]

The most successful gaming console of its time in Asia and North America with Nintendo claiming to have sold over 60 million NES units worldwide,[6] it helped revitalize the US video game industry following the video game crash of 1983. It set the standard for subsequent consoles in everything from game design to controller layout. The NES was the first console for which the manufacturer openly courted third-party developers.

Metroid was released for the Famicom Disk System in 1986 and for the NES in North America in August 1987.

Metroid is included as one of the 30 games pre-loaded onto the NES Classic Edition, a smaller reproduction of the original NES released on November 11, 2016,[7] and produced until December 2018, with no plans for redistributing them for the Holiday season. Similarly, it is also included as one of the 30 games pre-loaded onto the Nintendo Classic Mini: Family Computer (the Japanese equivalent to the NES Classic Edition) released on November 11, 2016 (despite Metroid technically never being released on the Famicom itself, but rather on the Famicom Disk System).


The game controller used for both the NES and the Famicom featured an oblong brick-like design with a simple four button layout: two round buttons labelled "B" and "A", a "START" button, and a "SELECT" button. Additionally, the controllers utilized the cross-shaped D-pad, designed by Nintendo employee Gunpei Yokoi for Nintendo Game & Watch systems, to replace the bulkier joysticks on earlier gaming consoles’ controllers.

The original model Famicom featured two game controllers, both of which were hardwired to the back of the console. The second controller lacked the START and SELECT buttons, but featured a small microphone. Relatively few games made use of this feature. The earliest produced Famicom units initially had square A and B buttons. This was changed to the circular designs because of the square buttons being caught in the controller casing when pressed down, and glitches within the hardware causing the system to freeze occasionally while playing a game.

The NES dropped the hardwired controllers, instead featuring two custom 7-pin ports on the front of the console. Also in contrast to the Famicom, the controllers included with the NES were identical to each other—the second controller lacked the microphone that was present on the Famicom model, and possessed the same START and SELECT buttons as the primary controller.

A number of special controllers designed for use with specific games were released for the system, though very few such devices proved particularly popular. Such devices included, but were not limited to, the NES Zapper (a light gun), the Power Pad, the R.O.B. and the ill-fated Power Glove. The original Famicom featured a deepened DA-15 expansion port on the front of the unit, which was used to connect most auxiliary devices. On the NES, these special controllers were generally connected to one of the two control ports on the front of the unit.

Near the end of the NES's lifespan, upon the release of the AV Famicom and the top-loading NES 2, the design of the game controllers was modified slightly. Though the original button layout was retained, the redesigned device abandoned the "brick" shell in favor of a "dog bone" shape reminiscent of the controllers of the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. In addition, the AV Famicom joined its international counterpart and dropped the hardwired controllers in favor of detachable controller ports. However, the controllers included with the Famicom AV, despite being the "dog bone" type, had cables which were a short three feet long, as opposed to the standard six feet of NES controllers.

In recent years the original NES controller has become one of the most recognizable symbols of the system. Nintendo has mimicked the look of the controller in several recent products, from promotional merchandise to limited edition versions of the Game Boy Advance SP and Game Boy Micro handheld game consoles.

The U-Force, a human-controlled hardware for the NES, had the suggestion of playing Metroid.

Metroid games through the Nintendo Entertainment System[]

  • Metroid (NES's Metroid had Samus playable in a Justin Bailey suit, while Famicom's had enhanced sound.)

Metroid cameos on the Nintendo Entertainment System[]

  • Kid Icarus
  • Famicom Wars
  • Tetris


  1. ^ a b For distribution purposes, Europe and Australasia were divided into two regions by Nintendo. The first of these regions consisted of France, the Netherlands, West Germany, Norway, Denmark and Sweden, and saw the NES released during 1986. The console was released in the second region, consisting of the United Kingdom, Republic of Ireland, and Italy, as well as Australia and New Zealand the following year.
  2. ^ The Famicom Disk System peripheral utilized floppy diskette-based games.
  3. ^ The original Japanese model of the Famicom included no controller ports.
  4. ^ With 40.24 million copies sold, Super Mario Bros. is the highest selling video game of all time. It should be noted, however, that the “NES Action Set” (also known as the “NES Power Pack”), a retail set consisting of the NES deck, two game controllers, an NES Zapper, and a Super Mario Bros./Duck Hunt multicart, accounted for the majority of these sales. Super Mario Bros. 3, with 17.28 million copies sold, is the best-selling video game never packaged with a console system.[1]
  5. ^ Breaking the Ice: South Korea Lifts Ban on Japanese Culture (html). Trends in Japan (December 7). Retrieved on May 19, 2007.
  6. ^ Classic Systems—Nintendo Entertainment System (html). Nintendo. Retrieved on February 11, 2006.
  7. ^