The Nintendo Entertainment System, or NES, has hit the ripe old age of 30 today. Happy birthday NES. Now, as is traditional with any birthday, the aging centre of attention needs to be embarrassed by its past.
Nintendo has had plenty of success over the years, sure. It's still going strong after many competitors like Sega and Atari have fallen by the wayside. But that’s not to say it hasn't had misses along with its hits.
From ridiculous games to really odd hardware accessories, Nintendo has tried it all. Thanks to the never-forgetting internet we're able to share all those foibles – forever.
Happy birthday Nintendo, these are your worst moments in the 30 years since the NES was born.
Anything with laser in the title, during the nineties, was going to get attention. Unfortunately without real laser guns it was also going to be met with disappointment.
The idea was a headset that allowed voice controls and laser focused interactions. In reality the plastic headset was essentially a light gun with a mic. Essentially the voice was used to fire with the eye to aim, but any noise would make it fire – and it only worked on one game.
The Adventures of Bayou Billy
If Redneck America was to be released as a game in Japan, it would be this. And it was. The cover alone gives away plenty on how this rootin' tootin' title was all about saving the girl and being a real man while doing it.
Gameplay was broad with fighting, driving, and shooting to save the lass. You could even jump between the NES controller and light gun for shooting stages. Not all bad then.
When Nintendo decided to take a trip into the virtual world of 3D gaming in 1995 the Virtual Boy was born. Before dying on its proverbial behind soon after.
This was a console in itself which used a fixed headset to transmit a red and blue style 3D image to the viewer. A controller was also attached for playing terrible games like Mario's Tennis. The console had just 22 games released in its lifespan and was destroyed by critics.
With only 1.26 million units shipped it's now considered a valuable collectors item, in case you have one cluttering your loft.
Once upon a time Domino's had a mascot, called Noid. This fella even got his own game compliments of Nintendo and Capcom.
The 2D action platformer let you control the claymation Noid who was sent to stop his evil duplicate from destroying New York City. The game actually looks alright, complete with boss battles. On top of that the title came with a $1 Domino's pizza coupon.
The name alone was enough to send most people running to their nearest game retailer to get their own Power Glove. But like most great ideas from the late eighties the reality wasn't quite so great.
While the glove did well for sales there were very few games and it was imprecise, making it tough to use. The device used microphones and speakers to detect movement of fingers and buttons could be set to do different things like fire faster. But without games to support it there was little use. A cool idea, a little ahead of its time perhaps.
Wally Bear and the NO! gang
This cuddly skateboarding lead character was created as part of a campaign to help children say no to drugs and alcohol abuse.
While the game may not have moved too many hearts or minds the campaign around it was still going strong 15 years after its release. This involved a helpline number for children with drugs and alcohol issues. So a worthwhile title then, even if it looks crazy by today's standards.
The Robotic Operating Buddy was designed to give gaming lone wolves and robotic friend to play alongside. It physically controlled the second controller for two player gaming without another human needed.
The idea was to urge shops to stock the console, showing it was aimed at children. As a result R.O.B. came bundled with the first wave of NES consoles. The fact it only worked with Gyromite and Stack Up titles meant it didn't last long, obviously.
A boy and his blob: trouble in Blobolonia
Yup, that was the actual game title. Need we say more?
The lead character is nameless and teams up with his shape-shifting blob buddy to save the world. This is done via a platform-puzzle based gaming style. The game was actually hailed as original in its gameplay style and it even got a sequel on the Game Boy.
This two foot long beast made the NES Zapper gun look like a pea shooter. It was essentially the same as the light gun, allowing for aim and shoot gaming, but giant.
This rocket launcher style gun took six AA batteries and needed to be rested on the shoulder to hold it up. A commanding weapon indeed. Sadly it only worked with 12 compatible games including Yoshi's safari, Lemmings 2 and the bundled Super Scope 6.
Roll N' Rocker
Despite the clever, yet largely irrelevant name, this product did not do well. The idea was to make the gamer the controller. By standing on the tilting platform the person could become the D-Pad. The normal controller was plugged into the unit for A and B button access.
Unfortunately this largely didn't work on most NES titles as it malfunctioned, a lot. But maybe the idea paved the way for dancing game style controls of today, so not all bad then.
Wall Street Kid
The title alone should be a dead give-away that this was going to be a dry game about trading.
The idea was to make lots of money and go on dates as well as buy expensive items. Great lessons for the kids here then.
This ridiculous accessory essentially acted as a holder for a NES controller. The idea was that it would change the angle of fingers allowing for faster button bashing. That's it.
The Speedboard was discontinued after just a few months after release.
We all know this light gun as it came with the NES and worked with Duck Hunt. A classic.