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Nintendo's Ups and Downs

Nintendo's Ups and Downs
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The Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) began storming North American households with graphics capabilities 20 years ago that were well beyond the capabilities of other consoles of that era. The games were fun to play and Nintendo was essentially printing money with its new console. So much so, that it dominated the market with a 90% share. Of course, when you're the 800-pound gorilla on the block, you also open yourself to attack and self-important arrogance. Now it's time to look back and see what humbled this one-time juggernaut into a mewling underdog.

Virtual Boy

One of the first things that comes to mind is Nintendo's Virtual Boy console. Spawned by consumer demand, this was Nintendo's first attempt at a new interface for playing games. While the idea of creating "true 3D" games seemed nifty at the time, the end result was an eye-strain-inducing monstrosity that gave absolutely no consideration to ergonomics. Back and neck strain were almost guaranteed. And then the red lights and blurry images made it incredibly difficult to play for extended periods of time without migraines All things considered, with careful product testing, the Virtual Boy would never have made it to market.

The Virtual Boy wasn't the only gimmick to be panned by consumers and the press alike. Remember R.O.B., or Robotic Operating Buddy? It came with Gyromite and after that, there was only one other game released for it. Sure, it was neat and all, but it all came down to product support. Developers had little incentive to develop games for it, and the public saw it as just another gimmick.

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