While most of the elements of the recently discovered NES prototype look like what released in the West, the wide release of the console saw some drastic updates to its controller and cartridges.
Marketing materials for the NES’ NYC soft release have been discovered, as Nintendo attempted to break through a petering out video game industry with a revolutionary console unlike anything seen before. Packed with a R.O.B. (then called Nintendo Video Robot) and the Duck Hunt with zapper bundle, the likenesses to the wide release of Nintendo’s home console end right about there.
Scanned and restored by retro game enthusiast Phillip Summers, these promotional flyers show off a really different looking NES controller, sans individual d-pad buttons and with square A and B buttons. Check out Summers’ scans below for a better look at this odd NES prototype.
Here is a cool one from the pile I've been scanning. This ad is all about Nintendo's NES soft launch in NYC. The focus is completely on ROB, then named Nintendo Video Robot. There's a great look at a prototype NES, which is unnamed here and looks to be using Famicom carts. pic.twitter.com/UF1RDNZBZd
— Philip Summers (@heyphilsummers) November 27, 2019
Taking a closer look, it seems as though the NES prototype console utilized Famicon cartridges, which are the slightly more boxy carts used in Japan’s release of the console. North America’s NES carts have more ridges and stand much taller than the stouter, chunkier Famicon cartridges. Here’s a closer look at the NES prototype promotional material.
And in case you were wondering, R.O.B. has, and always will, be watching; staring at you in the face, informing you that he is “the future of home entertainment” (he wasn’t).
The NES console saw a majorly successful wide release in the West in September 1986. If you dig around, perhaps you’ll be able to find one of these prototype NES consoles in the wild?