The Nintendo Entertainment System [NES for short] came out in September of 1986 around the globe and what many consider the saving grace of the video game industry. It is widely considered one of the best selling consoles of all time out beating its successor, the Super Nintendo by 11 million units.
When the console was released there were a few types to choose from:
The Control Deck
This Unit came only with NES console itself and two controllers. No games where bundled with it until later where some were bundled with Super Mario or Super Mario Bros. 3.
The Action Set
This came bundled with the NES Zapper, two controllers and Super Mario Bros/Duck Hunt. This unit later replaced the Control Deck and the Deluxe set because of its initial cheaper pricing.
The Deluxe Set
This set came with everything that the Console Deck and Action Set had plus R.O.B. The robot and all his accessories.
The LOCK OUT Chip
The NES featured the 10NES lockout chip that disabled the use of bootleg and unlicensed video game cartridges. Nintendo of America had this chip inserted in the NES for the sole purpose of the 1983 video game crash in which Atari had over saturated the market with unlicensed games. Any and all developers would need to go through Nintendo of America and get the SEAL of NINTENDO for their games to be playable on the NES and sold on the market. But this didn’t stop certain developers from trying to make unlicensed games. Most notable Developers/Publishers are: Wisdom Tree, Color Dreams, American Home Entertainment and TENGEN.
The 10NES was successful in the beginning but later on people started to discover that they could modify the chip in order to enhance the system and bypass the chip allowing for unlicensed games to be played. Although the 10NES chip was great, it also became the biggest downfall of the system mainly for one reason; Communitcation problems with the chip and cartridges leading to failing connections. This would result in the red blinking light that most people would see when turning the system on. Solutions ranging from blowing into the cartridge (don’t do this) to cleaning the cartridge with alcohol would sometimes help. In 1989, Nintendo would release the NES Cleaning Kit to help aid in those problems.
Towards the end of the NES’s lifespan, Nintendo would release a redesigned NES often called the NES Top loader effectively getting rid of the 10NES lockout chip altogether