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  • Hi, I'm Andre Meadows and this is Crash Course Games.

  • Today we're gonna talk about the second half of the 1980s,

  • when the video game industry was reborn, largely due to the influence of Nintendo.

  • Now, after the great North American video game crash in 1983, which was called "The Atari Shock" in Japan,

  • the video game console industry in the United States was crushed!

  • "Odyssey", "Colecovision", "Intellivision" and others left the marketplace. "Atari" was sold off.

  • The U.S. home console and cartridge market, which was worth nearly 3 billion dollars in 1982,

  • fell to 100 million dollars in 1985, according to Nintendo of America.

  • And those numbers aren't adjusted for inflation!

  • The number of console games produced also dropped dramatically.

  • But at the same time, the home computer market was growing,

  • and video games for the Commodore 64 and Apple II looked like the future of gaming

  • So much, in fact, that "Video Games Player" magazine changed their name to "Computer Games" ... traitors!

  • But the video game crash that we talked about last time, happening in the United States, didn't happen in Japan.

  • And Nintendo, which started as a playing card company, would bring video gaming back.

  • How did they start? And what changed everything in the Mid-'80s?

  • Well, grab a hold of your plumber's hat, your Triforce, and don't get turned into an eggplant - cause we're gonna find out!

  • [Theme Music]

  • Nintendo was founded in 1889 (Now, that's old-school!) by a young Fusajiro Yamauchi,

  • to distribute his handmade playing cards.

  • For eight decades, Nintendo made cards and toys.

  • And the company still produces a line of playing cards today, but mostly as a tribute to its past.

  • Nintendo broke into the video game market in the 1970s,

  • when they won the rights to distribute the original Magnavox Odyssey console in Japan.

  • They developed a string of arcade hits with "Donkey Kong", "Ice Climbers" and "Mario Bros.", and then turned to handheld games.

  • The "Game & Watch" handhelds were one of their first hardware products, and they were extremely popular;

  • the other reason you have that little 2D silhouette - Mr. Game & Watch - in your Smash Bros. games.

  • Nintendo's experience in licensing the "Odyssey", plus its success with the Game & Watch handheld,

  • led the company to develop a new game console for the Japanese market,

  • which had been relatively untouched in the crash. Let's go to the Thought Bubble!

  • Nintendo's new console debuted in Japan as the brightly colored, red-and-white "Famicom"

  • or "Family Computer Home Gaming Console".

  • It sold more than 2.5 million copies by 1985, which led Nintendo to consider the North American market.

  • In 1985, the company introduced the Nintendo Entertainment System, or "NES".

  • They were so wary of backlash from the crash and competition from the home computer markets,

  • that they removed all mentions of video games.

  • To distance the product from the recent industry crash, they invented a whole new vocabulary.

  • Consoles were called "Control Decks", and game cartridges were called "Game Packs".

  • The system was colored gray, so it looked like a serious computing device.

  • It loaded games from the front, like a VCR, and not top-down like previous consoles.

  • They sold the device in toy stores rather than electronic stores, and made no-risk deals with American retailers.

  • The system had a pretty sweet futuristic light gun, known as the "NES Zapper",

  • (Take that, "Duck Hunt"!) and R.O.B., the "Robotic Operating Buddy", who seemed cool but only played two games.

  • It was really the consumer response, they made the NES succeed.

  • Nintendo's surveys of people who bought the system in the New York City Area in 1985

  • indicated that more than 90% of those who bought the NES would recommend it to friends and family.

  • One year after the NES debuted, Nintendo sold over 1.8 million units.

  • By 1989, Nintendo had a 75-80% share of the 3.4 billion dollar U.S. video game market.

  • It was clear that the U.S. gaming industry had returned, and Nintendo was Player One. Thanks, Thought Bubble!

  • Nintendo's real success, though, was its ability to create a culture around itself and its games.

  • The first thing they did was to ensure they wouldn't make the mistakes of the past.

  • Atari suffered because they didn't monitor third-party developers, some of which made terrible, rushed games that flooded the market.

  • That's one of the reasons why we had the crash.

  • So Nintendo tightly controlled the games that appeared on its system with the official "Seal of Quality".

  • These golden seals told players that they held a quality product.

  • Nintendo wouldn't let Third Party developers make NES games unless they agreed to a contract

  • to make games only for Nintendo for two years and to only make five games a year for the system.

  • These were seen as quality controls.

  • They enforced this with a special computer chip called the "10NES"

  • that controlled what games would work on the system.

  • Though, later, developers got around them.

  • This allowed for quality games that created loyalty in the fanbase.

  • Players trusted that Nintendo games would be fun, look great and would actually work.

  • ... with some exceptions... LJN...

  • Nintendo also encouraged the loyalty of its customers by creating the "Nintendo Fun Club",

  • which sent users a newsletter with gameplay tips and news about popular and upcoming games.

  • The newsletter was a success. With subscriptions nearing 600,000 by the end of 1987.

  • They replaced this newsletter with "Nintendo Power" magazine in 1988.

  • In Nintendo Power, you could write letters to the editor, enter contests, get exclusive merch and comics,

  • get advice from gameplay counsellors...

  • This helped create a special Nintendo community for players to exist.

  • And the crucial element of Nintendo's success was the quality of its games.

  • Advanced technology allowed for more detailed graphics and sound, and longer and more complex games.

  • Games like "Super Mario Bros.", "Legend of Zelda", "Kid Icarus" and "Metroid"

  • captivated players and gave them hours of gameplay.

  • Characters like "Q*bert" and "Pac-Man" were cute, but they didn't have a lot of back story.

  • Mario and Luigi, from "Super Mario Bros.", were plumbers running around the Mushroom Kingdom

  • trying to save Princess Peach, or "Princess Toadstool" back then, from Bowser, King of the Koopas.

  • Okay, it's not like it's Les Misérables or anything,

  • but it was something for players to get attached to and connect with.

  • And audiences definitely connected with the game,

  • "Super Mario Bros." has sold over 40 million copies since its release.

  • Now, while the Super Mario Bros. were hopping around the Mushroom Kingdom,

  • "The Legend of Zelda" opened the world of Hyrule to players.

  • The game had varied environments, like forests, deserts and dungeons, that unfolded in every direction.

  • Now, while Mario constantly moved from left to right in his race to save the princess from the evil beast, Bowser,

  • players could move Link in any direction on his quest to save Princess Zelda from the evil beast Ganon.

  • Nintendo had a thing for saving princesses from evil beasts.

  • This sense of exploring a giant video game world was also new to players.

  • In The Legend of Zelda the aduience was in charge of the pace of play.

  • They could go where they wanted and take as much time as they wanted in the land of Hyrule.

  • In Metroid, Samus explored the open-ended planet of Zebes, with an entire ecosystem of Metroids and other aliens to fight.

  • This complex game had multiple endings, and areas that were only accessible after players found certain power-ups.

  • And speaking of Metroid, we're gonna play a little bit right now.

  • So, watch out, Mother Brain! It's time to level up!

  • Ooooh! Listen to that eerie music! Whooo!

  • That was what was interesting about Metroid: Unlike some of the other NES games,

  • Metroid had this dark, eerie feel and the music played a large part in that.

  • All right, I'm gonna jump right into this. But which way do I go?! [CHUCKLES]

  • So you could go left, you could go right, up, down...

  • Because they were open-world, you had these giant maps as part of the game.

  • And that's why Nintendo Power was such a big deal, because you could get secret information from Nintendo Power,

  • that you couldn't find anywhere else, on how to play some of these games.

  • Aaah! [Laughter]

  • Back off, man, back off!

  • No! [Laughter]

  • Now I'm just casually playing through the game but what's interesting about games like "Metroid"

  • is that people have played them so many times and know the maps so well

  • that they've actually started doing "Speed Runs", where they'll just try to get through it as fast as possible.

  • And the reason why you even had speed runners, or just people being able to find every single secret in the game,

  • is because you had this nice home experience of playing these games.

  • And another reason that "Metroid" had replayability was because it had five different endings.

  • And what was very fascinating about some of those endings was that it revealed

  • something that we all know now but didn't know back then: That Samus is female!

  • She gets to join the ranks with Ms. Pac-Man.

  • So, that's Metroid. I guess Mother Brain is gonna live another day 'cause we're gonna move on

  • but it's definitely fun to revisit this game.

  • Metroid, Super Mario Bros., Duck Hunt, Kid Icarus, The Legend of Zelda...

  • Nintendo brought gaming back with excitement. And Excite Bike!

  • And a level of commitment to quality that brought the video game industry back from the brink.

  • Nintendo's games showcased improvements in underlining game technology

  • but they also reflected a maturing industry.

  • With these new tools, game designers created immersive worlds and empowered players as never before.

  • To borrow Nintendo's trademark advertising slogan: "Now you're playing with power!"

  • But Nintendo won't be alone in the video game race for long,

  • thanks to another company with a little blue hedgehog. We'll see you next time!

  • Crash Course Games is filmed in the Chad and Stacey Emigholz Studio in Indianapolis, Indiana,

  • and it's made with the help of all these nice people.

  • If you'd like to keep Crash Course free for everyone forever, you can support the series at Patreon,

  • a crowdfunding platform that allows you to support the content you love.

  • Speaking of Patreon, we'd like to thank all our Patreons in general,

  • and we'd like to specifically thank our High Chancellor of Knowledge, Morgan Lizop, and our Vice Principal, Michael Hunt.

  • Thank you for your support!

Hi, I'm Andre Meadows and this is Crash Course Games.

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    羅紹桀 posted on 2016/07/24
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