The Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) was released in Japan as the Famicom in 1983 and as the NES in 1985 in other countries. For many people it was an introduction to the world of video games that included iconic titles such as the Super Mario Bros series, Duck Hunt and The Legend of Zelda.
The Sega Master System was released in 1985, initiating the Nintendo vs Sega console wars that would continue until Sony entered with the PlayStation in 1994 and Microsoft with the Xbox in 2001. The console you started with often determined your ‘side’ in the console wars. If you had a Nintendo, you’d argue why Mario was better than Sonic. If you had a Sega, you’d point out how Dr. Robotnik was a better end boss than Bowser.
Having a NES and upgrading to a Sega Genesis/Mega Drive was controversial. You were expected to upgrade to a Super Nintendo. Making the big switch, however, could be justified if there had been a big video game release. Super Mario Kart and Sonic the Hedgehog 2 were acceptable justifications. We see similar elements of this today with Apple and Google products. Apple customers have a strong attachment to its brand and making the switch from iOS to Android can be a big deal for some.
The simplicity of the NES game pad reflects how far gaming has come since then. With only directional controls, start & select, and A B buttons, there were limitations to what you could do with an 8-bit CPU. In comparison, an Xbox Series X controller has 18 buttons.
The Nintendo Zapper is an iconic gaming accessory that often came with the NES. Mostly associated with the game Duck Hunt, it was a great for target practice and hand-eye coordination unless you did what so many others did back then… walk right up to the television screen and point the Zapper at the target. No aiming skill required!