We're right on the cusp of another generation of game consoles, and whether you're an Xbox One fanperson or a PlayStation 4 zealot you probably know what's coming if you've been through a few of these cycles. The systems will launch in time for the holidays, it will have one or two decent launch titles, there will be perhaps a year or two when the new console and the old console coexist on store shelves, and then the "next generation" becomes the current generation—until we do it all again a few years from now. For gamers born in or after the 1980s, this cycle has remained familiar even as old console makers have bowed out (Sega, Atari) and new ones have taken their place (Sony, Microsoft).
It wasn't always this way.
The system that began this cycle, resuscitating the American video game industry and setting up the third-party game publisher system as we know it, was the original Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), launched in Japan on July 15, 1983 as the Family Computer (or Famicom). Today, in celebration of the original Famicom's 30th birthday, we'll be taking a look back at what the console accomplished, how it worked, and how people are (through means both legal and illegal) keeping its games alive today.