Nintendo’s Famicom Game Console Marks 40th Anniversary Sat.

Tokyo (Jiji Press)—Saturday marked 40 years since Japanese game maker Nintendo Co. released the iconic Family Computer home video game console, known abroad as the Nintendo Entertainment System, or NES.

The console boomed in popularity thanks to hit games, such as the Super Mario series, many of which still retain a wide following among gaming fans.

The Family Computer, also known as the Famicom, went on sale in Japan in July 1983. The console became popular as it enabled players to enjoy a variety of games on television sets at home, at a time when playing at gaming arcades was the mainstream.

Nintendo sold 61.91 million units of the console globally until production was discontinued in 2003.

Many companies have released gaming consoles since the creation of the Famicom, increasing competition in the market. In recent years, the popularity of consoles that allow players to feel as if they are inside the game world through virtual reality technology has broadened the ways people play games.

Meanwhile, there is also strong demand for “retro games.” Nintendo has released some of its old games on the latest Nintendo Switch console through its paid subscription service, offering the same sights and sounds that players enjoyed while playing on the Famicom.

Nintendo plans to release a special website commemorating the 40-year anniversary, offering a look back at the origins of still-popular game franchises such as Super Mario and the Legend of Zelda, as well as at past games including those developed by other makers.

Nintendo hopes that the anniversary will be an opportunity for game fans and many others to reflect on the history of the Famicom, the starting point of the company’s gaming console business.