The Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) was released in Japan in 1983 under the name Famicom. This was short for Family Computer. Hundreds of games were produced for the system and it sold very well.
It had one of the most unique accessories too; R.O.B (Robotic Operating Buddy). It was controlled by flashes from the screen generated by the game itself. It couldn't do much except move around some discs from one platform to another. It was popular because it was something different.
The NES was home to some of the biggest franchises in video game history and there are still games being made based on characters first seen on the NES. Characters like Mario (who technically was first seen in the Arcades in Donkey-Kong game, though he was called then only "jumpman"), Samus (Metroid), and Link.
Other companies like Sega (Master System) and Atari (Atari 7800) tried to get a piece of the pie with their own systems but neither of them were able to come anywhere near the sales figures of the Nintendo. There is no doubt that the NES was the most popular 8-bit gaming system.
In the early '90s Nintendo redesigned the NES. It was top-loading design and the controllers looked alot like SNES controller except with only 2 buttons. The Famicom (japanese version of the NES) had the longest production life of any console ever to this day from 1983 to 2004 in Japan. It shifted 60 million units in its life time!
A bunch of accessories were available for the NES & Famicom, including : lightgun, ROB the robot, disk drives, BASIC keyboard, dancing mat, power glove, additional controllers and much more...
END OF PRODUCTION
NES : 1992 Japanese Famicom : October 2003
BUILT IN SOFTWARE / GAMES
8-way thumbpad, 4 buttons (Start, Select. A, B)
8-bit PPU (Picture Processing Unit)
256 x 240 64 sprites on screen, but only 8 per scanline / sprite size : 8x8 or 8x16 pixels
52 Available / 16 On-screen / 4 colours per Sprite