In an interview with USGamer, Masayuki Uemura, the man who designed the NES console, talks about the birth of the console and the challenges faced at launch. The console was first released in Japan on July 15th 1985, so has celebrated its 30th anniversary this year.
In the article, Uemura talks about the NES development and the challenges you face when developing a console:
“To tell you the truth, development is a bit boring, actually, because if the thing that you’re making doesn’t sell well, you’re in trouble… and if it sells too well, you’re also in trouble.” He chuckled. “You’ll get praise if you create something that sells really well, but it’s never going to please 100 percent of the people, and all those claims or complaints that people have end up coming back to the developer at some point.”
He also talks about the consoles controller design:
“There were, as you can probably imagine, a lot of difficulties we faced in doing things for the first time in building this hardware, but one of the most difficult was, ‘What shape and layout will the controller have?’ This has a touch of coincidence about it, too, but some of those people who had gone to work with Gunpei Yokoi’s team eventually found their way back to our team. So one of the ideas that came up because of that was, ‘Well, we’ve got this Game & Watch multi-screen Donkey Kong that uses the controller format of a plus control pad and buttons.’ So we hooked that up and got it working.”
“At the time, we were prototyping various ideas for the Famicom hardware, as well as controllers. When we took this idea that had been used for controls with the Donkey Kong Game & Watch and got it working on the Famicom prototype with that same style of controls, we immediately knew, ‘OK, this feels right; there’s something good about this.’ That means that there are actually a few people who can claim that they invented the controller for the Famicom!”
There’s much more to this interesting article with Masayuki Uemura on all things NES, you can check out the full feature here.