My First Nintendo 'Console'

I may have explained this a few times already, but growing up in Australia in the 1980s usually meant growing up without Nintendo. The NES was here, and people bought it, but it was never the sensation it was elsewhere. Most kids/adults played on computers or Sega machines.

That didn't stop me wanting one, though.

One of the Nintendo Entertainment System's problems in Australia was that, at the time, it was very expensive, and this being the years before we were all awash in disposable income and store loyalty cards and interest free purchasing deals, my parents simply couldn't afford one. We had a Commodore 64, and that was that.

Even though I really, really wanted one.

So they came up with a brilliant compromise. They bought me a Game & Watch Micro Vs unit.

A later adaptation of Nintendo's pioneering handheld video game handhelds, the Micro Vs was an attempt at blending the simplicity of a G&W title with the multiplayer, control pad-using fun of a NES or Famicom.

First released in 1984, they came in this incredible clamshell design with the screen housed in the top, and upon opening you'd find these two little control pads snuggled underneath. Because this was the days before wireless technology, both pads had to be wired, Nintendo's ingenious solution to the storage issue being to have their cables "wound". When inside the machine in storage, the cords were wound inside the pad itself, and when you wanted to play, you could unwind them and the cord would emerge.

The game I had was Donkey Kong 3, a pretty simple affair in which both players had to buzz wasps with insecticide. There were a few others, like Donkey Kong Hockey, but yeah, they were Game & Watch games, they were all roughly the same deal. Move some thing around while avoiding or hitting other things.

Now, the arsehole kid part of me knew this wasn't a Nintendo Entertainment System. I couldn't swap cartridges, it didn't plug into my TV, it hadn't cost hundreds of dollars.

The rest of me didn't care. I was, I think, six or seven. I had no idea these things existed before I was given one, I was the only kid at my school with one, and as a young male I loved how cool the thing was, with its opening case and weird wrapping cables. It was one of the best presents I ever got as a kid.

Total Recall is a look back at the history of video games through their characters, franchises, developers and trends.


Comments

    Cant say I agree, growing up I, and most people I knew, had a NES. Sega didnt really take off amongst my peers until the Megadrive came on the scene.

    I had one of these as well though and it was AWESOME!

    Have you still got it? I imagine it'd likely be worth a fair bit nowadays. Also interesting how the controllers in the image are kinda backwards - P1 on the right, P2 on the left. Is that just how its laid in the image or is that how it was intended to be played?

    Yeah, most people I knew had a NES, it was the Sega that was the rarity.

    I grew up in New Zealand and no one I knew had a NES. It was very heavily Sega as far as I could tell, especially in the Mega Drive era. Wasn't until the N64 that I started seeing a bit more Nintendo stuff, and even them the Playstation dominated.

    Comments are weird - in my town no one owned a NES. They didn't leases NES games at the video store. The first Nintendo I saw was a SNES.

      Agreed, maybe in the cities it was different but the only time I got to play an NES was in the store displays (remember when you used to be able to do that! That's how I played Mario 2 and the original Zelda!

      I don't know that the Master System was more widespread but it was more agressively promoted, however more people I knew had a C64 than any console!

      I had heaps of Game & Watch games though - the best ones were Climber and GoldCliff, I also got Boxing from the Queen Vic Markets.

      Didn't get a "console" though until the Game Boy and didn't buy a fully fledged console until the last year of the SNES (when it came with Yoshi's Island)

    I got Donkey Kong Hockey when I was younger. If I put batteries in it, it'd probably still work.

    Wow, I've never seen that thing before! I was lucky enough to get a DK Game & Watch when my Dad went to Japan on business... this was before anyone here had ever seen one... I was the king of the primary school playground for at least a week :)

    NES was definately more popular in my neck of the woods

      + 1

        I love reading these articles because they're short but inrmfoative.

    Player one on the RIGHT? Whoa!

    But yeah, plus one for the Nintendo dominance. Can only remember one friend who had a Sega in primary school, and can only think of one other person I know now who had one back then too.

    Sega all the way.
    Knew a couple of people with NES's, one guy with a SNES, and plenty of Game Boys, but as far as home consoles were concerned Sega was the main choice (Until the N64 I suppose)

    Maybe the consoles were distrubed to different places at different times, definitely seems to be a mixed recollection. Maybe people only saw the consoles they had and assumed everyone else had them too. :P

    Game and Watch, Octopus was my first Nintendo. Me and my brother had loads of G&Ws.

    +1 SEGA.

    Very rarely did someone have a NES that I saw, and if they did, they only had Super Mario.

    All my friends had Sega machines. To this day I've never even played an NES.

    I had the one pictured.. still got it somewhere too..

    You had to grab drops of insect repellant from the edge of the screen then shoot it from the 3 levels to push the bees towards the other player till someone got stung..

    Pretty sure I was able to clock it.. That's right kiddies, the correct use of the term 'clocking'. 999 points then the counter ticked over. None of this killing the final boss 'clocking' bullshit people talk about these days.. oh god, I'm getting old.

      How's this - on the old Fire G&W on one particularly legendary car trip I got to 998!

    I only knew one person growing up that had a Megadrive, though when I was old enough to play games the SNES was out and I knew few people with a NES, though tonnes with a SNES

    My first Nintendo's were the Nintendo Game and Watch hand held things.
    I have Parachute, Helmet, Mickey Mouse and Popeye.
    Theyre in a box somewhere.

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