The original Nintendo Entertainment System  - Model #NES-001

The version 1, Model NES – 001, came with the pack-in game Super Mario Bros (with many pack-in variations thereafter). What distinguished the model 1, affectionately nicknamed the “toaster,” from other game consoles of the time was the unique front-loading mechanism it employed. The now infamous "Zero insertion force" (ZIF) cartridge socket, which ironically had many of us “forcing our carts in,” in all kinds of unique ways just to get the games to load, was orphaned in 1993 due to countless hardware failures of the 72 pin socket. The NES model 1 bore a simple color scheme, with 2 shades of gray, with black trim, sheathed over a prominently rectangular 8 x 10x 3.5 inch shell. The cartridge slot, covered by a small hinged door, bears the words “Nintendo Entertainment System” branded in red across the front of the system.

Version  two of the Nintendo Entertainment System

Model #NES-002

The model 2; NES - 002, commonly known as the "Top Loader", had both similarities and distinct differences from the original version. The shell was reduced to a mere 7.5 x 6 x 2.625 inches, being easily lost in the model 1’s shadow. It bore the classic color scheme, with the upper shell daunting a light grey while the underside contrasted a much darker hue. The shell was sporty, for lack of a better term, abandoning the geometric simplicity that once defined the franchise. It also sported a red cylindrical sliding power switch instead of the original boxy push-button. In this version the LED power indicator was no more, and even the cartridge port was reverted to the industry standard top loading format which was perceived to be much more reliable. The trade-off, however, was that the NES 2 offered only "RF connector" RF outputs instead of the RF and "RCA connector" RCA (mono) outputs offered on the original, delivering poorer quality sound and visuals to the consumer.

When Nintendo emerged on the scene, with this 8 bit console, the video game industry was in dire straits after nearly flat-lining in the crash of 1983. Nintendo leveraged their new product not simply as “a video game system,” but rather as a well rounded (family oriented) “Entertainment System,” in hopes that this creative marketing would aid them in recapturing lost ground in the home console-gaming market. I personally could have cared less how they marketed it though; as my intentions were more selfishly oriented (I didn’t plan on sharing my Nintendo). In hindsight, I would never tell you that I thought this system blew, as I still covet many 8-bit NES titles today, but I do recall many an evening wrapped up with the version 1 NES frantically blowing in my carts for a little game-play.