It took five years but I finally found it: the very first advertisement for what became the Nintendo Entertainment System, from late 1984! pic.twitter.com/6r4sv7vSst— Frank Cifaldi (@frankcifaldi) December 17, 2016
Frank Cifaldi is a game developer and video game archivist—he maintains a tumblr of ”old video game things that are new to the Internet” and is starting a Video Game History Foundation—and for five years, one of the old video game things he has been looking for was the picture above, the original U.S. ad for the Nintendo Entertainment System.
The NES was first released in Japan in 1983 as the Family Computer, and at the end of 1984, Nintendo was preparing to release the system in the U.S. The ad above appeared in the January 1985 issue of Consumer Electronics; the game console was unveiled in June at the Consumer Electronics Show.
As Kotaku reports, it took Cifaldi five years to get a hold of this ad. This was only the second time in all those years he spotted a copy of this issue of the magazine on eBay, he said on Twitter. (Actually—only the second time he’d seen a copy of any issue of the magazine, he says.)
The same issue of the magazine also ran a picture of the gaming system, Cifaldi found:
They’ve got it under a cloth like it’s a surprise but there was a picture of it like five pages ago. pic.twitter.com/HrQ93VRn1e— Frank Cifaldi (@frankcifaldi) December 17, 2016
On the same thread, other fans posted a similar image that can be found at New York’s Nintendo store:
But Cifaldi says they’re a little bit different. The image in New York is the cover of the brochure Nintendo handed out at CES. To the untrained eye, it might not make much difference, but for an archivist, it’s an important distinction.