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Talkback: Super Mario's Release Date Is Missing!

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--- Quote from: DavidDayton on January 02, 2011, 09:47:01 PM ---Yes, after writing up the article, I have to admit that Oct. 31st is on the far side of "early" - but some point between Oct. 31st and November 30th seems to be the likely period.
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Oh, I completely agree.  I certainly think we're looking at sometime in that time frame.

--- Quote --- I wonder if anyone at NCL would know the answer to this - they were the ones producing the cartridges, after all.
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They might have the records, or it may be the same situation at NOA - all the "oldies" involved in it are long gone and they just defer to the standard FAQ database.  Worth a shot if you can get answers from NCL, but just make sure and check the source of their answer.

--- Quote ---The other problem, of course, is that even with the Macy's ad isn't "proof" of the availability of the title -- it's just proof that the title was expected to be available.
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Yes, that was an issue I had with that as well but figured to let it ride at Wikipedia because it was enough by Wikipedia's standards on verifiability, and because we had previously come up with the "by March '86" because that was the earliest we could find with an actual listing and price of Mario at the time.  So this at least seemed a suitable replacement to go "by November '85" with.   Most of the other '85 ads were elsuive with actual titles, like the one Xenon just posted, and that was the only one dug up from '85 that had an actual listing with prices.  Personally though, if I were writing someting up for RetroGamer or another publication, I wouldn't use that as concrete proof without stating a disclaimer mentioning what you said - that it's still not concrete that it was there because items are often advertised that aren't in stock yet because of unexpected delays.  Really in order to have a fully concrete proof of it you'd need to see some other things as well - like photos of the actual store display with SMB, or even a sales receipt with SMB on it.

--- Quote ---  I'd love to find someone with a receipt... there have to be some October '85 NES owners out there, somewhere.
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Yes, or even some Christmas photos of someone opening it up playing it during Christmas '85 there in New York, assuming their camera had a set time stamp or they had it developed during '85 (as sometimes developers put date stamps on the back).

--- Quote ---I'd also love a full image of the ROB marketing display.
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Does Tilden have any photos?  Or she might still be in touch with someone from the original team that might?

--- Quote ---(What's interesting, by the way, is that I wasn't aware of the bulk of the research going on over at Wikipedia until I was nearly done with my own research over here.  It might have saved me a lot of time in the archives...)
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Well, you should get involved over there, in the Video Games project and the sub Nintendo project.  Really, the people that contribute to shaping up articles and their content are people like you, I, Xenon, etc.  People are familiar with how to dig up references and verify material.  And we can always use more.

--- Quote ---Oh, it's also worth mentioning for anyone interested that I tried to avoid giving a specific date in the article - I end by giving four possible release dates/periods, and admit my bias towards something close to October 31st.  More evidence seems to point to mid November, though.

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Yah, that's what I'm leaning strongly towards as well.  At the very least we can say it's certainly wasn't Oct. 18th, and it certainly was before March '86. ;)

Now what's interesting as well are the discrepancies on the success of the '85 test marketing.  According to Kent's book and the mention of Nintendo's test marketing during January '86 CES coverage, it was not a success.  Rather, the LA test marketing was much more successful.  Additionally, all three consoles (NES, 7800, SMS) were given equal billing by the time of the June '86 CES as a sign as a possibly revived industry, and it wasn't apparent until after the '86 national launch and Christmas season (i.e. early '87) that Nintendo was to be the dominant console.
If you listen to Nintendo's current PR and marketing via the database regurgitation, you would believe it was an instant success and they revived the industry right away there in the limited test market in '85.

Interestingly as well, I also have one of the only known June '85 brochures promoting the NES when they were switching from the AVS to NES format.  I have to assume it's why the actual AVS control deck is missing from the AVS display in New York, because it looks like they modded it for use in the photoshoot of this brouchre (i.e. drilled and and did a few other things, it looks like the AVS deck with holes made for wired controllers, and the AVS controllers connected to it by said wires).


--- Quote from: martyg on January 03, 2011, 12:03:25 AM ---Does Tilden have any photos?  Or she might still be in touch with someone from the original team that might?

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So far we've been unsuccessful with photos.  The one image we DO have of the ROB setup does seem to show SMB as one of the 17 titles in the display, but it is blurry enough to be in contention.  However, with the other references, it was enough to show that DK Jr. Math and Mach Rider couldn't possibly be part of the original launch series and that SMB was, at the very least, intended to be part of that.

It seems like there should be a better place to do game history investigation/reporting than the Wiki subpages, though, especially given the fluid nature of the Wiki, its inability to cite itself as a source, etc. etc. etc..  I'd love to do more game industry history writing - I just haven't found a way to make it financially viable for me -- yet.  Real life and all that. :)

This is interesting.

Since the US Copyright Office site has a publication date of 1985-10-31 for SMB's instruction booklet, I decided to check out the rest of the NES launch games, and that date came up again for Kung Fu's packaging (registration # VA0000519763) and Pinball's instruction booklet (TX0002242306). Everything else seems to check out, with publication dates on or before 1985-10-18, except for SMB's packaging, which is 1985-10-19.

So why does everyone remember 17 games at launch, when Kung Fu, Pinball, and Super Mario apparently weren't "published" until at least two weeks later?


--- Quote from: Deezer on January 17, 2011, 12:56:33 PM ---So why does everyone remember 17 games at launch, when Kung Fu, Pinball, and Super Mario apparently weren't "published" until at least two weeks later?

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The problem is that people are confusing what the context of "launch" actually is in this case.  Launch can refer to a date or a period.  As a date it can refer to the press intro date, the date when they first made if available to retailers, the date it first actually went on sale (which we know the first one wasn't sold until after the 18th), etc.

Oct. 18th was really just when they started approaching stores in the New York area to get in to them, yet it frequently gets cited as the "launch date" as if on that day you could walk in to any store in New York and find it.  The "launch" in my opinion really refers to the entire process of launching, of approaching stores and getting in to them - which took place from mid October through well in to November.  So technically those staggered releases on a few titles would still qualify as being part of the "launch" when you look at it in that context.

So there's an M1 (ROB) display up on eBay. Oddly, the Super Mario Bros. screen is different from the photo that 1up got even though the rest of the display is the same. At least there's a good enough photo that you can not only make out the games, but read the descriptions!


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