Nintendo’s Lost 8-Bit Console

Before the NES, there was the AVS.

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Anyone with a passing knowledge of American video game history knows that Nintendo revitalized the market with the debut of its Nintendo Entertainment System in 1985, but few have ever seen the NES’ unrealized predecessor: the AVS!

The Nintendo Advanced Video System was demonstrated at the Winter Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in January of 1985, and was never seen again, being quietly replaced by the NES we all know mere months later. 

The main unit was functionally the same as the NES, though its sleek design and optional accessories seemed aimed at more of a high-tech market. It even promised what every game console of this era promised: an affordable gateway into the world of home computing! Buy the (relatively) inexpensive game machine, and down the road, merely buy the tape drive and keyboard add-ons to become a part of the home computer revolution!

The VGHF archives includes an extremely rare specimen: a fold-out brochure from the AVS’ only public appearance, way back in 1985 (though it would be temporarily displayed under glass decades later at the Nintendo World Store). We have heard tales of another copy existing in Nintendo’s archives, but other than that, ours is the only one we know of! We scanned the whole thing way back when we launched in 2017, but a lot of people may have missed it. It’s in a gallery below, for convenience!

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Today’s sponsor is iam8bit! Based in Los Angeles, iam8bit makes incredibly cool video game merch, soundtracks, and other premium goodies.

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Come back tomorrow to see a look at retro gaming…in the PS1 era.

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