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13News Now Vault: How Nintendo changed the video game industry forever

The Nintendo Entertainment System made its U.S. debut on October 18, 1985.

NORFOLK, Va. — On October 18, 1985, the Nintendo Entertainment System first made its debut in the United States.

Shoppers were getting ready for the holiday rush, and outside of VHS players and answering machines, the video gaming system was starting to create buzz.

To our surprise now, it actually took a few years to stick. The Nintendo frenzy didn’t peak here in Hampton Roads until the holiday shopping season of 1988.

When it debuted, the NES was priced at $179.99.

“[Nintendo] is sending them as fast as they can,” said a toy store manager in a story we ran on Black Friday that year. “The demand across the nation is causing this shortage.”

The NES kept kids entertained after school, but it was considered a hobby, at best. 

But almost four decades later, it’s become a lot more than that. You can make a living playing video games today.

Esports programs are widely available at colleges and universities across the country, including here in Hampton Roads.

Some local high schools have even started clubs and incorporated video games into their curriculum. Esports is a billion-dollar industry by itself.

Gaming has matured a lot since the birth of that little gray box and rectangle controller, but the simple concepts it first brought to the market hold up today. They’re part of the Nintendo Entertainment System's legacy, a legacy that began, back in 1985.