In Japan, Nintendo launched the Famicom in 1983. Besides the two controllers, the "Famicom" later had a keyboard, helping the machine live up to its "Family Computer" moniker. The version released in the West, however, was a different story.

Nintendo was looking to bring the Famicom to North America and initially reached out to Atari to collaborate on a new game machine. The console would be branded "Atari", but Nintendo would create the hardware and software. The deal never happened, and Nintendo moved ahead with plans for its own console.

Nintendo's goal was to release a sophisticated piece of electronics. It would take the Family Computer one step further as Nintendo worked on including a keyboard, a light gun, a joystick, and even a tape recorder. The controllers and peripherals were even wireless!

With the MSX being popular for both gaming and computing for Japan, Nintendo released Family Basic in 1984. A keyboard made programming in Basic possible. And apparently Nintendo thought American gamers also wanted something more techy as opposed to a straight forward gaming system.


In 1984, Nintendo unveiled the "Advance Video System", or the AVS (see top image). The prototype was shown only once at the 1984 Consumer Electronics Show. It looked less like a game machine, and more like a computer. At CES, the Advance Video System got a tepid reaction, and Nintendo ditched the product altogether.

Nintendo returned the following year with a new version of the Family Computer, the Nintendo Entertainment System and added a Robotic Operating Buddy. Nintendo continued with its computer ambitions in Japan, releasing a floppy disc add-on, the Family Computer Disk System, in 1986. The AVS, however, never made it to market. One of the prototypes is currently housed in New York's Nintendo World Store.


[NES World, Infendo, 1Up's Retro Gaming Blog, Boing Boing Gadgets] [Pic, Pic, Pic, Top Image Credit: Luke's Honeymoon]