Original NES wasn't that big over here, it was the GameBoy that really broke Nintendo
"although I did complete Manic Miner"
A Spectrum game- and one that brings me on to something that bugs me about "Nintendo nostalgia" articles in general- although not this one so much. It's the adoption of the US-centric 80s NES nostalgia narrative. It's obvious that the NES was huge over there- I remember reading something like one in three households had them at their peak(?) However, while it definitely sold a reasonable level here, it didn't even begin to approach its US level of market share or cultural dominance.
In fact, it was outsold by Sega's Master System (#), and even *that* was relative- neither 8-bit console came close to replacing the home computers as the dominant games format here as the NES did to the C64 in the US. (##)
As I remember, the point at which Nintendo started *really* becoming a big deal over here was with the launch of the GameBoy in the early 1990s, followed a couple of years later by the SNES. (And even the latter came out in the slipstream of the Genesi... sorry *Mega Drive's* massive success). The 16-bit consoles at the lower end and the increasing popularity (and falling price) of PC clones at the high end effectively ended that home computer driven era.
I'm not denying that the NES was important worldwide, or that the US market was bigger than the UK- it just annoys me when UK publications buy into the US-driven narrative of Late 80s=NES when it wasn't so much over here.
(#) I'm assuming this was a combination of Mastertronic (the UK distributor of the Master System) doing a good job and Nintendo's focus on Japan and North America at the expense of European markets.
(##) Come to think of it, I could probably make the same point about the Atari VCS. That was mostly before my time, but I get the impression that while it sold here- I knew people who had one- it was much bigger in the console-driven US. The Spectrum, on the other hand- nowhere in the States, one of the staples of the era in the UK.