Most people may not have gotten their hands on a Nintendo Entertainment System until it was released in North America in 1985 and Europe in 1986, but 30 years ago today the NES' predecessor was unleashed on Japan as the Family Computer, or Famicom. Though it was launched earlier than the successful NES console, the Famicom had a much longer lifespan; while the NES was discontinued in 1995, Nintendo continued making new Famicom consoles all the way through 2003. Ars Technica has taken a detailed look at the NES' humble roots, which eventually led to widespread success for Nintendo's first console with swappable game cartridges.