I found a bunch of interesting and goofy stuff in all of those NES manuals I looked at, so I wanted to make a separate post about them.
Not only did Nintendo Seals of Quality have an oval and circle variant, but their colors varied quite a bit. While most used the same bronze-ish gold color no matter what colors the rest of the manual had, there were exceptions.
While some controller diagrams looked like the real thing, others looked quite amateur and had odd details added. Also watch for the many names of the D-Pad.
This last one is for Donkey Kong 3. Many early Nintendo games used this “he [verbs]” wording in their manuals.
Notices and Advisories
Game Pak Precautions
I wonder why this wasn’t the same notice in every manual, there was clearly some points that Nintendo wanted to stress, but with everyone writing their own version some are poorly worded or miss some details.
It’s quite a shock to see Game Paks referred to as “cassettes”, and the NES as a “computer” in some of these, Nintendo couldn’t have been happy about that.
It bothers me more than it should how often there are multiple warnings per number/bullet point.
Rear Projection TV Warnings
It’s interesting how often this is phrased as “Nintendo recommends…”
Enemies and Items
I found some interesting and amusing descriptions and drawings of in-game things. A heart that doesn’t look like a heart, a lamp character, some bizarre descriptions of Muppet characters, and some awful puns.
Some of these have interesting takes on game difficulty, quite different from today. Others have some poorly drawn game screens, slang guides, or careful descriptions of what pausing is. Ads for candy, movies, even a chess magazine. There’s even the only “righteous babe” and ESRB rating you’ll see in an NES manual.
DigitPress was the source of most of the manuals. A few were from ReplacementDocs too.
Wikipedia’s List of Nintendo Entertainment System games.
FLickr user bucky for some higher quality scans, including a color version of Faxanadu.