Not just nintendo, but all gaming systems do. Nowadays they incorporate some kind of visual menu system, and some extra features. Older systems you don't even notice the OS because they have one purpose, load the game. An OS is any type of software that makes the hardware (processor, video, game controller, etc.) work.
I don't recommend it, but emulators and reverse engineering those will go a long way towards your understand. It requires some knowlege and skill that isn't very commonplace, though, so you might have a hard time with it.
Well do you know where I can get some information about the OS specifically because I am thinking of doing the evolution of OS's on Nintendo Systems for my Operating Systems class.OilerBoy
Every single system is different, and it doesn't make sense to compare them considering they are only created to make the game work on the hardware. The only nintendo systems that you can actually "see" the os are the DS, Wii, and I think the Gamecube.
In order to really compare them you would need to get BIOS dumps of the systems (which is illegal if you don't own them), and actually be able to read machine language and decode the files, which would require the proprietary hardware/software that was used to build them in the first place.
all of the consoles have an OS. just a layer between the hardware and the devs code. When you hit the power button it does the usual stuff. Instead of something like windows those were simply the low level layers. but in newer consoles your getting the visual aspect as well
On all new consoles, yes. This simplifies the job for the developper, it will give him easy access to librairies and hardware, for example, he doesn't need to write code to use the network adapter. However, for very old consoles, I do not think they had one.... For example on the original Nintendo I think it just boots your cartridge directly, thought there is certainly some integrated firmware at least, which isn't related with operating systems.