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The History Of Nintendo

October 20, 2015

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Nintendo is responsible for creating millions of dedicated gamers, myself included, since wowing the video game world with the Nintendo Entertainment System in 1983. But did you know that Nintendo was in business long before video games even existed?

Where It All Began

Nintendo was founded in Kyoto, Japan on September 23rd, 1889, by Fusajiro Yamauchi. Yes, you read that right...That's over 100 years ago. Their first business venture? Trading cards!

Nintendo is born...as a Playing Card Company!Nintendo is born...as a Playing Card Company!Courtesy of Kotaku

In 1951, Nintendo released a new playing card game, Hanafuda, and it quickly became a popular item, so much so Nintendo had to expand, hiring assistants to mass produce the cards. To this day, Nintendo continues to create popular playing cards in Japan.

Taxis, Hotels & Toys

During the late 1950's to early 1970's, Nintendo dabbled in a few other random ventures including a chain of hotels and a Taxi company named Daiya. While Daiya was successful, Nintendo was forced to sell the business when unions made it too expensive to run the service.

Not a historically accurate depiction of Nintendo's Taxi venture Not a historically accurate depiction of Nintendo's Taxi venture Courtesy of mmgn.com

1966 was the year Nintendo entered the Japanese Toy Market with the Ultra Hand. Toys were another popular business for Nintendo and they went on to create numerous fun toys but they eventually ran into issues, this time with manufacturing, which led Nintendo to switch gears once again.

Nintendo's first popular toy. The Ultra Arm!Nintendo's first popular toy. The Ultra Arm!Courtesy of beforemario.com

The Age Of Electronics

It was an inevitable focus shift for Nintendo, as electronic video games exploded onto the scene. Nintendo entered the electronics industry properly in the late 1970's. First they began by nabbing the distributing rights to the Magnavox Odyssey game console in Japan, then they followed that up by creating their own hardware.

Some of the Nintendo TV-Game consoles.Some of the Nintendo TV-Game consoles.Courtesy of beforemario.com

Nintendo's line of Color TV-Game consoles were released in the late 70's and wouldn't you know it, who was the new, young team member responsible for designing the Color TV-Game casing? None other than Shigeru Miyamoto, who would later go on to create Mario.

A King Is Crowned

This all leads up to where most people think Nintendo got their start. With the Game & Watch portable game series and of course, the console that revitalized video games and created gamers of us all. The Famicom aka the Nintendo Entertainment System.

The console that started it all... the NES.The console that started it all... the NES.Courtesy of Nintendo

Released in 1983 in Japan (and 1985 North America), the Nintendo Entertainment System was a smashing success and its marquee launch title, Super Mario Bros., developed by the now famous Shigeru Miyamoto, was genre defining. Setting a bar for precision platforming some still can't equal today.

Still one of the greatest games ever, Super Mario Bros.Still one of the greatest games ever, Super Mario Bros.Courtesy of Nintendo

The Nintendo Entertainment system dominated the home console space for years, and rightfully so.

With successor consoles such as the Super Nintendo, Nintendo 64, Gamecube, Wii and Wii U having come since. Nintendo is now the most successful (as far as monetary value) video game company in the world.

Fun Nintendo Facts

  • Nintendo Of America owns the Seattle Mariners baseball team
  • As of May 2015, Nintendo is worth 22.2 Billion dollars
  • Nintendo is over 100 years old

Nintendo has released some great games recently, including Super Mario Maker and they've got more coming to Wii U & 3DS soon. But what does the future hold for Nintendo after the Wii U? We'll have to wait to find out! But expect news to come soon about their latest mysterious project, the Nintendo NX.

Have Your Say!

Did you learn something new about Nintendo? What's your favorite Nintendo memory? Let us know in the comments!