Nintendo History & Fun Facts
Have you heard of these popular Video Games – Game boy, Wii, Wii U, Nintendo 3DS and Nintendo DSi? Nintendo the manufacturer of these video games started their business by selling playing cards in Japan, isn’t that surprising? Let me tell you about the interesting History of Nintendo and some Fun Facts about the company that ranks #1 in the world for its latest generation console systems.
Nintendo founded by Fusajiro Yamauchi in 1889 started off as a Hanafuda company that produced playing cards. In recognition of its card-playing roots, the name “Nintendo” means “Leave Luck to Heaven”. Fusajiro adopted his son-in-law Hiroshi Yamauchi to take over the company. In 1953 Nintendo became the first company in Japan to produce playing cards; this allowed Nintendo to dominate the card market. In 1959, Nintendo struck a deal with Disney to let them use Disney characters to Nintendo playing cards. This was a turning point for Nintendo’s card business and with the success of selling more than 6, 00,000 cards in a year Hiroshi publicly listed Nintendo on the Osaka Stock Exchange.
Between 1963 – 1968 Nintendo set up a Taxi company, “Love Hotel chain” and a food company which were not great successes. Due to the economic boom in Japan and the Tokyo Olympics the playing cards industry reached saturation and households stopped buying cards. This is when Nintendo entered the toy industry and started making novelty electronic toys. Nintendo then hired Gunpei Yokoi and Shigeru Miyamoto who became the living legends in the world of gaming and were Nintendo’s secret of longevity. By the 80’s Nintendo’s business was growing with the Color TV Game Systems. Miyamoto then created the Donkey Kong which became an instant historic success. In 1989 Nintendo released its portable handheld gaming device, created by Gunpei, the Game Boy. Game Boy redefined the term video game as just for kids – even adults started to use the system to entertain them while on the travel. During the time when Microsoft was launching Xbox and Sony released Playstation 2, Nintenso’s game cube dropped to #3 spot in the console wars. To regain their position Nintendo came up with the Wii gaming device in 2006 which was the first to be shipped directly to the US before Japan. This launch shot them to the #1 position.
With its over 120 year lineage Nintendo has seen the entirety of video game history and the only console manufacturer to consistently release a system for every generation of gaming console. They continue to remain on top, now with new ways to deliver classic games to a mass audience.
Interesting facts you may not know about Nintendo!
- Mario the most famous character in the video game industry was created by Ninetendo. Mario was originally called Mr. Video and subsequently Jumpman. Eventually Mario got his name after Nintendo’s irate landlord.
- A survey in the early 90’s showed that American children found Mario more recognizable then Mickey Mouse.
- Nintendo was the creator of the four sided D-Pad used in all the video games today.
- Nintendo owns the Seattle Mariners Baseball team. They were bought for $76 million in 1989.
- As of September 2012, 97.2 million Wii units have been sold. Stacked end to end they’d be 13,000 miles high – over 2000 times higher than Mt. Everest.
- The top 3 franchises at Nintendo are: Mario [$240 million], Pokémon [$200 million], and Zelda [$94 million]. Over 534 million games have been sold between Mario, Pokémon, and Zelda.
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