Whether we classify ourselves as a noob or nerd, odds are that every one of us has heard the name Nintendo. While we may usually see its name dominating the modern gaming industry, there is a lot more to this tech giant than many people may realize!
A little bit about Nintendo
Nintendo, originally called Nintendo Koppai, was established in Kyoto in 1889 by Fusajiro Yamauchi. The name Nintendo Koppai roughly translated means “In the end, it is in heaven’s hands”. The company grew its roots producing handmade Hanafuda playing cards with beautiful illustrations, that were often used to play a range of gambling games. These cards were incredibly popular and quickly put Nintendo on the map, allowing for expansion throughout Japan.
From cards to consoles
By the early 1950s, there were some changes made within Nintendo; namely that Fusajiro Yamauchi’s grandson, Hiroshi Yamauchi, was running the show. He had a vision for the company and proceeded to evolve it into the game-changing corporation as we know it today. Some of these advancements included:
*Changing the company name to Nintendo Playing Cards Co. Ltd.
*Becoming the first company to produce plastic playing cards in Japan.
*Making a deal with Disney in 1959, allowing Nintendo to print Disney characters on their cards, opening up a huge new lucrative market.
*Taking the company public in 1962.
*changing the name, yet again, to Nintendo Co. Ltd. and venturing out into potential new avenues. These included an instant rice company, short-stay hotels, a taxi company, and children’s entertainment.
In 1970, Hiroshi noticed a unique extended arm invention made by one of the company’s engineers, Gunpei Yokoi. Dubbed ‘the Ultra Hand’, it sold over 1 million units.
Yokoi was promoted and went on to develop many more unique electronic toys, such as the ‘Love Tester’ which measures attraction between people. Being the only company making these types of toys, Nintendo grew an impressive income as a result.
It was at this point in 1974 that Yamauchi noticed the popularity and revenue potential of video games. Nintendo then secured the rights to distribute the world’s first commercial home video game console in Japan – the Magnavox Odyssey.
Not too long after Nintendo found its home in the gaming world, a talented designer named Shigeru Miyamoto joined the team and was working under Yokoi. Miyamoto then helped solidify Nintendo’s iconic legacy by creating games such as ‘Mario’, ‘The Legend of Zelda’, and ‘Donkey Kong’.
Market saturation and no quality control lead to the great gaming crash of 1983. However, Nintendo was able to revitalize the industry by captivating 90 percent of the console market share. This was done by first releasing the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), a hugely popular and top quality console that is still rated as one of the best gaming consoles in the world. Nintendo also maintained power by taking industry quality control into their own hands, ensuring that most creators, manufacturers, and distributors followed their fierce quality guidelines. Since then, the gaming company has released many amazing products from the Gameboy to the Nintendo Switch, continuing to build up one impressive legacy.
Nintendo is an incredible company that has built itself up to be an internationally renowned institution, leaving its mark on our lives with their iconic games and innovative consoles. We cannot wait to see what lies in store for the story of Nintendo.