Game News Nintendo celebrates another anniversary, retrospective on the before and after of the manufacturer of the Switch
This September 23 marks the anniversary of one of the best-known manufacturers in the video game market. Indeed Nintendo is blowing out its 133rd candle today. Of course, with such great longevity, he didn’t start with video games. Here is a small portrait that traces the before and after of “Big N”.
- Nintendo before its first console: almost 100 years of history
- Nintendo in the 70s and the beginning of its legend
Anyone interested in the world of video games today knows Nintendo. The Japanese company has the most lucrative license in the world with Pokémon, the most lucrative video game license in the world with Super Mario and sells its consoles by pallets. It is today thanks to the Nintendo Switch, a console released in March 2017, that the one nicknamed “Big N“continues to impose its presence in households. But the Japanese company, which is celebrating its 133rd candle on September 23, 2022, has not always been a console manufacturer and a video game developer: there has been a distinct before and after.
Nintendo before its first console: almost 100 years of history
As mentioned above, Nintendo was created in 1889 by Fusajiro Yamauchi. He himself produced cards to play at Hanafuda (literally flower set), an originally Portuguese game revisited by the Japanese in the 16th century who found it too violent. About it, that’s where the name comes from nintendo which can be translated in two ways: leave luck to heaven Where the free Hanafuda temple. This second meaning is particularly meaningful insofar as Nintendo was created 20 years after the start of the Meiji era: a historical era synonymous with the opening of Japan to the rest of the world and which marks the lifting of the ban on this card game (which is of foreign origin, hence its prohibition).
His shop is so successful that Yamauchi is forced to employ assistants to turn his business into mass production. The business worked and in 1947, it was Yamauchi’s grandson who took over and wanted to export the cards abroad while diversifying his business. He tries his hand at managing taxi companies, even owns a chain of Love Hotel. Nintendo achieved international fame following a contract with Disney and it was in the 1960s that the company attacked the toy market with a new department named Games directed by Gunpei Yokoi (became legend in Japan and having the nickname of Toy God there) : the first developed in-house will be the Ultra Machine. It is a device inspired by ball throwing machines for baseball. Many toys are then produced, but the oil shock and the financial crisis put an end to all that.
Nintendo in the 70s and the beginning of its legend
It is also to Yokoi that Nintendo owes its first game console since it was he who had the idea for the Game & Watch: a device held in the palm of the hand intended to entertain players during their journeys by public transport. The console was a hit, allowing Nintendo to get out of its financial problems while investing in the future: in 1983, Nintendo released the famicom (NES in Europe) and stands out thanks to its competitive price, the absence of real competitors and a comprehensive toy library.
It was during these years that the flagship licenses, still alive today, were developed. Licenses that we owe, among others, to Shigeru Miyamoto: he is the mastermind behind Super Mario, Donkey Kong and The Legend of Zelda, some titles of which serve as historical references in the world of video games such as Super Mario 64 for its control of the camera or Ocarina of Time for the immense sensation of adventure provided by the title.
Finally, since the release of the Game & Watch in the 70s, Nintendo has never strayed from the path of video games. If you should never say never, this 133rd anniversary proves the longevity of the manufacturer. We will quickly take as witnesses the figures produced by Big N. Regarding consoles, the Nintendo DS and the Game Boy Color are the second and third best-selling consoles of all time. A podium that could soon be owned by the Nintendo Switch, the manufacturer’s latest console: it is only six million units from this top 3. A figure that could arrive in the years to come, especially since Nintendo seems to have several cartridges up its sleeve: just the upcoming release of the Breath of the Wild sequel should provide a little boost.
Still, it is ridiculous to want to be exhaustive on the evidence of Nintendo’s success. With 133 years of experience today, it has proven time and time again why it deserves to be among the behemoths of video gaming. Enough to honor her name, since she has definitely left her chance in heaven and made her talent speak. Happy 133rd Birthday Nintendo!