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Although Nintendo lost market dominance with their Nintendo 64 console to Sony's miracle Playstation 1 console in the 1990's the Nintendo 64 was still a hit Gaming Console. Cartridge Based (instead of CD or DVD) the unit proved durable and a definite favourite amongst the younger gaming market worldwide.


Nintendo - History

Nintendo Co., Ltd., of Kyoto, Japan, is the acknowledged worldwide leader in the creation of interactive entertainment. To date, Nintendo has sold more than one billion video games worldwide, created such industry icons as Mario and Donkey Kong and launched franchises like The Legend of Zelda and Pokémon. Nintendo manufactures and markets hardware and software for its popular home video game systems, including Nintendo 64 and Game Boy - the world's best-selling video game system.

Paper Playing Cards

1889 - Fusajiro Yamauchi, great-grandfather of the present president, began manufacturing "Hanafuda," Japanese playing cards in Kyoto.

1902 - Mr. Yamauchi started manufacturing the first playing cards in Japan. Originally for export, the product became popular in Japan as well as abroad.

1933 - Established an unlimited partnership, Yamauchi Nintendo & Co.

1947 - Began a distribution company, Marufuku Co. Ltd.

1950 - Hiroshi Yamauchi took office as President and absorbed the manufacturing operation of Yamauchi Nintendo & Co.Yamauchi expanded Nintendo into a variety of side businesses, including a taxi company, instant rice meals, and even a chain of love hotels! Most of these were eventually closed.

1951 - Changed the company name from Marufuku Co. Ltd. to Nintendo Playing Card Co. Ltd.

1952 - Consolidated factories were dispersed in Kyoto.


first for nintendo

TV Game 6

Plastic Playing Cards

1953 - Became the first to succeed in manufacturing mass-produced plastic playing cards in Japan.

1959 - Started selling cards printed with Walt Disney characters, opening a new market in children's playing cards. The card department boomed!

1962 - In January, listed stock on the second section of the Osaka Stock Exchange and on the Kyoto Stock Exchange.

1963 - Changed company name to Nintendo Co. Ltd. and started manufacturing games in addition to playing cards.

Novelty Toys

1969 - The company churned out a variety of gimmicky toys that met with great success, among them the Ultra Hand (an extendible plastic hand that could be used to grab objects) and the Love Tester, which supposedly read the level of "love" between its two users. A man named Gunpei Yokoi was the designer of some of the most popular of these products, and he would play a crucial role at Nintendo in later years.

1970 - Stock listing was changed to the first section of the Osaka Stock Exchange. Reconstruction and enlargement of corporate headquarters was completed. Started selling the Beam Gun series, employing opto-electronics. Introduced electronic technology into the toy industry for the first time in Japan.

1973 - Developed laser clay shooting system to succeed bowling as a major pastime.

1974 - Developed image projection system employing 16mm film projector for amusement arcades. Began exporting them to America and Europe.



Electronics / Entertainment

1975 - In cooperation with Mitsubishi Electric, developed video game system using electronic video recording (EVR) player. Introduced the microprocessor into the video game system the next year.

1977 - Nintendo Finds its (Multi-Billion Dollar) Niche

1977 saw the release of Nintendo's first video game product, the TV Game 6. This primitive machine attached to a television and played six variations of Pong. Hey, it was a start. 1977 also saw the initial hiring of Shigeru Miyamoto, who was to work on art for future arcade games. As any Nintendophile knows, he later proved to be one of the most brilliant game designers of all time. After a few more primitive game consoles and a variety of arcade games, Nintendo struck gold in 1980 with the Game and Watch. Designed by Gunpei Yokoi, the G&W line was a series of small handheld video games with monochrome LCD screens. While primitive compared to, say, a Game Boy, the Game & Watch was a worldwide success and firmed up Nintendo's place in the fledgling video game market.

1978 - Created and started selling coin-operated video games using microcomputers.

1979 - Started an operations division for coin-operated games.

1980 - Announced a wholly owned subsidiary, Nintendo of America Inc. in New York. Started selling "GAME & WATCH" product line.


Arcade Donkey Kong

1981 - Developed and began distribution of the coin-operated video game "Donkey Kong." This video game quickly became the hottest selling individual coin-operated machine in the business.

1982 - Merged New York subsidiary into Nintendo of America Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary headquartered in Seattle, Washington, U.S.A., with a capital of $600,000.

1983 - Built a new plant in Uji city to increase production capacity and to allow for business expansion. Established Nintendo Entertainment Centres Ltd. in Vancouver, B.C., Canada, to operate a family entertainment center. Raised authorized capital of Nintendo of America Inc. to $10 million. In July, listed stock on the first section of the Tokyo Stock Exchange. Started selling the home video game console "Family Computer" employing a custom CPU (Custom Processing Unit) and PPU (Picture Processing Unit). While the Game & Watch was in full swing, Yamauichi told his engineers that he wanted to create a game machine that would feature top-tier sound and graphics and that could use interchangable cartridges to play different games. It would have to be cheap to produce and sell, so that just about anyone could afford one. The result was the Nintendo Family Computer, or Famicom. Released in 1983, the Famicom took the Japanese market by storm




Nintendo Family Entertainment System - Famicom

1984 - At one point Nintendo came close to sealing a deal to distribute the Famicom with the struggling Atari. Atari (unwisely) backed out.

Developed and started selling the unique 2-screen interactive coin-operated video game "VS. System".

1985 - Started to sell the U.S. version of Family Computer "Nintendo Entertainment System" (NES) in America. The system included R.O.B. - Robotic Operating Buddy - and the games Duck Hunt and Super Mario Bros. Mario and Luigi became as big a hit as the NES.

1986 -Gunpei Yokoi had another new gizmo in planning up his sleeve: a portable video game system called the Game Boy. The Game Boy had a monochrome screen and ran on four AA batteries, allowing gamers to take their addictions on the road. Introduced in 1989, the Game Boy was another smash hit around the world. By the time its true successor was introduced in 2001, the Game Boy had sold over 100 million units worldwide Developed and started selling the "Family Computer Disk Drive System" to expand the functions of the Family Computer. Began installation of the "Disk Writer" to rewrite game software. Game Counselors were organized and players from all over the world could call Nintendo for advice on games and strategies.

Zelda - exceeds sales of one million units.

1987 - Sponsored a Family Computer "Golf Tournament" as a communications test using the public telephone network and Disk Faxes to aid in building a Family Computer network. The NES achieved the status as the #1 selling toy in American and The Legend of Zelda became the first new generation home video game to exceed sales of one million units.

1988 - Nintendo of America Inc. published the first issue of Nintendo Power magazine in July. Researched and developed the Hands Free controller, making the NES accessible to many more Nintendo fans. The game library for the NES grew to 65 titles, helping to broaden the demographics to include more adults.

1989 - Released "The Adventure of Link," sequel to the top-selling game "The Legend of Zelda" in the U.S. Started "World of Nintendo" displays in U.S. to help market Nintendo products. Studies show that children are as familiar with "Mario" as they are with Mickey Mouse and Bugs Bunny! Introduced Game Boy, the first portable, hand-held game system with interchangeable game paks. Nintendo Power magazine became the largest paid-subscription publication in its age category.



Gameboy Power

1990 - By 1990 the Nintendo Entertainment System was getting a bit long in the tooth, and long-time competitor Sega took advantage of the situation by releasing its 16-bit Genesis system (aka Mega Drive in other regions). Released in the US in 1990 and clearly superior to the tired old NES, the Genesis enticed players with the promise of near-arcade quality graphics and audio. Nintendo was in no rush to respond, though, as its NES business was still quite lucrative and it didn't see Sega as a big threat. Nevertheless, development of its own 16-bit system went on behind the scenes. This came to fruition in 1990 (late 1991 in America) when Nintendo finally unleashed the Super Famicom

The Super Famicom (Super Nintendo or SNES in America) was a console of unprecedented power. In fact, its only major weakness was a rather pokey main CPU, but this was made up for with a powerful graphics chip and a Sony-devised audio chip that could produce better music than any console yet released. The Super Nintendo was a smash hit in every market, but particularly in Japan



The birth of Playstation 1


SNES Super Nintendo

1991 - Nintendo introduces World Class Service Center locations across the U.S. The 16-bit Super Nintendo Entertainment System (Super NES), along with "Super Mario World," is released in the U.S.

1992 - The Super NES Super Scope and Mario Paint with the Super NES Mouse Accessory were released. The long-awaited "Zelda" sequel, "The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past," arrived for the Super NES. Nintendo of America Inc. developed portable Fun Centers to assist the Starlight Foundation in bringing happiness to hospitalized children by allowing them to enjoy their favorite video games during hospital stays.

1993 - Nintendo announces the advent of the Super FX Chip, breakthrough technology for home video systems. The first game using the Super FX Chip, "Star Fox," is released in April.

Super FX Chip - The first game -Star Fox

1994 - The Super Game Boy accessory was released, expanding the library of games that could now be played on the Super NES! Everyone's favorite heroine, Samus, returns in another long-awaited sequel, Super Metroid. Nintendo helped pioneer the development and implementation of an industry-wide rating system. This year also saw the introduction of a game that would set a new standard in video game excellence. Using proprietary Advanced Computer Modeling (ACM) graphics, Donkey Kong Country took the holiday season by storm! Nintendo Gateway projected to reach 40 million travelers.

1995 - Coming into the mid-90's, it seemed Nintendo could do no wrong. Unfortunately, it was about to prove otherwise with one of the most ill-conceived video game machines to ever see release. The Virtual Boy was billed as a portable 3D gaming machine, but the system was more unwieldy than anything else. It consisted of a visor that rested on a tripod, and users had to look into the visor to see the unit's display. The system produced a unique 3D effect by using LED technology licensed from a company called Reflection. However, the nature of the technology meant that the graphics were monochrome -- various shades of red, to be specific. Worse, the unit often caused headaches after a small amount of use, and to add to the fun, there was a warning that it should not be used by children... to prevent eye damage!

In contrast to Nintendo's past triumphs, the Virtual Boy was a worldwide disaster. The system was heavily discounted within a year, and software support quickly ended. As it turns out, the Virtual Boy was designed by Gunpei Yokoi, father of the Game Boy and numerous other successful Nintendo products. The Virtual Boy was a rare misstep, but Yokoi received the full brunt of the blame for the machine's failure. Disgraced, he left the company he had worked at for decades of his life and founded his own R&D firm, which later produced Bandai's WonderSwan portable gaming system. Sadly, Yokoi was tragically killed in a freak highway accident just a year later


Nintendo Virtual Boy

Thanks to the outstanding success of Donkey Kong Country, ACM graphics were introduced to the Game Boy system by way of Donkey Kong Land. Along with this great boost to the Game Boy system line, Nintendo also introduced the Play It Loud! series of Game Boy systems. ACM graphics made another appearance on the Super NES with the release of the arcade smash-hit, Killer Instinct. At the same time, Nintendo introduced a 32-bit Virtual Immersion system know as the Virtual Boy. Next, Nintendo responded to the demands of fans with the release of Yoshi's Island: Super Mario World 2. Nintendo even enhanced the quality of ACM graphics for the upcoming release of Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest. Cruis'n USA and Killer Instinct available in local arcades. Celebration of the one-billionth game pak being sold.

Towards the end of the 16-bit era, there was much buzz about the potential of 32-bit systems. The Sony PlayStation and Sega Saturn were on everyone's tongues, but how would Nintendo respond? In its characteristic fashion, Nintendo took its good old time in releasing details of its new system. When they finally did, they had a surprise in store: the new Nintendo machine would be 64-bit. The Nintendo 64, as it was called, was to use the same technology as an SGI Graphics workstation, allowing amazingly realistic 3D environments with an unprecedented level of detail.



Nintendo 64

1996 - Of course, this was all marketing hype, as the system, released in Japan on June 23. Thousands line up to be the first to experience the world's first true 64-bit home video game system. More than 500,000 systems are sold the first day even though it was actually a bit disappointing from a performance standpoint. Nintendo also stubbornly retained the old and expensive cartridge format, despite the CD-ROM drives in the machines of its competitors. This would prove to be a crucial miscalculation, as the CD-ROM format allowed the PlayStation and Saturn to do things that the poor old N64 just couldn't manage. It also raised costs dramatically, cutting down on the system's third party developer support. Nevertheless, the N64 sold respectably around the world, but it was definitely in a distant second to Sony's PlayStation. For the first time since the video game revival, Nintendo was not in first place.

In early September, Nintendo introduces the Game Boy pocket, a sleeker, 30-percent smaller version of the world's most popular hand-held video game system. On September 29, Nintendo 64 launches in North America. The entire initial shipment of more than 350,000 units is sold out in three days. Super Mario 64 is proclaimed by many as "the greatest video game of all time!" For the Super NES we saw the release of the third game in the continuing Donkey Kong series, Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong's Double Trouble.

1998 -Nintendo introduces Game Boy Color and innovative devices Game Boy Camera and Printer, bringing new life to the longest running hit in the history of interactive entertainment. Pokémon, a breakthrough game concept for Game Boy, was introduced to the world and generated a nationwide craze to collect 'em all! With the release of Banjo-Kazooie for Nintendo 64, new characters were added to the ever-growing list of popular Nintendo characters. The most anticipated video game ever, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time for Nintendo 64 was released, setting new standards and breaking records for pre-sell for any video game to date.

Released only in Japan The N64DD (Disc Drive)


Game Boy Color

1999 - The success of the Pokémon franchise expands even further with the release of Pokémon Pinball, Pokémon Yellow, and the first Pokémon title for the Nintendo 64, Pokémon Snap. Nintendo releases several notable N64 titles including Star Wars: Episode 1: Racer, Mario Golf, Super Smash Bros., Donkey Kong 64, Mario Party, and Perfect Dark. At E3, Nintendo announces development plans for a new system, code-named Dolphin, that will utilize an IBM Gekko processor and Matsushita's proprietary optical disk technology.

2000 - Nintendo sells its one hundred millionth Game Boy unit, ending the year with more than 110 million sold. Game Boy is responsible for 47% of all U.S. hardware system sales (an all-time high for a portable device). Pokémon Stadium is the top-selling console game, followed by The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask, both for N64. Pokémon Gold and Silver for Game Boy Color make their U.S. debut in October, becoming the fastest-selling games of all time by selling a combined 1.4 million copies in one week and 6 million through December.


Nintendo Gamecube

2001 - Beloved Nintendo characters Mario and Donkey Kong celebrate their 20th anniversaries. Nintendo launches its highly anticipated Game Boy Advance in Japan on March 21. The portable powerhouse debuts in the U.S. on June 11, and sells one million units in six weeks. Following the success of the Game Boy Advance, Nintendo launches the Nintendo GameCube home video game console in Japan on September 14. The U.S. launch on November 18 smashes previous U.S. sales records, becoming the fastest-selling next generation hardware system.

2003 - The Never Dying Gameboy /Advance gets an upgrade in the shape of the SP


Nintendo Power






  -1. Zelda 64
  -2. Pokemon
  -3. Stadium
  -4. Golden Eye
  -5. Perfect Dark
  -6. Harvest Moon
  -7. Mortal Kombat
  -8. Castlevania
  -9. Paper Mario
  -10. WWF Mercy






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