NINTENDO 64™ CONSOLE.
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 SINCE THE BEGINNING
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.
Fusajiro Yamauchi, great-grandfather of the
present president, began manufacturing "Hanafuda," Japanese
playing cards in Kyoto.
Mr. Yamauchi started manufacturing the first
playing cards in Japan. Originally for export,
the product became popular in Japan as well
Established an unlimited partnership, Yamauchi
Nintendo & Co.
Began a distribution company, Marufuku Co.
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
Changed the company name from Marufuku Co.
Ltd. to Nintendo Playing Card Co. Ltd.
Consolidated factories were dispersed in Kyoto.
first for nintendo
Became the first to succeed in manufacturing
mass-produced plastic playing cards in Japan.
Started selling cards printed with Walt Disney
characters, opening a new market in children's
playing cards. The card department boomed!
In January, listed stock on the second section
of the Osaka Stock Exchange and on the Kyoto
Changed company name to Nintendo Co. Ltd. and
started manufacturing games in addition to
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.
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.
Developed laser clay shooting system to succeed
bowling as a major pastime.
Developed image projection system employing
16mm film projector for amusement arcades.
Began exporting them to America and Europe.
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.
Nintendo Finds its (Multi-Billion Dollar) Niche
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.
Created and started selling coin-operated video
games using microcomputers.
Started an operations division for coin-operated
Announced a wholly owned subsidiary, Nintendo
of America Inc. in New York. Started selling "GAME & WATCH" product
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.
Merged New York subsidiary into Nintendo of
America Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary headquartered
in Seattle, Washington, U.S.A., with a capital
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
Family Entertainment System - Famicom
At one point Nintendo came close to sealing
a deal to distribute the Famicom with the struggling
Atari. Atari (unwisely) backed out.
and started selling the unique 2-screen interactive
coin-operated video game "VS. System".
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.
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.
- exceeds sales of one million units.
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
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
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.
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
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
birth of Playstation 1
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.
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.
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.
FX Chip - The first game -Star Fox
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.
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!
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
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.
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
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.
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
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.
only in Japan The N64DD (Disc Drive)
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.
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.
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
- The Never Dying Gameboy /Advance
gets an upgrade in the shape of the SP