Nintendo turned 130 years today. Unbelievable, if you only think of them as what they are today. You might be wondering how people were able to play video games well over 100 years ago. After all, no one's grandad is boasting about the titles he was privy to as a kid (that's going to be us).
As it turns out, Nintendo was founded on September 23, 1889, as a hanafuda playing card company by Fusajiro Yamauchi. The word Nintendo roughly translates to "leave luck to heaven", or "the temple of free hanafuda."
Some of the company's oldest fans might already know this story but younger Nintendo console owners could be in the dark. Those of you who are unaware of the Japanese firm's storied history might be surprised to learn that what's now one of the biggest console manufacturers in the world once dabbled in taxi services and accommodation - we're happy those endeavors failed, who knows how much more messed up this planet would be if we never got to know Super Mario.
Nintendo was initially founded as Nintendo Koppai, a company that made its bread on the popular hanafuda card playing game in its country of origin. Fusajiro would step down from the company in 1947 to be replaced by his grandson Hiroshi and the latter would be instrumental in the company's expansion, production and shift into international markets.
The name was changed to Nintendo Co., Ltd in 1963 and, as mentioned above, the company would attempt forrays into the transportation and hotel industry, as well as food products and a television network. While Hiroshi's ideas were met with failure and a drastic drop in stock, his vision to have Nintendo evolve from just a card game company is probably responsible for what we know now.
The company changed its focus to toy making in 1966 with an extendable arm called the Ultra Hand, which was developed by maintenance engineer Gunpei Yokoi during his free time. Nintendo enjoyed relative success in the toymaking industry in the 1970s through to the 1980s but was still behind the likes of Bandai and Tomy when they joined the electronic video game trend.
The company had gained the rights to distribute the Magnavox Odyssey console in Japan in 1974 but began producing their own Color TV-Game console three years later. They experimented with several titles and hardware before moving to arcade gaming but it was their making of Donkey Kong that kicked off their first major bout of success. The NES and the handheld Game Boy that followed down the line cemented Nintendo's place in the industry. Fast forward several years later and we're at the Switch Lite.
Happy Birthday, Nintendo!
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