Some of you might wonder: “Nintendo, 130th anniversary? They released the first console in the 90ties, how is 2019 their 130th birthday.
Well, you’re a bit mistaken when it comes to the details of the origin of Nintendo.
The company was founded on 23 September 1889 by Fusajiro Yamauchi. It originally produced handmade hanafuda playing cards. Abandoning previous ventures in favor of toys in the 1960s, Nintendo developed into a video game company in the 1970s. It became the Nintendo we all know and love today.
In the 1980s the other major division was launched. Nintendo of America and Nintendo of Europe. Ultimately becoming one of the most influential companies in the gaming sector. Also one of Japan’s most valuable company as well.
Here’s a timeline of the development of Nintendo:
1889 – Early years, before Mario & Co.
1889: Fusajiro Yamauchi began manufacturing Hanafuda (flower cards)
1902: Mr Yamauchi started manufacturing the first western-styled playing cards in Japan
1933: The company was established as an unlimited partnership, Yamauchi Nintendo & Co
1947: Mr. Yamauchi began a distribution company, Marufuku Co. Ltd.
1950: Hiroshi Yamauchi took office as President and headed the manufacturing operation of Yamauchi Nintendo & Co.
1951: The name of the company was changed to Nintendo Playin Card Co. Ltd.
1953: Nintendo Playing Card Co. Ltd. became the first to succeed in manufacturing mass-produced plastic playing cards in Japan.
1959: The company started selling cards printed with Walt Disney characters, opening up a new market in children’s playing cards and resulting in a boom in the card department.
1963 – The birth of Nintendo Co. Ltd.
1963: The company changed it’s name to Nintendo Co. Ltd. and started manufacturing games in addition to playing cards.
1970: The company began selling the Beam Gun series, introducing electronic technology into the toy industry for the first time in Japan.
1973: The company developed a laser clay shooting system which rivaled bowling as a major pastime in Japan.
1974: Nintendo developed an image-projection system and employed the 16mm film projector in amusement arcades. The company began exporting these arcade machines to America and Europe.
1975: In cooperation with Mitsubishi Electric, Nintendo developed a video game system using an electronic video recording (EVR) player for Japan.
1976: The microprocessor was introduced into a video game system created by Nintendo
1977: The company developed home-use video games in cooperation with Mitsubishi Electric: “TV Game 15” and “TV Game 6”.
1978: In March, Nintendo released a simplistic arcade cocktail table game based on the board game Othello, titled Computer Othello. It had no joystick, only ten colored buttons per player.
1979: Minoru Arakawa, son-in-law of Nintendo’s Japanese chief Hiroshi Yamuchi, opened Nintendo of America in New York City. Nintendo started an operations division for coin-operated games.
1980: Nintendo began selling the “Game & Watch” product line in Japan, the first portable LCD videogame with a microprocessor.
1981 – How Mario got it’s name…
1981: Nintendo developed and distributed the coin-operated video game “Donkey Kong”, which was created by Shigeru Miyamoto. The hero, originally called Jumpman, is a carpenter racing to save his girlfriend, Pauline, from a crazed ape. Jumpman was later renamed. In honor of Jumpman’s resemblance to their office landlord, Mario Segali, he was later renamed “Mario”.
1983: Nintendo started work on the home video game console “Family Computer” (Famicom). Mario Bros. was released in 1983.
1984 – The NES sees the light of day.
1984: Nintendo developed and started selling the unique, twin-screen interactive coin-operated videogame “VS. System”. At the same time, the company launched the Famicom system in Japan, later renamed Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) when it launched worldwide.
1986 – Link starts to fight his way in “Zelda”.
1986: The first installment of the Zelda series was released.
1987: A year after being released in Japan, the first installment of the Metroid Series was released in North America.
1989 & 1990 – The Game Boy and the SNES are launched.
1989: The Game Boy, the first portable, handheld game system with interchangeable game cartridges, was introduced in Japan along with Tetris.
1990: Japan entered the 16-bit market by releasing the SNES aka Super Famicom. The first installment of the F-Zero and Fire Emblem franchises were released.
1991: The first Yoshi game was released.
1993: The Super FX Chip was announced: a breakthrough in technology for home video systems. The first game using the Super FX Chip, Star Wing, was released in April.
1994: The Nintendo Gateway was launched, putting Super Nintendo units and a selection of SNES games into commercial planes for the enjoyment of passengers.
1995: Nintendo produced its one billionth game cartridge.
1996 – The Nintendo 64 revolutionizes the gaming world.
1996: Nintendo 64 launched in Japan on 23rd June and sold more than 500,000 systems that were sold on the first day. Pokemon was released in Japan.
1998: Nintendo introduced Game Boy Color and the devices Game Boy Camera and Printer. Pokemon was released in North America.
1999: Pokémon & Pikachu melt hearts and gain a loyal following!
1999: Nintendo released Pokémon throughout Europe on October 8th. The franchise was at the height of its popularity.
2001: Nintendo GameCube and Game Boy Advance were launched.
2002: At the end of May, after 52 years at the helm of the company, Nintendo Co. Ltd, President Hiroshi Yamauchi announced his retirement, naming Satoru Iwata as his successor.
2003: In March the Game Boy Advance SP was released.
2004 – The Nintendo DS gets released.
2004: January saw the worldwide announcement of Nintendo’s “mystery system”. The Nintendo DS. A dual-screen handheld with touch screen technology.
2005: Nintendo introduced the Game Boy Micro. Measuring just 4 inches wide and 2 inches tall.
2006 – Jipeeeh. The Wii is here!
2006: Nintendo launches the Wii.
2010: Nintendo commenced celebrations of Mario’s 25th anniversary.
2011: Nintendo celebrates 25 years of “The Legend of Zelda”.
2012: Marks a landmark year for Nintendo. Seeing the launch of the Wii U and the handheld system Nintendo 3DS XL
2013 – It’s a Mario…erm, I mean a Luigi. He turned 30.
2013: Luigi, Mario’s famous brother turns 30. He appeared in Mario Bros. when it was first released in July 14th, 1983
2016: Nintendo releases Super Mario Run for Android and iOS. This represents one of Nintendo’s first games developed for mobile devices and one of the few instances that a game in the Mario series was officially released on non-Nintendo hardware.
2017 – The latest console hits the markets and is a massive success. The Nintendo Switch!
2017: Nintendo released its new console, the Nintendo Switch.
2018: Super Smash Bros. Ultimate became the fastest-selling Nintendo home console game of all time in Europe.
2019: Nintendo celebrates it’s 130th anniversary. Congratulations!