In this great audio book on Scribd, Jeff Ryan takes us through the history of Nintendo. This was a great trip down memory lane, as Nintendo was HUGE when I was growing up.
Nintendo was a company that started in the late 1800s. Yes, the late 1800s. In it’s early years, it gained it’s fame from the sale of Japanese playing cards. In the 1960s, when playing cards were not as popular, Nintendo looked into other ventures. An interesting fact: One of the ventures would be an hourly hotel. In Japan these are known as love hotels. In the United States better known as No-Tell motels. The literal translation of Nintendo is “Leave luck to Heaven”.
In the early 70s, Nintendo was involved in Light Gun arcade machines. This same technology would eventually create the Nintendo great, Duck Hunt. Nintendo would produce electronic parts for other Arcade game makers. They would start dabbling in their own arcade games. The real game changer was 1981’s Donkey Kong. This game was the first appearance of Mario. Around this time era they also produced the single handheld Game and Watch games.
The author believes that Mario’s character was based on a Mario that was at a Nintendo business meeting. It was just a business man with a mustache. In Donkey Kong, one of the weapons is a hammer. Mario was originally meant to be a carpenter. The background of Donkey Kong does resemble a construction site. The overalls was a nice touch and was used because it made nice use of the original pixel characters.
In 1983, they would produce in Japan the Family Computer, aka Famicom. We would get this 2 years later in the United States under the name Nintendo Entertainment System, aka NES. They would follow-up with another great invention in 1988, the Game Boy. Nintendo was pretty much on top of the world and in control of it’s own destiny.
Sega Genesis would be released in 1988 and Nintendo would follow-up in 1991 with Super Nintendo. The Super Nintendo did have the great game Super Mario World game. Both Genesis and Super Nintendo were 16-bit, but the Genesis had a more powerful processor giving Sonic the Hedgehog that great speed. Additionally, Nintendo did not produce any violent games. This was a difficult business decision as Mortal Kombat was becoming very popular.
With Sony getting into the Video game console market things would only get worst. At this point Nintendo started focusing more on game making than the console market. But they did produce the Nintendo Wii with hopes of making a big splash in the motion control gaming. As far as current video game systems go, the Playstation is difficult to compete with. However, Nintendo leaves a huge legacy with their Mario products. From movies, tv shows, lunch boxes, shirts, bedding, etc. This book is a great history of Nintendo and wonderful trip down memory lane.