Although Nintendo has just now become a household name in America, the Japanese company has been around for 100 years! It was founded in September of 1889, but of course the company didn’t sell video games way back then. It started off selling Japanese playing cards, called Hanafuda. It continued to do so and in the 1950s it obtained the rights to Disney character cards in Japan and that became very successful. In the 1970s it began dabbling in the video game business with arcade machines and even a home system called the TV Game.
Nintendo would become known in the U.S. with the debut of Donkey Kong in the arcades. Its Game & Watch handheld devices were also somewhat popular, but it wasn’t until 1985’s introduction of the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) that the company really jumped into the spotlight. The company managed to bring the home video game industry back from the dead in 1986 and now commands 85% of the market. Major hits from its internal game development studios include: Super Mario Bros., Super Mario Bros. 2, The Legend of Zelda, Zelda II: The Adventure of Link, Metroid, and Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!! In addition the company has courted some of the world’s best programming companies to become third party licensees, creating fantastic games like: Contra, Mega Man 2, Blaster Master, Castlevania, Ninja Gaiden, and hundreds more.
The NES is still riding high on the wave of success and Nintendo has just introduced its newest machine, the Game Boy, across the world. This portable machine features stereo sound, interchangeable cartridges, and a growing lineup of quality software. As the company enters its second century in business we know they’re busy working on a 16-bit machine for Japanese audiences called the Super Famicom. It will supposedly boast the best graphics ever for a home machine when it launches sometime next year across the Pacific. Nintendo of America declines to comment on when the so-called Super Nintendo may launch in America, but with the NES continuing to sell we know they’re not in a hurry to rush things. Competition from Sega’s 16-bit Genesis and NEC’s TurboGrafx-16 may force Nintendo’s hand, but it’s far too early to know how those systems will perform in the marketplace. One thing’s for sure: gamers have never had it so good!
NINTENDO POISED FOR SECOND CENTURY OF SUCCESS
– Expanding the Realm of Family Entertainment Accounts for Success —
Nintendo Co. Ltd. of Kyoto, Japan, the parent company of Nintendo of America
Inc., enters its second century as a manufacturer of family leisure products.
Nintendo is a leader in the home entertainment systems category, and a major
contributor to the resurging popularity of video games in this country.
Founded in 1889 to manufacture and distribute Japanese playing cards known as
“Hanafuda,” Nintendo Co. Ltd. entered the electronic toy marketplace in 1970 with the
introduction in Japan of a hand-held computer game featuring a liquid-crystal screen. In
recent years, Nintendo has introduced a variety of electronic entertainment products, both
hardware and software, including the Family Computer (Famicom), an advanced video
game system introduced to Japan in 1983.
Since the Famicom’s introduction, Japanese consumers have purchased over 14.5
million hardware units and nearly 170 million units of software, earning Nintendo a 90
percent market share and greater than 38 percent penetration of Japanese households.
The forerunner of the Nintendo Entertainment System* (NES) the Famicom features the
advanced technology, graphics and speed of an arcade game.
In the United States, Nintendo of America Inc. is a major force in the commercial
and home video game markets. This expertise in the coin-op business, combined with the
success story of the Famicom in Japan, helped Nintendo of America Inc. develop the
Nintendo Entertainment System.
With the NES, Nintendo has combined the latest Japanese technology with a well-
developed sense of American demands in video home entertainment systems. Led by
company President Minora Arakawa, Nintendo of America Inc. has an ongoing
commitment to the production of challenging and innovative products with broadbased
consumer appeal. For example, Nintendo has developed several unusual accessories for
its home system, including a computerized knitting machine, an information network home
disk-fax, an external disk drive and an interactive exercise mat called the NES Power
Additionally, Nintendo has created some of the most successful software titles ever
sold in the U.S., including “Super Mario Bros,” “Donkey Kong,” “The Legend of Zelda,”
and “Mike Tyson’s Punch Out!!”
Nintendo is also the first video game manufacturer to offer software with a
programmability function and lithium-powered memory. This year, Nintendo introduced
a new product line, called the Game Boy system. This portable video game system
features interchangeable cartridges and offers both multi-player action and stereo sound.
Nintendo of America Inc. sells personal, home and arcade video games in the
United States. The Redmond, Washington-based company is the headquarters for the
company’s marketing operations in North America; and is a subsidiary of the world’s
largest manufacturer and marketer of video games, Nintendo Co. Ltd.