24 Sep Celebrating Nintendo’s 130 Years of Greatness!
As you all already know, I’m a giant Nintendo fan(boy). I wanted to take a minute out of the day to celebrate Nintendo’s 130th Anniversary and wish the Japanese toy and game company a big Happy Birthday! They have a special place in my heart and have supplied me with endless joy and happiness throughout my entire life. It’s hard to imagine that my experience with Nintendo represents just a fraction of the company’s history, but the Nintendo we all know and love didn’t find its modern stride until the late 1970s and early 1980s.
While Nintendo has been a video game powerhouse since the 1980s, the Big N is celebrating 130 years young today! For those who may not know, Nintendo started as a hanafuda card company in Kyoto, Japan in 1889. Hanafuda Cards are Japanese playing cards that are used in a collection of card games, similar to playing cards that we may be familiar with. You can still buy Nintendo playing cards today, both of the hanafuda and standard 52-card French Variety. In the 1960s Nintendo shifted its focus to toys and games, which has led the company to where they are today, one of the most profound and important video game developers of all time!
In 1981 Nintendo’s first mega-hit Donkey Kong was released in arcades all over the world! It’s still one of the most celebrated arcade games of all time, even if Nintendo has brought their joy from the arcade into our homes with home and handheld consoles, games and toys. Nintendo is often credited with helping the video game industry rise from the ashes of the video game crash of 1983 with the Famicom and NES. Then in 1985, Nintendo created and released Super Mario Bros. THE video game for all of my intents and purposes. The company created a mascot and from then on Nintendo had become synonymous with video games. While Pac-Man, Dig Dug, and Donkey Kong were all great mascots for the industry, none have been able to surpass the appeal, appreciation, and starpower of Super Mario. He’s become one of the most recognizable characters on the planet and he’s no slouch, being the star of roughly 200 games over the past 39 years! Nintendo helped to cultivate gamer culture and propel it further into the future!
Nintendo is a company that continues to push the boundaries on what’s fun in video games by being incredibly imaginative and inventive. Their philosophy from what I’ve learned and read is that they start their process with a verb, like “trade” for Pokemon. From there they work to build games around that idea. I find that style incredibly remarkable in its simplicity, but it lends itself well to exploration on what that word means. As you venture through Nintendo’s history you can see how this style has created some of the most interesting gameplay mechanics on the planet. In the end, Nintendo is all about fun, it’s like they package and sell joy to their fanbase. When I fire up a Nintedo game, I know what I’m getting and I’m most likely going to love it.
I have just finished the Link’s Awakening remake as I’m writing this and I can attest that Nintendo’s attention to care, detail, and fun continues to this day. I also appreciate how the company has once again hit its stride with Switch and continues to hit us with hit after hit. While other developers from the 80s have struggled to figure out the new generation, Nintendo has begun to embrace the changes in the industry and run headlong into the future crafting some of their most memorable and imaginative games to date. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is an all-time great as is Mario Odyssey. While Nintendo could have stuck to their guns and continue to release games they knew would be commercially successful, they’ve also decided to take risks with games like Splatoon and Arms. They’re making some amazing new content, and not leaving those franchises in the dust either. I’m excited to see what Nintendo does in the next few years and how they continue to create new and interesting content.
I’d like to celebrate Nintendo and thank this company for all of the great memories and wonderful games. Without Nintendo, gaming would not be in the same place it is today, and I think all gamers owe them a huge amount of gratitude. So I’ll have an extra slice of cake today for Nintendo! Here’s to 130 more years of great games!