119 years have culminated in that little white box that sits beneath your TV. No bigger than a DVD case, the Wii is essentially the same machine – albeit slightly prettier and technically more robust – that Nintendo would release back in 1985.
Don’t believe us? Well we’re about to take you on a whistle-stop tour through the ins and outs, highs and lows, the laughter and tears of videogames’ most prolific forefather. From playing cards to Pokémon: we'll even show you how Mario can improve your sex life! Here’s the complete history of Nintendo.
(be sure to check out the sister articles, The Complete History of Sony Computer Entertainment and The Complete History of Microsoft)
1889 - A card game business specialising in stylish Hanafuda (flora) cards is set up by Fusajiro Yamauchi under the name of Nintendo Koppai. The business struggles until the yakuza decide to adopt the cards for their high-stakes gambling. The yakuza would demand a new pack at the start of every game and would look to Yamauchi to supply them.
Trivia - The name Nintendo is said to mean ‘leave luck to heaven’.
1907 - Nintendo Koppai partners with Japan Tobacco & Salt Corporation and becomes the first domestic Japanese supplier of Western-style playing cards.
1927 - Hiroshi Yamauchi is born in the town of Kyoto, Japan.
1929 - Fusajiro Yamauchi retires, leaving control of the business to his son-in-law, Sekiryo Kaneda (aka Yamauchi).
1932 - Hiroshi’s father walks out on his mother and Hiroshi is sent to live with his grandparents, Tei and Sekiryo Yamauchi.
1933 - The stop-motion classic King Kong is released in cinemas by Universal Studios.
1933 - Sekiryo Yamauchi establishes a joint partnership company named Yamauchi Nintendo & Co.
1947 - Not long after the Second World War, Sekiryo sets up a distribution company named Marufuku Co Ltd to distribute Nintendo’s Western-style playing cards.
1949 - Owing to ill health, Sekiryo retires and leaves the company to his grandson, Hiroshi Yamauchi. Hiroshi renames the company Nintendo Playing Cards Co.
1952 - Hiroshi decides to expand his business and move it to a newer premises in Kyoto, Japan. He would also begin streamlining his manufacturing plants.
1952 - Shigeru Miyamoto is born in the small town of Sonebe, outside of Kyoto in Japan.
Trivia - Nintendo was the first card manufacturer in Japan to lacquer its playing cards.