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The Nintendo Corporation is a company based in Japan that is commonly know for publishing and creating video games and both home and hand-held consoles. Nintendo was started by Fusajiro Yamauchi in 1889, Kyoto, Japan. The current President and CEO of the company is Shuntaro Furukawa.

The current logo for the Nintendo Corporation
The logo for the Nintendo Corporation from 2006-2015
The logo for the Nintendo Corporation from 1975 to 2006

Before Video Games (1889 - 1975)[edit | edit source]

1889 - 1954[edit | edit source]

Before Nintendo started to release video games and console system, it was originally a company that produced "Hanafuda", which translates to "Flower Cards", and were used as general playing cards.

1956 - 1975[edit | edit source]

During this time frame Nintendo would experiment with different kinds of products or services. Some of the notable ventures included Love Testers, Instant Rice (similar to instant noodles), a taxi service, children's Toys, and most notably a vacuum cleaner dubbed "Chiritorie".

Electronic Era (1975 - Present)[edit | edit source]

Successes[edit | edit source]

Color TV-Game[edit | edit source]

In 1975, Nintendo obtained the rights to distribute the "Magnavox Odyssey", a home video game console in Japan. Later in 1977, they produced as series of home consoles, known as the "Color TV Game". A year later in 1978, they entered the Arcade market and produced Computer Othello. In 1981, Nintendo produced the game "Donkey Kong" which generated major popularity and profits for the company, and is still in some Video Arcades today, and has been ported to many other systems (ex: "ColecoVision", "Atari 2600", "Personal Computers", etc.).

Family Computer / Nintendo Entertainment System[edit | edit source]

Main article: Nintendo Entertainment System

In 1983, the "Family Computer" or "Famicom" hit shelves in Japan, and two years later in 1985, its international brother, the "Nintendo Entertainment System" or "NES" hit shelves in North America.

Family Computer Disk System[edit | edit source]

In 1986, Nintendo would release the Family Computer Disk System exclusively in Japan. It is an addon for the Family Computer that allowed the use of proprietary floppy disks instead of cartridges. The Disk System would go on to sell 4.4 million units and would be discontinued in 2003.

Game Boy[edit | edit source]

Main article: Game Boy

Back in 1989, Nintendo launched the "Game Boy" (GB), which was a portable hand held gaming console which gained massive popularity because people who owned these games could play video games in most places, quite a few of the original Famicom and NES games were ported to this system, but lacked color and graphics due to the systems limitations.

Super Famicom / Super Nintendo Entertainment System[edit | edit source]

Main article: Super Nintendo Entertainment System

In 1990, the "Super Famicom" released in Japan, and roughly a year later in 1991 the "Super Nintendo Entertainment System" released in North America. It was an "upgrade" of the previously released 8-bit Famicom and NES. The consoles supported a wider depth of color, basic 3D graphics, expansive cartridges among other things. This system has commonly been hailed to be Nintendo's best console ever produced. At the time of its release, some buyers of the Famicom or NES did not like the idea of this, so some of the games produced for the Super Famicom and Super NES had ports for the original system, but of course, were graphically downgraded.

Nintendo 64[edit | edit source]

Main article: Nintendo 64

The "Nintendo 64" (N64) was another home video game console created by Nintendo in 1996, it mainly boasted and featured 3D graphics.

Game Boy Color[edit | edit source]

Main article: Game Boy Color

In 1998, Nintendo released an upgrade to the "Game Boy", called the "Game Boy Color" (GBC), it featured color as one of its main selling points, and was noticeably slimmer and lighter then it predecessor. In the beginning of its release, a "Colored version" or "DX" version of original Game Boy games were ported to the system (ex: "The Legend of Zelda: Link Awakening DX"). The size of the GBC cartridges were identical to those of the original Game Boy, and could even be played on the older system because the processors they used were very similar.

GameCube[edit | edit source]

Main article: GameCube

In 2001, both the "GameCube" (GCN) and the "Game Boy Advance" (GBA) were released, and both were a major success. The GC operated using a CD system, which was new to the company at the time, yet offered better quality games and more storage than the old cartridges, yet required customers to buy a memory card to save their game data. The GBA was a major upgrade of the "Game Boy" series and boasted SNES like graphics and functionality. It had much smaller cartridges and could play the old GB and GBC games as well. In 2003, the GBA SP was released, a much slimmer version of the system, and also came with a backlit light to deal with the poor visibility issues that plagued the console series before, and was very well received and praised.

Nintendo DS[edit | edit source]

Main article: Nintendo DS

In late 2004, Nintendo produced the "Nintendo DS" (DS), which had two screens, similar to the old "Game and Watch", the bottom one was slightly smaller then the top, and was a touch screen. It was hailed as a great innovation, but later was criticized by many of Nintendo's hard core fans as "forgetting about them", releasing "Shovelware", and "paying too much attention to casual gamers rather then its fan-base". It had backwards compatibility with the Gameboy Advance games, but not the Game Boy and Game Boy Color games, due to an issue with the processor it used. In mid 2006 Nintendo released a revision of it called the "DS Lite", which was a much slimmer and lighter version of the original DS.

Wii[edit | edit source]

Main article: Wii

In late 2006, Nintendo released the "Wii" (previously "Nintendo Revolution"). It uses an accelerometer to detect movement of the remote. It also had something called the "Virtual Console" where customers could buy "Wii Points" and then spend them to buy games from Nintendo's previous systems to play on the Wii.

Nintendo DSi[edit | edit source]

Main article: Nintendo DSi

Mid 2009, Nintendo did the global release of the "Nintendo DSi" hand held system. It is an upgrade of the DS Lite with a camera, built in web browser, SD card slot and PDA similar applications. The DSi does not have backwards compatibility with GBA games since Nintendo decided to remove the slot. There were a handful of "DSi only" physical releases.

Failures[edit | edit source]

Virtual Boy[edit | edit source]

The "Virtual Boy" (VB) (VR-32 in development), was a semi-portable console release in mid to late 1995 and is considered by many to be one of Nintendo's biggest failures. It only had a library of 22 total games. It only supported the color red, as well as shades of red. The main selling point for this system was that it was the first true "3D" processor, and that it would show you games in 3D vision.

SNES CD[edit | edit source]

"SNES CD" was supposed to be a disk drive addon to the SNES, first announced in 1991, and developed by Sony that was supposed to be able to play CD-ROM based video games on the SNES. The reason for its failure was that Hiroshi Yamauchi (known as the father of the Play Station) read the original contract from 1988 between Sony and Nintendo, and found out that complete control over all titled released under the SNES CD was given to Sony, he deemed this unfit and canceled the project. Later on in 1995, Yamauchi released the SNES CD as the "Sony Play Station" and gave the Sony Corporation much popularity.

Nintendo 64 Disk Drive[edit | edit source]

The "Nintendo 64 Disk Drive" (N64DD) was a disk add-on the N64, similar in concept to the Family Computer Disk System. It was released on December 13, 1999 only in Japan, and was a commercial failure. It boasted online play via Randnet, to compete with the Sega Dreamcast's online abilities. It sold only about 15k units and had the Randnet service closed by early 2001. Though this was a failure, it created a basis for the GBC.

Philips CD-i[edit | edit source]

The "Philips CD-i" was a system made by Philips Electronics in 1991, that was licensed to develop and release Nintendo games. It wasn't originally made for games but was able to do that since of it's use of CD-ROMs. Most of the games released for it were similar to PC games of the time.

Notable Games[edit | edit source]

Nintendo's most known video game series are Mario, The Legend of Zelda, Metroid, and the Wars Series.

External Links[edit | edit source]

Wikipedia's article on the Nintendo Corporation