Almost everyone is familiar with Nintendo. You may not have personally played on her game consoles, but you probably saw them, heard about them, bought them for someone. Having created so many innovative devices and given the world so many iconic characters, the company is perceived by us as something young and modern. And it is all the more surprising to realize that it was created as much as 125 years ago.
First steps and first popularity
Indeed, the history of Nintendo goes back to the century before last. True, then the company was called differently - Marufuku. Over the next years, it will change its name more than once, until in 1963 it finally stops at the version familiar to us today. The founder of the company is Fusajiro Yamauchi, who in 1889 in the Japanese city of Kyoto started his business dedicated to the production of playing cards.
Even then, the brainchild of a talented Japanese stood out noticeably from competitors. So, the company was one of the few who produced really high-quality cards - hand-painted and varnished. Later, she became the first in Japan to take on the production of Western-style playing cards. All this paid off, and soon Nintendo became the leader in its market.
Awkward experiments and the search for a calling
In the 1950s, Nintendo was headed by the grandson of its creator, Hiroshi Yamauchi. The first lesson he learned for himself in his new position was the importance of advertising. That is why in 1956 he went to the USA, where he signed an agreement with Disney to place famous cartoon characters on the game cards he produced. The cunning move brought the desired result - sales broke all possible records.
Inspired by success, Hiroshi Yamauchi felt the strength to further develop the company - in new and not yet mastered directions. So in Japan, various eateries and Nintendo motels began to open, a taxi service of the same name and a TV channel appeared. Moreover, the company even took up the production of vacuum cleaners. But, unfortunately, none of these inventions did not burn out. Divisions closed one after the other, until only one department remained functioning, still making a profit - Nintendo Games.
Incredible as it may seem, inventions such as the mechanical arm and the baseball machine, developed by young engineer Gunpei Yoko, saved the company from bankruptcy. Nintendo regained its reputation and at the same time finally found its calling - the release of various toys, including electronic ones.
Rapid development and the birth of Super Mario
With renewed vigor, Nintendo took up the production of slot machines and handheld gaming devices. The first couple of inventions were unsuccessful, but then the long-awaited success followed. And they became the Game Watch game console, well known to domestic users under the name "Electronics".
A simple device dragged young players for hours. And this is despite the fact that each of the consoles could only support one game, drawn right on its screen. Game Watch was sold in the amount of 10 million copies, and Hiroshi Yamauchi considered this a worthy reason to finally move beyond Japan. So, in 1980, the first branch of Nintendo in the United States was opened.
Well, 1981 was the year when the famous Super Mario was born to all of us. Yes, this character is over thirty years old. Well, he appeared for the first time on the Donkey Kong console as the brother of the main character. Perhaps he would have remained a supporting hero if not for the Universal film company, which sued Nintendo for using a name similar to the word King Kong. The lawsuit was lost, but the additional advertising turned out to be to the advantage of the Japanese company. She had new opportunities for development, Mario became a separate character and immediately acquired a number of fans. This was the beginning of a huge series of games that were popular with representatives of various generations.
New achievements and the emergence of competitors
Nintendo met the 80s with a strong position in the production of both arcade machines and portable game consoles. It remained only to conquer the last, third niche - the release of game consoles. So, in 1983, the Nintendo Entertainment System appears on sale, which first covers the Japanese market, and then the United States.
NES became a real “gold mine” for the company, but games specially developed for it brought even more income - Super Mario, Donkey Kong, Metroid, The Legend of Zelda, Castlevania. For example, Super Mario alone has sold 68 million copies.
In the late 80s, the Game Watch was replaced by a new achievement of the company - the Game Boy. This console featured an 8-bit processor and an LCD screen. For games, it was possible to use various cartridges.
Despite the fact that Nintendo for quite some time remained the leader in its market, the appearance of competitors was only a matter of time. So, the first blow to its well-being was dealt by Sega, which was able to steal some of the company's customers from the company. The second blow was the release of the company's Play Station console Sony. Nintendo's sales dropped noticeably. Some of her subsequent projects, such as Virtual Boy and Game Cube, were in demand only among fans of the Japanese company.
Our time and new perspectives
The 2000s began with global changes for Nintendo. Hiroshi Yamauchi, who led the company for more than half a century, decided to retire and personally appointed his successor. They became young and full of energy Satoru Iwata. It was he who helped Nintendo regain lost ground.
So, the DS portable game console was first released, which instantly won the hearts of users. She was followed Wii, aimed at a casual audience and delighting with its originality (despite the fact that from a technical point of view it does not break records).
And although the company's competitors are not going to retreat, Nintendo products are still the best-selling. And this means that its 125-year history is still ongoing.