As we all know, Nintendo didn't start out in the video game arena - which is pretty obvious when you consider the company is now over 100 years old - but instead began its life creating Hanafuda playing cards.

In its latest "Here's a Thing" episode, Eurogamer explores this rather shady part of Nintendo's history. Hanafuda cards were introduced many years before Nintendo existed when gambling with western-style playing cards was outlawed.

When Fusajiro Yamauchi founded Nintendo in 1889, he focused his business on creating Hanafuda cards by hand but found that his market was somewhat limited by the fact that most households in the Kyoto region only purchased a single pack.

This changed when the local Yakuza took notice and began setting up parlours to leverage the growing interest in gambling with Hanafuda cards; these parlours would open a new pack for every single game that took place. As Kyoto's biggest manufacturer, Nintendo's business subsequently skyrocketed as demand for packs increased.

While this might not be something that the family-friendly Nintendo of today feels the need to brag about, without the Yakuza connection it wouldn't have become the country's biggest supplier of Hanafuda cards, and had that not happened then we almost certainly wouldn't have seen the company do deals with Disney for themed decks and eventually move onto creating toys and - you've guessed it - video games.

Main image credit: Hanafuda Hub