Nintendo Playing Cards IMG

Nintendo is today one year older. It's now been 129 years since entrepreneur Fusajiro Yamauchi originally founded the Japanese company. Established way back in 1889 as a Hanafuda playing card manufacturer, Yamauchi opened his first shop "Nintendo Koppai" in Kyoto. Eventually, he was succeeded by his son-in-law Sekiryo Kaneda (Yamauchi) in 1929, and the business was then passed onto his grandson, Hiroshi Yamauchi - who modernised the company and also the video game industry at the time.

Since then, Nintendo has had many ups and downs - releasing one line after another of modern systems, games and even services. To this day, Nintendo continues to revolutionise the industry and remains synonymous with Mario, Zelda, Metroid, Pokémon and its more recent franchises like Splatoon. So now, let's all take a moment, as we collectively raise our Joy-Con to wish Nintendo a Happy Birthday.

Below is also a more detailed summary we posted in 2014 to celebrate the company's 125th Birthday:

Founded initially as Nintendo Koppai by Fusajiro Yamauchi (Koppai was rather cutely referenced in Pikmin 3), it was a company that thrived on the hanafuda playing card craze in Japan. Upon Fusajiro Yamauchi standing down in 1947 he was replaced by grandson Hiroshi Yamauchi, who would be a pivotal figure in Nintendo's moves into international markets and new products throughout his reign as President. The company's name was changed to the familiar Nintendo Co., Ltd in 1963 and famously embarked upon some diverse and failed businesses, such as taxi services, food products and, notoriously, Love Hotels. Yamauchi-san's ideas at this point may have failed and put the company at risk, but his acceptance that it needed to evolve from playing cards was fundamental to its future success.

It was when seeing Gunpei Yokoi — a pivotal figure that would revolutionise the concept of portable gaming with Game & Watch and the Game Boy — experimenting with a claw that Yamauchi-san pushed in a more successful direction. It was made into the Ultra Hand, and with its success the company was transformed into a toy company that enjoyed success through the 1970s and into the 1980s. With Yamauchi-san's drive, Yokoi-san's technological design skills and a breakthrough of a young Shigeru Miyamoto, Nintendo took the step from toys into electronic video games. What began as success for the original arcade Donkey Kong and licensing opportunities became the Famicom / Nintendo Entertainment System, with the entertainment system branding being particularly important in the West after the failure of the game console industry in the years before. The NES became a huge success with children - in particular - in the mid to late '80s, followed by the Game Boy as a mainstream portable phenomenon by the close of that decade.

Celebrate all-things Nintendo in the comments below.