First founded way back in 1889, Nintendo has now been around for 131 years. The company has unsurprisingly gone through a number of major changes in that time, and a newly-restored set of photographs have given us a fantastic look at life at Nintendo before the likes of Mario and co. even existed.
In the early 1970s, Nintendo was still best-known as a playing cards manufacturer, with experiments in electronic entertainment still in their infancy. In fact, the '70s was a hugely important decade for the company; the '60s saw then-president Hiroshi Yamauchi investing in several unsuccessful new ventures like love hotels, but by the end of the '70s, Nintendo had managed to expand to North America and was on the verge of launching its very first Game & Watch.
The images below, originally from BeforeMario and restored by Twitter user, @KaihatsuYT, show Nintendo's headquarters as they existed back in 1970. The first image shows a panorama shot of the company's main offices, with later pics showing off the inside, including a look at its Hanafuda factory.
The original source for these images, BeforeMario, has even more shots of Nintendo's offices back in the '70s if you're interested in taking a look, although those shots haven't been restored in the same way as the ones shown above.
Pretty fascinating stuff, huh?
[source blog.beforemario.com, via twitter.com]
IT LOOKS SO OLD
This article made me realize, it's honestly really difficult to imagine a world that didn't have Mario in it.
It all looks very... rectangular. But I suppose it was the 1970s, so people didn’t have many polygons to work with.
Whenever I see these kinds of pictures, my first thoughts are “I wonder where these people are today” and “I wonder what they think of the company that is Nintendo as it is today”
I remember the world being lower contrast in the past.
This reminds me of thumbing through old photos that my parents have. It's fun to see and imagine the world as it was back then.
Huge shout-out to those ladies working on the Hanafuda cards. They're contributing to Nintendo's rich history!
For those who don't know when Hiroshi Yamauchi took over Nintendo in 1949, he fired everyone in the company and hired a brand new staff so that no one would question his authority, go against him, or cause drama in the company. This new staff would began to grow and become the company we knew of today so even though Nintendo the company existed since 1889, the real start of the company actually began on 1949 as before that the company was on its last legs and is fill with toxic workers thus the reason why Yamauchi fired everyone in the first place.
While everything else feels very 70's, that lobby/waiting room looks pretty advanced for it's time. Granted that I know nothing of architecture
Get us some photos from Nintendo in the 1990s!
If you could time travel, to tell about the switch and say; hey in the future you can take your Nintendo everywhere where you go with awesome graphics.
Nintendos Secret service; Take them down!, they know about our top secret plans! THE GAMEBOY!
Or from inside Rare during the N64 era, releasing multiple stone-cold classics each year.
@the_weakest_link exactly! Those photos in the story could literally be from anywhere, they don’t scream Nintendo to me.
Other than the trucks that look ancient, nothing here looks particularly old. It all seems strangely modern. The bare aluminum look around the windows is even back in fashion, and the wood paneling might be 70's in the US, but it's universally ageless in Japanese design. Japanese architecture always goes for a "timeless" look.
Nintendo's new HQ isn't any less rectangular. Just taller and with thicker walls and slightly more prison-like.
Gunpey Yokoi must be somewhere around. He was the janitor of the hanafuda assembly lines back then.
Where they working in switches, I mean shifts?
Sorry, I'll let myself out.
Not just before Mario, but mainly before Donkey Kong
Those ladies working the machines are now working on Splatoon 3.
Ya know whats crazy? Remembering that if Nintendo never entered the video game business there would be no video game market now. They single handedly saved the entire industry
It's surprising how modern the image with the spinning chairs looks!
so nostalgic for sweatshops!
Actually really interesting
Japanese work places tend to look psychologically sad in atmosphere. I would probably go crazy if put in such a minimalist environment everyday.
It just feels like I'm not really looking at Nintendo. Yeah it's Nintendo... but it's not lol.
Damn! The one who got these pics could make a fortune if he has more!
@Ryu_Niiyama Yeah this. Heck, Play-Asia still sells a ton of them!
That one lady doesnt look like she is enjoying doing whatever shes doing
History in the making right here.
@earthinheritor "there would be no video game market now" That's a bit much. The video game crash mostly happened in the US, Europe was a lot more focused on games for home computers at the time and in Japan companies like Sega would still have tried to find a way to sell their arcade games to people for playing at home. But the video game market would probably look a lot different without Nintendo.
Japan in the 70s. I would buy a 'coffee table' book full of these photos, with all sorts, but also including Nintendo, Sony, Sega, etc, corporate buildings etc in the 70s
@earthinheritor 'Ya know whats crazy? Remembering that if Nintendo never entered the video game business there would be no video game market now. They single handedly saved the entire industry'
Nah, that was just in America. Rest of the World (which is very big) was enjoying Video games, and was a very healthy market in the 1980s. I should know, I was a there, lol.
@earthinheritor This is a misconception. The crash was mostly in America, plus several computer games were actually thriving at the time (despite the crash).
Sooner or later, other computer games would have surfaced and slowly restored the industry (games with the same quality as King's Quest and Pac Man, for example, in addition to better management) — whether Nintendo were present or not.
@Bobb I've noticed Japanese architecture and interior design tends to favor simple, clean design. It tends to look a bit boring but also gives it a timeless look compared to western design. Had this been an American building, it probably would have had avocado green furniture, lava lamps and shag carpet.
@Crockin Do you know something the rest of us don't? Not every factory is a sweat shop. I worked in factories to get myself through college and while they weren't fun jobs, I would call them sweat shops.
@TheFox factories like this were predominantly women working long hours in miserable conditions for little pay. not really a big secret or anything there. obviously they wouldn't convey that in a photo meant for the public to see.
"Video Game Crash" is Atari speak for the time when Commodore64 owned the video game market.
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