Nintendo Company Ltd. (任天堂株式会社 Nintendō Kabushiki-kaisha?; Template:Tyo, Template:Ndaq, Template:FWB) is a Japanese multinational corporation founded on September 23 1889[1] in Kyoto, Japan by Fusajiro Yamauchi to produce handmade hanafuda cards.[2] In the mid-twentieth century, the company tried several small niche businesses, such as a love hotel and a taxi company.[3] Over time, it became a video game company, growing into one of the most powerful in the industry and Japan’s third most valuable listed company with a market value of more than US$85 billion.[4] Aside from video games, Nintendo is also the majority owner of the Seattle Mariners, a Major League Baseball team in Seattle, Washington, USA.

Nintendo has the distinction of historically being both the oldest intact company in the video game console market and one of the largest and best-known console manufacturers, as well as being the dominant entity in the handheld game console market.[citation needed]

Name origin

According to Nintendo's Touch Generations website the name "Nintendo" translated from Japanese to English means "Leave luck to heaven".[5]


Main article: History of Nintendo
File:Nintendo former headquarter plate Kyoto.jpg

As a card company (1889–1956)

Nintendo started as a small Japanese business by Fusajiro Yamauchi near the end of 1889 as Nintendo Koppai. Based in Kyoto, Japan, the business produced and marketed a playing card game called Hanafuda. The handmade cards soon began to gain popularity, and Yamauchi had to hire assistants to mass produce cards to keep up with the demand.

New ventures (1956–1975)

In 1956, Hiroshi Yamauchi paid a visit to the US, to engage in talks with the United States Playing Card Company, the dominant playing card manufacturer in the US. Yamauchi was shocked to find that the world’s biggest company in his business was relegated to using a small office. This was a turning point where Yamauchi realized the limitations of the playing card business. He then gained access to Disney’s characters and put them on the playing cards, in order to drive sales.

In 1963, Yamauchi renamed Nintendo Playing Card Company Limited to Nintendo Company, Limited. The company then began to experiment in other areas of business using the newly injected capital. During the period of time between 1963 and 1968, Nintendo set up a taxi company, a "love hotel" chain, a TV network, a food company (trying to sell instant rice, similar to instant noodles), and several other things (including a toy remote controlled vacuum cleaner called Chiritory[6] which was later seen as a two-player game in WarioWare, Inc.: Mega Microgame$ in 2003). All these ventures failed, except toy making, where they had some earlier experience from selling playing cards. Then, after the Tokyo Olympics, playing card sales dropped, leaving Nintendo with 60 yen in stocks.

Riddled with debt, Nintendo struggled to survive in the Japanese toy industry; it was still small at this point, and the market was dominated by already well established companies such as Bandai and Tomy. Because of the generally short product life cycle of toys, the company always had to come up with a new product. This was the beginning of a major new era for Nintendo.

In 1970, Hiroshi Yamauchi was observing a Nintendo hanafuda factory. He noticed an extending arm, which was made by one of their maintenance engineers, Gunpei Yokoi, for his own amusement. Yamauchi ordered Yokoi to develop it as a product for the Christmas rush. The Ultra Hand was a huge success, selling approximately 1.3 million units.[citation needed] Yokoi was soon moved from maintenance duty to product development.

The 1970s also saw the hiring of Shigeru Miyamoto, the man who (along with Yokoi) would become a living legend in the world of gaming and the secret to Nintendo’s longevity; his creative vision was instrumental in determining the path Nintendo’s future (and indeed, the video game industry as a whole) would follow. Yokoi, began to mentor Miyamoto during this period of time in R&D, teaching him all that he knew.

Electronic era (1975–present)

Nintendo’s first step into the video games industry was to secure the rights to distribute the Magnavox Odyssey in Japan, which it did in 1975. At the time, home video game consoles were extremely rare – even the seminal Atari Pong console had yet to be produced.

Nintendo’s first video arcade game was 1978’s Computer Othello; a large handful of others followed in the next several years, Radar Scope and Donkey Kong being among the most famous of these. The early 1980s saw Nintendo’s video game division (led by Yokoi) creating some of its most famous arcade titles. The massively popular Donkey Kong was created in 1981 with Miyamoto as its mastermind, and released in the arcades and on the Atari 2600, Intellivision, and ColecoVision video game systems (although Nintendo itself generally had no involvement with these early console ports). This release method would be used on several later Nintendo arcade games of this same period, including the original Mario Bros.. In addition to this arcade and dedicated console game activity, Nintendo was testing the consumer handheld video game waters with the Game & Watch. Then, in 1985, Nintendo struck gold with its Nintendo Entertainment System and continued with the handheld gaming market with their highly successful Game Boy. Nintendo continued producing updates of these two concepts, leading it to become one of the world’s most recognized video-game manufacturers.

Nintendo’s main line-up of video game systems currently include the Nintendo DS Lite and Wii. The Game Boy Advance and Nintendo GameCube are still somewhat prevalent but no longer produced in some countries.


  • Now you're playing with power! (19861992)*
  • Have you had your fun today? (19911992)
  • The best play here! (19921994)
  • Play it loud! (19941996)
  • Get N or get out! (in reference to the Nintendo 64) (19962000)
  • Who are you? (accompanied photos of civilians with Nintendo character faces pasted over) (20022005)
  • Too much fun! (in reference to all Nintendo products) (20022004)
  • Touching is good. (Nintendo DS) (2004present) **
  • Wii would like to play. (Wii) (2006present)

* This slogan was sometimes used slightly differently in commercials. When the commercial was for a Game Boy game, the slogan would be "Now you're playing with power...Portable power!", and if it was a commercial for a Super NES game, the slogan would be "Now you're playing with power...Super power!"

** This slogan hasn't been used at all in ads for DS games since the release of the Nintendo DS Lite in North America.

Gaming systems



File:Nintendo tvgame 6.jpg

Color TV Game (1977–1980)

Main article: Color TV Game

The Color TV Game series were five different dedicated consoles, each designed to play a specific game or set of games. They were very similar to the early Pong home console. The players controlled their paddles with dials attached directly to the machine. Additionally, as an alternative to the standard version, a white-colored C Battery powered model of the Color TV Game 6 was introduced. With a limited run of only a few hundred units, these are largely considered the most prized by serious collectors.Computer TV Game, unlike Nintendo's other system did not use a removeable storage system to store its games, either in cartridge form or disc form. It was distributed only in Japan and was a port of Nintendo's arcade game Computer Othello.

Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) (1983–1995)

File:Nintendo entertainment system.png
Main article: Nintendo Entertainment System

Nintendo Entertainment System, or NES, is an 8-bit video game console released by Nintendo in North America, Brazil, Europe, Asia, and Australia. Its Japanese equivalent is known as the Famicom (Family Computer). NES was the most successful gaming console of its time in Asia and North America.[citation needed] Nintendo claims to have sold over 60 million NES units worldwide.[7] It helped revitalize the video game industry following the video game crash of 1983 and set the standard for subsequent consoles in everything from game design (the platform game, Super Mario Bros., was the system’s first "killer app") to business practices. The NES was the first console for which the manufacturer openly courted third-party developers. Nintendo of Japan continued to repair Famicom systems until October 31 2007, attributing the decision to discontinue support to an increasing shortage of the necessary parts.[8][9][10]

Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES) (1990–1998)

File:Super Nintendo Entertainment System-USA.jpg
Main article: Super Nintendo Entertainment System

The Super Nintendo Entertainment System, also known as Super Nintendo, Super NES or SNES, is a 16-bit video game console released by Nintendo in North America, Brazil, Europe, and Australia. In Japan it is known as the Super Famicom (Super Family Computer). In South Korea, it is known as the Super Comboy and was distributed by Hyundai Electronics.

The SNES was Nintendo’s second home console, following the Nintendo Entertainment System. Whereas the earlier system had struggled in the PAL region and large parts of Asia, the SNES proved to be a global success, albeit one that could not match its predecessor’s popularity in Northeast Asia and North America – due in part to increased competition from Sega’s Mega Drive console (released in North America as the Genesis). Despite its relatively late start, the SNES became the best selling console of the 16-bit era.

The SNES has sold over 49 million systems worldwide.[11]

Nintendo 64 (N64) (1996–2002)

File:Nintendo 64.jpg
Main article: Nintendo 64

The Nintendo 64, commonly called the N64, and code named Ultra 64, was Nintendo’s third home video game console for the international market. It was released with three launch games in Japan (Super Mario 64, Pilotwings 64 and Saikyo Habu Shogi) and two in North America (Super Mario 64 and Pilotwings 64). PAL regions also had three launch titles (Super Mario 64, Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire and Pilotwings 64) with Turok: Dinosaur Hunter delayed until three days after launch. Other key titles included Donkey Kong 64, Diddy Kong Racing, the two games in The Legend of Zelda series, GoldenEye 007, Mario Kart 64, Super Smash Bros. and Star Fox 64. The Nintendo 64 has sold over 32.93 million systems as of March 31, 2005.[12]

Nintendo GameCube (GCN) (2001–2007)

File:NGC Gamecube.jpg
Main article: Nintendo GameCube

The Nintendo GameCube was Nintendo’s sixth generation game console, the same generation as Sega’s Dreamcast, Sony’s PlayStation 2, and Microsoft’s Xbox. Right up until the console’s unveiling at SpaceWorld 2000, the design project was known as Dolphin – this can still be seen in the console and its accessories' model numbers. The GameCube itself was the most compact and least expensive of the sixth generation era consoles. The GameCube was Nintendo’s first game console to use optical discs rather than game cartridges. An agreement with the optical drive manufacturer Matsushita led to a DVD-playing GameCube system named the Panasonic Q, which was only released in Japan. The Nintendo GameCube sold 21.72 million units as of December 31 2007.[13]

Wii (2006–present)

File:Wii Wiimotea.png
Main article: Wii

The Wii (pronounced as the word we, Template:IPAEng) is Nintendo’s seventh-generation video game console. The system’s code name was "Revolution", and as with the Nintendo GameCube, this reference appears on the console and its accessories.

The major feature of the Wii console is the console’s wireless controller, the Wii Remote, that may be used as a handheld pointing device and can detect motion and rotation in three dimensions. The controller comes with a Nunchuk accessory which provides additional controls, including more motion sensing. The controller also contains a speaker and a rumble device to provide sensory feedback, and can be used to turn the console on and off. The console also features a stand-by mode entitled WiiConnect24, enabling it to receive messages and updates over the Internet while consuming very little electrical power. The console is bundled with a game, Wii Sports. In the Japan region, the Wii Sports game is not included with the console but is offered as a standalone title. The Wii has sold 20.13 million units as of December 31 2007.[13]. The Wii, like the Nintendo GameCube, is the smallest and most compact system in its generation. However, Wii does not have the ability to match certain technical aspects of its competitors of its generation, such as high graphical complexity using hundreds of millions of polygons per second, Pixel Shader Model 3.0 and high-definition resolution (the Wii can only achieve 480p, as opposed to the Xbox 360 that can achieve 1080p) among other things.

On December 15, 2006, Nintendo announced that it would offer to replace wrist straps for 3.2 million Wii controllers. Consumers reported they were breaking during game play.[14]

By April 2007, the Wall Street Journal declared Nintendo had "become the company to beat in the games business" with the Wii outselling its home system rivals and overshadowing the better selling Nintendo DS portable.[15] Nintendo’s profits were up 77 % on the fiscal year due to Wii and Nintendo DS sales.[16]

Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata has urged Nintendo not to get "complacent" due to the early success of the Wii. He continued by saying it was important "not to lose internal momentum and energy". Iwata urged Nintendo to continue its momentum.[17]


Game Boy line (1989–present)

File:Game Boy Advance SP.jpg
Main article: Game Boy line

The Game Boy (ゲームボーイ Gemu Boi?) line is a line of battery-powered handheld game consoles sold by Nintendo. It is one of the world's best-selling game system lines, with more than 188 million units sold worldwide, as of March 15, 2006.[18] The original Game Boy and Game Boy Color combined have sold 118.7 million units worldwide,[19] as of March 31 2005.[20] The Game Boy Advance underwent two revisions without changing its game-playing functionality: a smaller SP model, which was the first Game Boy to include a back-lit screen and rechargeable battery, and an even smaller micro variant with a higher-quality backlit screen. The Game Boy Advance, Game Boy Advance SP, and Game Boy Micro combined have sold 80.74 million units as of December 31 2007.[13]

Nintendo DS (2004–present)

File:Nintendo DS Lite (top open on).jpg
Main article: Nintendo DS

The Nintendo DS (sometimes abbreviated NDS or DS, also as iQue DS in China) is a handheld game console developed and manufactured by Nintendo, released in 2004. It is visibly distinguishable by its horizontal clamshell design, which is almost a throwback to the Game & Watch, and the presence of two displays, the lower of which acts as a touchscreen. The system also has a built-in microphone and supports wireless IEEE 802.11 (Wi-Fi) standards, allowing players to interact with each other within short range (10–30 meters, depending on conditions) or over the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection service via a standard Wi-Fi access point.

According to Nintendo, the letters "DS" in the name stand for "Developers' System" and "Dual Screen", the former of which refers to the features of the handheld designed to encourage innovative gameplay ideas among developers.[21] The system was known as "Project Nitro" during development.

On March 2, 2006, Nintendo released the Nintendo DS Lite, a redesigned model of the Nintendo DS, in Japan. It was later released in North America, Australia and Europe.

The Nintendo DS and Nintendo DS Lite combined have sold 64.79 million units as of December 31 2007.[13] In Japan, the sales ratio of the Nintendo DS to the PlayStation Portable is about four or five to one, a figure maintained on a weekly basis.Template:Verify source

Other hardware

  • Game Boy Camera – A monochrome camera cartridge for the original version of the Game Boy, includes a simple picture editor and ability to print pictures via Game Boy Printer.
  • Broadcast Satellaview – Only released in Japan, an add-on for the Super Famicom (Japanese SNES) that allowed anyone to download games by a satellite.
  • Game & Watch – A series of handheld games made by Nintendo from 1980 through 1991.
  • Game Boy Player – An adapter for playing Game Boy games on the GameCube.
  • Game Boy Printer – An adapter designed for printing things from the Game Boy. For example, it was used for printing out Pokémon information from the Pokédex in the Game Boy Pokémon games.
  • iQue Player – A version of the Nintendo 64, with double the clock speed and downloadable games, released only in China.
  • iQue DS – A version of the Nintendo DS released only in China.
  • Nintendo 64DD – Only released in Japan, this add-on system’s games are on rewritable magnetic disks. Games released include a paint and 3D construction package, F-Zero X Expansion Kit, for creating new F-Zero X tracks, a sequel to the SNES version of SimCity, SimCity 64 and a few others. A complete commercial failure, many speculated that Nintendo released it only to save face after promoting it preemptively for years.[citation needed]
  • Pokémon Mini – Unveiled in London at Christmas 2000, the Pokémon Mini was Nintendo’s cheapest system ever produced; with games costing £10 ($15) each, and the system costing £30 ($45). This remains the smallest cartridge-based games console ever made. Sales of this system were rather poor, but, unlike the Virtual Boy, Nintendo made a profit on every game and system sold.[citation needed]
  • Mobile System GB – Released in Japan December 14, 2000. The Mobile System is an adapter to play Game Boy Color games on the cell phone. Pokémon Crystal was the first game to take advantage of the Mobile System. Someone can hook an adapter to their Game Boy and connect it to a mobile phone which people can receive news, trade, and battle with other players across Japan.
  • Pokémon Pikachu – A handheld device similar to the popular Tamagotchi toy that allowed the user to take care of Pikachu in the manner of a pet.
  • Super Game Boy – Adapter for playing Game Boy games on the Super NES, which would be displayed in color.
  • Triforce – An arcade system based on Nintendo GameCube hardware, developed in partnership with Sega and Namco.
  • Virtual Boy – The Virtual Boy used an array of red LEDs combined with two motor-driven mirrors to display graphics in 3D. The resulting images were displayed in varying shades of red and black. Fewer than two dozen games were released for it in the United States. It is the only Nintendo game system to be a commercial failure.
  • Yakuman – A handheld Mah-jong game released in 1983.
  • GameCube Microphone – Used in Karaoke Revolution Party, Mario Party 6, Mario Party 7, and in Odama for the Nintendo GameCube. Recognizes basic sounds, and incorporates them into gameplay.
  • Nintendo Gateway – a proprietary hardware /software system available on commercial aircraft and hotel properties.
  • Panasonic Q - a GameCube that could play DVDs developed by Panasonic.

Offices and locations

File:Nintendo office.jpg

Nintendo Company, Limited (NCL), the main branch of the company, is based in Minami-ku, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture, Japan (Template:Coord). Nintendo of America (NOA), its American division, is based in Redmond, Washington. It has distribution centers in Atlanta, Georgia, and North Bend, Washington. Nintendo of Canada (NoC) is based in Richmond, British Columbia, with its own distribution centre in Toronto, Ontario. Nintendo Australia, its Australian division, is based in Melbourne, Victoria, and Nintendo of Europe, the European division, is based in Großostheim, Germany. iQue, Ltd., a Chinese joint venture with its founder, Doctor Wei Yen, and Nintendo, manufactures and distributes official Nintendo consoles and games for the mainland Chinese market, under the iQue brand. Nintendo also established Nintendo of Korea (NoK) on July 7, 2006.

See also


  1. Company History (Japanese). Nintendo. Retrieved on 2006-07-29.
  2. Company History. Nintendo. Retrieved on 2006-06-04.
  3. Nintendo History Lesson: The Lucky Birth. N-sider. Retrieved on 2006-06-04.
  4. Reuters: Nintendo sets $85 bln high score, thanks to Wii, DS
  6. Squirl:Chiritory. Retrieved on 2007-06-14.
  7. NES. Classic Systems. Nintendo. Archived from the original on 2007-08-04. Retrieved on 2007-12-04.
  8. 初代「ファミコン」など公式修理サポート終了 (Japanese). ITmedia News. ITmedia (2007-10-16). Retrieved on 2008-01-20.
  9. RyanDG (2007-10-16). Nintendo of Japan dropping Hardware support for the Famicom. Arcade Renaissance. Retrieved on 2008-01-20.
  10. "Nintendo’s classic Famicom faces end of road" (Reprint), AFP, 2007-10-31. Retrieved on 2007-11-09. Archived from the original on 2007-06-09. 
  11. Super NES. Classic Systems. Nintendo. Archived from the original on 2007-07-14. Retrieved on 2007-12-04.
  12. Nintendo Co. Ltd (2005). Nintendo Annual Report 2005. Retrieved on 2007-06-14.
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 13.3 Consolidated Financial Highlights (PDF) 8. Nintendo Co., Ltd. (2008-01-24). Retrieved on 2008-02-12.
  14. Hans Griemel (2006-12-15). Nintendo to replace 3.2 million straps. ABC News. Retrieved on 2007-06-14.
  15. Nick Wingfield and Yukari Iwatani Kane, Wii and DS Turn Also-Ran Nintendo Into Winner in Videogames Business, Wall Street Journal, April 19, 2007
  16. Nintendo Profits Up 77 Pct. on Wii Sales, Associated Press, April 26, 2007.
  17. Iwata: Success mustn't make us complacent
  18. "Game Boy Gets Pretty in Pink on March 27", Nintendo, 2006-03-15. Retrieved on 2008-03-01. 
  19. A Brief History of Game Console Warfare: Game Boy. BusinessWeek. Retrieved on 2008-01-25.
  20. 05 Nintendo Annual Report - Nintendo Co., Ltd. (PDF) 33. Nintendo (2005-05-26). Retrieved on 2007-09-07.
  21. Nintendo DS Frequently Asked Questions. Nintendo. Retrieved on 2006-04-02.

External links

Template:Nintendo hardware