Happy 125th Birthday, Nintendo!

Today is Nintendo’s 125th anniversary of the company’s founding in 1889 on September 23rd in Kyoto. The Nintendo HQ remains there to this day, and it’s important to remember that Nintendo’s history goes far, far back… way further than Mario games, console struggles, and plastic toys.

Fusajiro Yamauchi founded the company as Nintendo Koppai, which found its success around the hanafuda playing card fad in Japan at the time. In 1947, grandson Hiroshi Yamauchi took over as President and moved the company into more international territory.

In 1963, the company’s name was changed to Nintendo Co., Ltd, and there were a number of failed ventures—we’re talking the *ahem* Love Hotels, food, and even taxi services—before stumbling upon the idea of the Ultra Hand, a successful idea that shifted the company into the toy business.

Yamauchi had serious drive, and with the help of Gunpei Yokoi and a young Shigeru Miyamoto, Nintendo made its way through toys and into video games. The early success of the arcade game Donkey Kong turned into the Famicom/Nintendo Entertainment System console, and as we all know, the success of this console in the mid to late 1980s kicked off a revolution in entertainment and gaming that continues to this day.

Nintendo’s history from that time forward becomes much more complex and condensed, but notably Yamauchi stepped down in May 2002 and was replaced by Satoru Iwata at the head of the company. Iwata has helped to shape Nintendo’s successes (and, yes, failures) over the past decade, keeping the company viable and competitive in a tough market.

For better or for worse, Nintendo has been the most enduring company (and arguably the  most influential) in video gaming history—and undoubtedly, we will see more fantastic ideas, concepts, and revolutionary products in the decades to come.


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Author: Faith View all posts by
Faith likes games and books and cake and writing and Lara Croft, not necessarily in that order. She also thinks a Skylanders cartoon show is a really, REALLY good idea...

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