The 'Shroom:Issue LIX/A History of Video Games

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A History of Video Games

by Toad85 (talk)

Hey everybody, it's Toad85 again. Welcome back to more "A History of Video Games." In the last issue, we discussed the importance and influence of the 1983 Crash on the video game industry, and what immediate affects went down. Now let's look backwards. Back to 1889, to be exact. Back when the first video game company formed, though it would be almost a century before they started working on games. I'm talking Nintendo, people. You know, the company that created the series off of which this wiki is based? Never mind, let's just get into the history part.

Just FYI, this will be only the first part in a several-part series, which will probably take up most of 2012. I go into detail around here.


As I said in the above blurb, Nintendo was (believe it or not) founded way back on September 23, 1889. It began life as a small business owned by Fusajiro Yamauchi, and originally marketed handmade playing cards for the game Hanafuda. "Nintendo," by the way, literally means "leave luck to heaven." The company was reasonably popular, and Yamauchi had to hire assistants to mass-produce cards just to meet demand.

Yamauchi had no son to take over the family business when he grew old, so, following common Japanese custom, he adopted his son-in-law, Sekiryo Kaneda. In 1929, Yamauchi stepped down from Nintendo and Kaneda took over the company as its president. In 1949, when Sekiro died, his grandson Hiroshi Yamauchi took over.

In 1953, Nintendo became the first company in Japan to produce playing cards from plastic. These new cards became a hit, and allowed Nintendo to dominate the card industry. In 1956, Hiroshi visited the United States to engage with talks with the United States Playing Card Company, a large distributor of playing cards in America. Hiroshi was shocked to find that the large company was relegated to using such a small office. This was a turning point in Nintendo, as Hiroshi realized the limitations of the playing card industry.

In 1959, Nintendo struck a deal with the Walt Disney Company to have them allow Nintendo to use Disney's characters on Nintendo's cards. The tie-in was a success and Nintendo sold at least 600,000 card packs in a single year. Due to his newfound success, Hiroto Yamauchi put Nintendo on the Osaka Stock Exchange for the first time, and brought the company public. In 1963, the Nintendo Playing Card Company was renamed the Nintendo Company, Ltd. by Hiroshi. Nintendo now began to dabble in other industries besides that of playing cards, such as taxis, a "love hotel" chain, instant rice, and even vacuum cleaners. I mean, how can you go wrong with vacuum cleaners? Unfortunately, all of their other ventures failed, except that of toymaking, and this is where Nintendo started forming into the company that we know them as now.