Not everyone knows that the Nintendo Corporation did not start out as video game producers. The original 1889 company, “Nintendo Koppai”, produced Hanafuda cards, which are playing cards similar to the 52-card decks that most of us know. It wasn’t until many years and other ventures later that the company became interested in electronic toys and video games. It was around this time that they secured the rights to distribute the first commercial home video game console – the Magnavox Odyssey – in Japan. This decision was a huge success for the company, so they followed it up by developing their own games, starting with EVR Race in 1975. Soon after came the well-known Donkey Kong, created by Shigeru Miyamoto, who is every Nintendo fan’s greatest hero.
Nintendo continued to experiment with such electronic toys as the ‘Game and Watch’ (a predecessor to what would eventually become the Gameboy), and in 1983 they released their first console, the Famicom, exclusively in Japan.
Then came the great video game crash of 1983, of which Nintendo was one of the only companies to survive. Out of the ashes of that crash, Nintendo redesigned the Famicom, fixed some issues that the previous machine had, and renamed their new creation the Nintendo Entertainment System (or NES for short). Thus, video game console history was made.
A great deal of my childhood involved the myriad products that Nintendo released over the years. I was the proud owner of one of those NES consoles at a young age, and when I was a little older I nearly had a meltdown of happiness when I found a Super Nintendo Entertainment System under my Christmas tree. For many years I subscribed to Nintendo Power magazine; it was through this magazine that I learned about the Pokemon games and subsequently begged my parents for my first Gameboy, a ‘Pocket’ version. Later I upgraded to a Gameboy Color (I had the special, yellow “Pikachu” version), and one day my parents surprised me with the Nintendo 64. The 64 was probably the last Nintendo system that I played with manic frequency, but over the years I also had a Gameboy Advanced, a GameCube, a Nintendo DS, and a Nintendo Wii. The real kicker? Although the NES doesn’t work anymore, I still have every one of those systems, with games for each of them. The only systems I don’t have are the original Gameboy, the Nintendo 3DS, and the Nintendo Wii-U, and the last two only because they haven’t really impressed me much.
Yes, make no mistake, though they haven’t been my source of video games for a while, Nintendo holds a special place in my heart. I grew up with such exclusive characters as Mario and Luigi, Donkey Kong, and Link and Zelda, and some of their games are still my favorites to this day.
What is your experience with Nintendo games/consoles? What are/were some of your favorite games? Favorite characters? Do you own any Nintendo relics? Please share!
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