by producing popular playing cards known as hanafuda cards. Demand for these cards began to wane in the 1960’s and so Nintendo branched out into other areas. For a while, they ran many businesses including a taxi company.
In the 1970s, Nintendo developed into a video game company. They have since become one of the most powerful and influential brands in the world. Nintendo began to produce computer game consoles en mass in the 1980s and still to this day remain enormously popular. This process began with the Game and Watch handheld system in 1980. Developed with the idea that people could whip it out and play in the go.
Over the years, Nintendo’s video game consoles have changed and evolved to adapt to the modern world. Some consoles have remained popular and successful whilst others have faded into obscurity. Along with Microsoft and Sony they represent the Big 3 in the video game industry and enjoy fierce competition.
Nintendo’s capacity for change has allowed them to endure in the competitive gaming market. It has also meant that they’ve continued to produce trend-setting and pioneering products. Whatever way the gaming world evolves you can be sure that Nintendo will be a mainstay.
NES / Famicom
The Nintendo Entertainment System(NES) was Nintendo’s first crack at breaking the video game market. The NES (Also known as the famicom in Asia) proved to be a hit and featured more than one thousand games. The 8-bit console brought some of Nintendo’s most iconic characters into the mainstream. Games like Super Mario Bros and Legend of Zelda ensured that the NES would pave the way for future glories.
Despite initial slow sales, the NES proved to be a worldwide smash hit, selling over 60 million units.
The Game and Watch was popular and put Nintendo on the map as a video game company. The NES cemented their status as a console manufacturer. But it was, in fact, the Game Boy that took them mainstream.
Revolutionising handheld gaming, the influence and impact of the Game Boy is still felt to this day. To start with Game Boy built its success around the addictive Tetris. But it would build a catalogue of impressive games.
The Game Boy evolved over the years to become Game Boy Pocket, Game Boy Color and Game Boy Advance. Each of these new Game Boy models had slight updates and modifications.
It was with the release of the Pokemon franchise that Game Boy really cemented its legacy. Pokemon proved to be an overnight sensation and helped Game Boy to blow its competitor, the Sega Game Gear out of the water.
The SNES hit the market in the early 1990s and cemented Nintendo’s reputation as leaders in the video game industry. The SNES provided a vast catalogue of popular and ground-breaking games.
Propelled by the success of Street Fighter II, the SNES went on to become one of the best-selling consoles of all time. It helped Nintendo win the 16-bit war against fierce rivals Sega. And it continued to propel the Nintendo empire forwards.
The SNES remains popular today among retro fans and gaming enthusiasts. The games still circulate, and many of their most valuable video games have sold for hundred even thousands of dollars.
Nintendo 64 (N64)
The Nintendo 64 arrived in 1996 and was a direct competitor of the Sony Playstation. The N64 proved popular, and the success of games like Mario 64 and Goldeneye helped Nintendo to shift over 30 million units.
Despite its success, the N64 had limits due to its use of cartridges. The Playstation used CD’s, which were cheaper to manufacture and could hold a lot more data. This led to some titles, such as the Final Fantasy series, switching over to Playstation.
By the time the Game Cube arrived on the scene in the early 00’s the world had changed. Sony’s Playstation had outsold the N64 and was still going strong. New and innovative games were coming out. And to top things off Microsoft had just arrived on the scene with the X-Box, which was proving popular.
Nintendo were facing a tough market. They also had more dogged competitors than they had experienced with Sega in the nineties. To add a unique selling point the Game Cube came in an easy to transport ‘lunchbox’ type design.
Unfortunately, there were inherent problems with the Game Cube. It produced great games but didn’t sell as well as expected. This could have been due to several factors including its garish purple colour. The design of the controllers was appalling, and the games came on mini CD. All this made the console clumsy and unattractive, and this seemed to dwarf the fine games produced.
They also suffered from a lack of third-party developers. The advantage Nintendo always had been a rich catalogue of games to choose from. But with the lack of third-parties working on the Game Cube titles appeared scarce and more than a little stale.
The most recent Nintendo model has been the Nintendo Wii. This has now evolved into the Wii U.
The Wii became one of the first interactive systems. It used a remote controller as a handheld, three-dimensional motion sensing device.
The Wii revolutionised modern gaming with its extra devices such as a balance board. There are also games that need the use of a belt that the controller slots into, allowing you to play the game hands-free.
One of the unique selling points of the Wii was its use as a fitness model. It implemented many interactive games that would allow the user to exercise whilst playing. Packages such as Wii Sports included games like bowling, golf and tennis. Users could play these games simulating the actions and movements they would use if they were playing the sport.
Wii Fit also proved popular as it could be used as a keep fit regime. It would track your weight and exercise regime. It was a fun and gimmicky way of keeping fit from the comfort of your front room.
The Nintendo DS came out for sale at 2004, soon after the Game Boy Advanced SP was released in 2003. THe Nintendo DS adopted similar designs to the Advanced SP with the dual screen play, then Nintendo extended the whole console to a new and fresh concept. The Nintendo DS was the first to release a screen with touchscreen abilities with the gyroscope capability for the games designed for it. Games like Cooking Mama and Super Monkey Ball, adopted these mechanisms. Nintendo beat Sony to the race for this touchscreen and gyroscope mechanism by a year.
Although praised for its enhanced graphics for a handheld console, the main flaw was its bulky design. Nintendo took this criticism and brought out the DS Lite range.
After a few years, Nintendo innovated the gaming world by creating the 3DS range where you can game on the handheld console with a 3D screen. The Legenda of Zelda: Orcarina of Time was one of the first games to showcase this 3D gimmick. The size was not too much different to the DS Lite itself, therefore Nintendo decided to create the 3DS XL range.
Another couple of years has past, Nintendo are now bringing out their new range of the 3DS and XLs, where improvements have been made to improve the gaming experience; for example, an extra toggle/circle pad on the right hand side like all current console controllers have now. Also one of the criticism of the first 3DS was that the 3D view were very hard to few to a lot of people, and it would only show on a certain angle; Nintendo has rectified this problem by using the cameras and gyroscope to determine the angle that you are looking at the console.
The latest gaming console brought out by Nintendo from 2012. Nintendo were criticised that their consoles did not attract the gamers that were attracted to the graphics and that their games were aimed at children and family. The Wii U was created to overcome some of the criticisms made. It came with a gamepad where a 6.2” touch screen was built-in like the screen from the DS range. The console can support 1080p HD graphics for the “better” graphics and those who game for the pictures themselves. Another perk of using the gamepad is that, you can play the game via the gamepad itself and the television can be used to watch everyday television programmes and so on.
However it has been disappointing there has not been many games out since the release. The games that were supposed to be released, has yet to be completed and be sold, however this year at 2015 will be the year where the most anticipated games will be released like The Legend of Zelda HD (however we do not know the complete title for this yet), Splatoon, Yoshi Woolly World and so on. Amiibos are also compatible for this console for the ease of character changing on certain games like Super Smash Brothers and Mario Kart 8.