Nintendo is a Japanese video game and gaming system company headquartered in Kyoto. The company was founded in 1889 by artisan Fusajiro Yamauchi under the name Nintendo Karuta and originally produced handmade "hanafuda" playing cards. In the 1960s, Nintendo moved into other businesses and officially went public under its current name, and in 1977 released the Color TV-Game, its first video game console. The company gained international recognition with the release of Donkey Kong in 1981, as well as the Nintendo Entertainment System and Super Mario Bros. in 1985.

Since then, Nintendo has released some of the most successful gaming systems such as the Game Boy, Super Nintendo Entertainment System, Nintendo DS, Wii, and Nintendo Switch. The company has created many major franchises such as Mario, Donkey Kong, The Legend of Zelda, Pokémon, Kirby, Metroid, Fire Emblem, Animal Crossing, Splatoon, Star Fox, Xenoblade Chronicles, and Super Smash Bros.

Nintendo has many subsidiaries in Japan and abroad, as well as business partners such as The Pokémon Company and HAL Laboratory. Nintendo and its employees have received awards such as Technology & Engineering Emmy Awards, Game Awards, Game Developers Choice Awards and the British Academy Video Game Award. This is one of the richest and most expensive companies in the Japanese market.



Nintendo was founded on September 23, 1889 by Master Fusajiro Yamauchi in Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto, Japan as Nintendo Karuta to manufacture and distribute Hanafuda, the Japanese version of Karuta playing cards. It is generally accepted that the name "Nintendo" means "leave paradise for happiness", but this assumption has no historical basis; the name can also be translated as "free hanafuda temple".

The company began producing hand-drawn Japanese-style Hanafuda playing cards, which quickly gained popularity, and the company firmly established itself in the Japanese toy market. Yamauchi did not have a son to whom he could pass the family business, so, following an ancient Japanese tradition, he named his future son-in-law Sekirio Kaneda (1883-1949) as his successor. Tom had to take his wife's maiden name and become Sekirio Yamauchi.

In 1947, Sekirio founded the Marufuku Company to distribute Hanafuda cards, as well as many other brands of cards introduced by Nintendo. Sekiryo, like his father-in-law, also only had daughters, causing his son-in-law Shikanojo Inaba to also take his wife's maiden name, thus becoming Shikanojo Yamauchi. However, the relationship did not work out, and Shikanojo, not having time to take the presidency, left the family, leaving his wife and children. His only son, Hiroshi, at the age of 22, despite initially not wanting to do so, was forced to take over as CEO of Nintendo when Sekiryo (after Shikanojo's departure, he and his daughter took over raising Hiroshi and his sisters). ) began to have serious health problems.

toy company

In 1963, Nintendo Playing Card Company Limited was renamed Nintendo Company, Limited.

In the 1970s, thanks to the designs of engineer Gunpei Yokoi, especially his Ultra Hand toy, Nintendo began making toys for children and built its own toy factory. Gunpei Yokoi, after the success of The Ultra Hand, was transferred from the maintenance department to the development department.

Since Yokoi was an engineer, he also designed electronic toys. At the time, they were brand new compared to the traditional ones, allowing Nintendo to make more profits. Yokoi designed many toys, including the Ten Billion Barrels puzzle, the Ultra Machine baseball car, and the Love Tester. One of the inventions made with Masayuki Uemura was the Nintendo Beam Gun Game, the ancestor of the NES Zapper.

Electronic games

Slot machines became the next stage of the company's development. In 1978, Nintendo created a division whose sole purpose was to manufacture and sell arcade games.

In 1980, Nintendo opened its subsidiary Nintendo of America in the United States, in New York City, headed by Minoru Arakawa, Yamauchi's son-in-law. It was then that Gunpei Yokoi created the first portable gaming device called the Game & Watch. The device was powered by watch batteries, used a simple liquid crystal display and had a built-in game. In the Game & Watch, the background of the game was static throughout the game, as it was a pre-drawn image placed under a transparent LCD screen. In the background, the background of the game and immutable static game objects were introduced. The overall dynamism of the image during the game was provided only by the display of moving objects by the LCD screen matrix. The first Game & Watch games were Ball, Parachute and Fire. Later, Popeye and Mickey Mouse appeared.

In 1980, at the request of the president of Nintendo, a young artist Shigeru Miyamoto came up with the game Donkey Kong. The key character of the game was a carpenter, for whom on-screen animation methods were used, sufficient for him to be able to run, jump, climb stairs and take a sledgehammer. At the beginning, the main character was named Jumper, but then Miyamoto invented his name - Mario, in honor of the Seattle realtor and contractor Mario Segale, from whom Nintendo of America rented an office during this time. Mario's key goal was to rescue a girl named Polina (not Princess Peach, as pretty much everyone thinks) from the clutches of the gorilla Donkey Kong, sitting at the very top of the game screen. The gorilla put all sorts of obstacles in the way of Mario: throwing barrels, springs and other improvised methods.

Donkey Kong was initially negatively received by South American arcade distributors. The Americans simply failed to understand what Nintendo was trying to implement. But as soon as people managed to play the game, the situation changed dramatically: sales of Donkey Kong slot machines soared to unheard of heights. The game was an unconditional bestseller both in the Land of the Rising Sun, for example, and in the USA. Later, the continuation of the game followed - Donkey Kong Jr., in which Donkey Kong, locked in a cage, was rescued by his son, and Mario played the role of an antagonist.

In 1982, the Nintendo office moved from New York to Seattle. At this time, the film company Universal filed a lawsuit against Nintendo, ruling that, in fact, Nintendo does not hold the rights to use the Donkey Kong brand, for example, as it is consonant with another title that is the property of the film company - King Kong. Nintendo's hired legal counsel, Howard Lincoln, won the case in court. Later, Howard Lincoln was appointed to the post of head of Nintendo of America.

In 1983, the game Mario Bros. was seen on the slot machines, in which Mario had already appeared in front of the players as a plumber and became the hero of personal full-fledged adventures, and his brother Luigi was invented to support him. Later came the games Donkey Kong 3 and Popeye.

First home system

In 1983, Nintendo released its first 8-bit Family Computer (Famicom) game console in the Land of the Rising Sun, and, as it turned out, the most successful at that time - the system as a result occupied 90% of the Japanese market. In 1985, the console was released in the USA under the name Nintendo Entertainment System (NES). A few years after the release of the NES in America, there were literally no rivals for the console in the New World. NES was the undisputed favorite of sales.

During the entire stage of the existence of the 8-bit NES system, a fairly large number of well-known and high-quality games were created for it, covering Super Mario Bros. and Super Mario Bros. 2, Kid Icarus, Metroid, The Legend of Zelda, Castlevania, Punch Out, etc. And almost all of them had their continuation on the consoles of future generations. Super Mario Bros. was released in 1990. 3, and by the end of the year, 7 million copies were sold.

In 1989, engineer Gunpei Yokoi saw the light of day with a fresh discovery - a miniature Game Boy game system. The Game Boy system consisted of a central 8-bit microprocessor and a non-illuminated watery crystal screen capable of displaying only 4 grayish colors. Ignoring the technical limitations of the system, trivial even for this time, almost all offline creators began to make their own games for the Game Boy. In the era of the Game Boy system, firms such as NEC, Atari, and Sega were producing more massive miniature game systems with the best graphical probabilities, but none of them managed to shake the unquestioning leadership of the Game Boy. The Game Boy remained in demand in the era of 16-bit consoles, but was soon forced out of this competition.

Super Nintendo Entertainment System era

In 1990, in the Land of the Rising Sun, Nintendo offered the client its own fresh 16-bit Super Famicom console. The prefix supported a number of game screen resolution modes, was able to display the largest number of colors and drawn objects on TV screens at the same time, and also had some mathematical functions for working with three-dimensional objects.

Having benefited greatly from sales of Super Mario Bros. 3 in America, in 1991 Nintendo releases the Super Famicom in the USA under the name Super Nintendo (SNES).

Over the entire period of existence of the 16-bit console from Nintendo, a huge number of high-quality and successful games were released for it, and above all, games from the toy giant itself: Super Mario World, F-Zero, The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, Super Metroid and other masterpieces of design thought. And the creator of the 2nd echelon (second party), Rare, released these familiar games like Donkey Kong Country and Killer Instinct. The prefix was also eagerly supported by stand-alone creators, and above all by these big companies like Square, Enix, Capcom and Konami. Thanks to their work, a large number of games were created for the Super Nintendo console: the Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest series, Castlevania, Ghouls'n Ghosts, Street Fighter 2, TMNT 4, etc.

Virtual Boy era

Back in 1994, Nintendo released the Virtual Boy, a 32-bit gaming system that used a number of reddish colors to display 3D graphics.

In 1995, the Virtual Boy became the 1st Nintendo-made gaming system to go down in Japan, as well as in the United States. Players who purchased this product from Nintendo complained about the inconvenience of the game. Their neck got tired from the constant inclination of the head to the system, with which it was possible to perform, only by first putting it on food and putting on special glasses. As it turned out, the head was also ill from such a game.

And while a number of independent creators from the very beginning agreed to support the Virtual Boy, the main number of them considered this product risky and categorically refused to create games for it. Shortly after the release of the Virtual Boy, Nintendo's additions were simply overwhelmed with a 32-bit system that no one needed. Its realizations were negligible. An oversight with the Virtual Boy led to the departure of its creator (who also invented the Game Boy system) Gunpei Yokoi from the company. By a tragic coincidence, Gunpei Yokoi died in a car accident the following year after his own departure.

Nintendo 64 era

In 1996, the Nintendo 64 console was released in the Land of the Rising Sun for $250. For a fresh 64-bit gaming system, Nintendo came up with an innovative controller. It contained the ability to control the game by 2 methods: once it gave itself control of the game with the introduction of an ordinary D-Pad, the other - with the introduction of an analog joystick. There were 9 buttons on the controller, and there was also a special port on the back of the device for memory cards and other additional modules.

The single task in the Nintendo 64, which served as a pretext for a disagreement between Nintendo and almost all current stand-alone developers, was game modules (cartridges). For publishers and creators, ordinary CD-ROMs were more suitable. The price of their production was low, it was possible to produce them in gigantic runs, in contrast to the expensive and, as a result, dangerous game modules. So far, it was not clear how the new console would be perceived by users, and very important expenses were already required for the pre-sale creation of game modules. All competing consoles, and just the PlayStation from Sony and Saturn from Sega, used CD-ROM as a carrier of information.

In this regard, almost all the big companies, including those longtime Nintendo partners like Square, Enix and Namco, flatly refused to support the Nintendo 64 and announced their own proper plans for the fresh winner, the PlayStation.

Being deprived of interest in their own 64-bit system from large Japanese publishers, Nintendo, largely thanks to its own advertising efforts, employees, and in particular the well-known Shigeru Miyamoto, managed to achieve a sensation for the Nintendo 64, which was second only to the PlayStation in sales.

Throughout its intense existence on the Nintendo 64 console market, Nintendo has continued to follow in the footsteps of its classic “less is more” idea. The games that resulted were Super Mario 64, Wave Race 64, Pokemon Stadium, Mario Kart 64, Star Fox 64, GoldenEye 007, Diddy Kong Racing, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Banjo-Kazooie, Super Smash Brothers.

Released in 1996 for the Nintendo 64, Super Mario 64 became the best-selling game for its own platform and one of the best-selling games ever. SM64 has received numerous awards (as has its artist, Shigeru Miyamoto) and rave reviews, and has repeatedly landed on the "Best Game of All Time" prize space in various gaming publications and online votes.

Released in 1998, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, which Shigeru Miyamoto worked on for many years, has been called by almost all notable gaming publications the best game in the entire industry situation. The well-known Japanese weekly Famitsu gave this game the highest score of 40 out of 40. At this point, Ocarina of Time contains the highest summary rating from reviews of all major gaming publications between all games in the situation. In the United States alone, 2.5 million copies of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time were sold from November 23 (the game's release date) until the end of the year.

In 1998, the Game Boy system resumed bought fame. Nintendo released a video camera (Game Boy Camera) - a small device that allowed photographing at low resolution black and white digital photography. The device was inserted into a connector designed for game modules. And a special printer (Game Boy Printer) allowed you to print pictures on stickers intended for this. However, a fresh version of the system was also noticed - Game Boy Color. The Game Boy Color was provided with a more massive microprocessor and a screen capable of displaying 56 colors at the same time from a palette of 32 thousand colors, and was compatible with all games designed for the black and white Game Boy system. Colored versions of Tetris and The Legend of Zelda are spotted by the Game Boy Color release.

Age of Pokémon

First in the Land of the Rising Sun, and then in the USA, Nintendo released the Pokemon Red and Pokemon Blue games for the Game Boy. Since the invention of Mario, the Pokemon gaming stigma has become Nintendo's second biggest triumph, in line with Super Mario Bros. games. and The Legend of Zelda. In 1999, the popularity of Pokémon was gaining momentum around the world. This year, 3 fresh games under the Pokemon brand were released immediately: Pokemon Snap, Pokemon Pinball and Pokemon Yellow.

Pokemon Snap became the 1st Pokemon game for the Nintendo 64. In it, the player acted as a photographer who had to find Pokemon and photograph them on film. Pokemon Pinball is a pinball game for the Game Boy Color. Following came the game Pokemon Yellow - a remake of the games Pokemon Red and Blue, but for this one the key character was the most famous Pokemon Pikachu.

The beginning of Pokemon mania prompted Nintendo to return to the release of playing cards and toys. The fresh appointment of the business brought huge benefits to the firm. Supported by the famous cartoon, all sorts of products under the Nintendo-licensed Pokemon brand began to be noticed: T-shirts, comics, soft toys, handbags, video cassettes.

The Pokemon card game has become no less famous recreation than video games. The concept of the game was identical to other "combat" card games. The player needed to collect and exchange cards for this, in order to end up owning the most absolute deck of Pokémon cards.

GameCube era

On May 12, 1999, the day before the opening of the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3), Nintendo officially announced at a press conference that work was underway on a new generation console called Dolphin (later it was renamed GameCube). The firm's partners in the plan were announced, covering these big companies like Matsushita (Panasonic) and IBM. A short specification for the system was given, and Nintendo announced that Dolphin would use Matsushita's Mini-DVDs as storage media.

In 2000, the Game Boy Advance miniature 32-bit gaming system and the next-generation GameCube family console were introduced at Space World. The full technical specifications of the Game Boy Advance were also made public, the province and the 1st games were presented. The console was released on March 21, 2001 in the Land of the Rising Sun and June 11, 2001 in the United States. The Game Boy Advance is fully compatible with all previous versions of the Game Boy and has the ability to interact with the GameCube.

Nintendo DS era

The Nintendo DS, also known as the NDS or DS, also known as the iQue DS in China, is a miniature gaming system released in 2004. Recognizable by its own horizontal clamshell design, which is considered a throwback to the Game & Watch, and the presence of 2 TFT LCD screens, the lower of which is considered touch. The system also has an integrated microphone and the help of the IEEE 802.11b/g WiFi wireless standard, which allows consoles to be grouped together at a distance of 10-30 meters, or with support for the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection service.

The letters "DS" in the title stand for Dual Screen and Developers' System. During development, the system was popularized as Project Nitro.

Wii era

In June 2004, at an intra-corporate briefing, Satoru Iwata announced that the company was actually working on an undeniably fresh system, codenamed "Revolution". In the development of the system, Shigeru Miyamoto and a team of engineers led by Gen'yo Takeda played the most intensive role. For the first time in public, at the TGS exhibition in 2005, only the controller of the fresh console was shown. In May 2006, at E3, the entire console was shown in its entirety, and the official title of the console, Wii, was announced. The console originally entered the South American market on November 19, 2006 for $249. In 2007, the console became the best in sales in the Land of the Rising Sun and the USA. As of July 2012, the Wii console sold 96.56 million units worldwide, making it Nintendo's most successful console ever.

3DS era

The console was first announced on March 23, 2010, and was already shown at E3 on June 15, 2010. A key difference between the Nintendo 3DS and its predecessor, the Nintendo DS, is the ability to display stereoscopic, 3D effects without the use of third-party media. The fresh console went on resale at the beginning in the Land of the Rising Sun (February 26, 2011), followed by Europe (March 25, 2011), and then in North America (March 27, 2011). Not very successful implementations of the console due to the high cost and the small number of games forced the company's instructions to lower the cost of the device, which actually spurred subsequent sales and lowered the price of Nintendo promotions. This led to losses for the firm for the first time in 30 years. By the end of 2011, with the release of these games, like "Super Mario 3D Land" and "Mario Kart 7", the system enjoyed increasing prominence and by mid-2012, the total number of 3DS units sold worldwide exceeded 19 million units. On July 28, 2012, in the Land of the Rising Sun and Europe and on August 19, 2012 in the USA, an improved version of the Nintendo 3DS, the Nintendo 3DS XL, was released for resale.

Wii U era

It was first announced on June 7, 2011 at Nintendo's press conference at E3 2011. The game console is considered the successor to the Wii. The game console was released in the USA on November 18, 2012. In the European Union, the console was released on November 30, 2012, and in the Land of the Rising Sun on December 8. A feature of Wii U is considered to be a fresh controller, which has the ability to continue the game, including during this time when the TV set is turned off. It is already known, in fact, that a number of firms have approved, in fact, that their games will be released on the console. Confirmed games - LEGO City Stories, Mass Effect 3 (porting from other platforms), Darksiders 2, New Super Mario Bros. U, recent Super Smash Bros., Pikmin 3, Assassin's Creed III, Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed, Aliens: Colonial Marines (the port has been cancelled), Ghost Recon Online, Bayonetta 2,

Nintendo Switch era

It was introduced on October 20, 2016 and is a hybrid of a miniature and a stationary console. Released worldwide on March 3, 2017. The key feature of the Switch is considered to be the ability to act both with the inclusion of a TV set (through a special docking station), for example, and from the built-in screen in miniature mode.

In September 2017, Nintendo announced that it had partnered with Chinese gaming firm Tencent to bring a mass-market version of its commercially successful mobile game Honor of Kings to the Switch. Reviewers have voiced the idea that, in fact, thanks to this Nintendo, it can borrow more conspicuous space in China, an area where the Switch is not sold and where Tencent dominates. In November 2017, it became known that Nintendo would actually be partnering with Illumination, the animation team at Universal Pictures, to take down the animated Mario movie. On January 18, 2018, the company revealed a Labo cardboard construction kit that includes a set of mini-games for the Switch. In April 2018, Nintendo announced that Kimishima would step down as president of the firm in June and be replaced by Shuntaro Furukawa.

In January 2019, Nintendo announced that in 2018 it generated $5.59 billion in revenue and $958 million of their profits. In February 2019, Nintendo of America President Reggie Fis-Aime announced his retirement. On April 15, 2019, Doug Bowser replaced him in this post.

On November 5, 2020, Nintendo released a report on the next successful quarter for itself, in which the company's profit grew by 51%, and operating profit increased by about one and a half times. Both of these indicators significantly outstripped the monitoring of S&P Global Market Intelligence specialists. According to the results of the first 6 months of fiscal 2020, the company's profit reached $7.36 billion, which is actually 73.3% higher than last year's figure. The net benefit was $2.04 billion, up 243.6% from any other year.

On May 27, 2021, it became known that the company intends to release a refreshed version of its own Switch console in September or October 2021.

In June 2021, it became known that Nintendo announced its intention to convert the land of the Nintendo Uji Ogura factory in the Japanese metropolis of Uji into a museum that will display the company's products. Temporarily titled Nintendo Gallery, the museum is scheduled to open before the end of fiscal year 2023 (ends May 2024).


Other products

In addition to game consoles and all sorts of entertainment products, Nintendo is fond of releasing interactive military shooting and marksmanship simulators, similar to the first-person shooters produced for computer game players, only with more high-quality images and closer to reality gameplay. For the USA Army, Nintendo, through a regional subcontractor, supplied the MACS shooting simulator or MARKS (Multipurpose Arcade Combat Simulator), which is a set of a plastic mass-dimensional model of the M16 rifle with a projector for displaying images of tactical life on the screen with at one moment arising due to structures or folds of the territory by opponents (the gameplay, in essence, was an improved Duck Hunt game with a high-quality image and human figures instead of ducks).

Monetary characteristics

The firm's profit for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2013 was 635.4 billion yen ($6.4 billion), net profit - 7.1 billion yen ($72 million).

Game consoles


  • Color TV Game
  • NES/Famicom
  • SNES/Super Famicom
  • Nintendo 64
  • gamecube
  • Wii
  • Wii U
  • switch


  • Game & Watch
  • game boy
  • Game Boy Color
  • Virtual boy
  • Game Boy Advance
  • nintendo ds
  • Nintendo 3DS
  • Switch (Lite)