Nintendo may be known as a family-friendly video game company which everyone has grown to love especially the Switch, but over the 140+ years the company has been afloat (yes, 140 years) the business has not only gone through various changes, but there are many interesting facts that are lesser known about the company that some of you hopefully won’t know.
Come on, for a company that has been going for almost 150 years you didn’t think that they had nothing to hide did you? If you’re a diehard fanboy then the chances are some of the following facts won’t be new to you. But if dabbled in Nintendo and the games and consoles it’s had to offer over the years then a few of the following Nintendo facts may come as a surprise to you.
10 – NES Games Were Supposed to be Hard
It is said that NES (Nintendo Entertainment System) games were supposed to be hard to beat so the games lasted longer. When modern-day gamers come across an especially hard-to-beat game they sometimes use the phrase “Nintendo Hard” which is supposed to pay homage to that era.
9 – 6,000 Miles of NES Games
The NES (Nintendo Entertainment System), Nintendo’s 8-bit video game console released in 1985, was so popular that if the games sold for the console were to be stacked upon each other the stack would reach a reported 6,000 miles high – which is higher than Mount Everest!
8 – Nintendo’s Totaka’s Song
Kazumi Totaka is a well-known video game composer and voice actor for Nintendo (he does the voice of Yoshi), but the guy also composed the Kazumi Totaka’s Song, which is a 19-note tune that he has hidden in almost every game he has worked on as a composer.
7 – Nintendo Created the Modern D-Pad
Back in 1982, Nintendo’s Gunpei Yokoi developed the modern D-pad (directional pad) for Nintendo’s Donkey Kong handheld game (Game & Watch). In the era of the ‘80s videogames consoles, most systems utilised their own D-pad, but Sega and other companies never copied Nintendo’s design completely – probably down to Nintendo filling a patent on their design. Also, directional pads are still extremely common to see on modern-day consoles.
6 – Nintendo Have Dabbled With 3D
3D gaming may sound like a new concept that every game console is now trying to incorporate into their future consoles, but Nintendo has actually been there and done it. They first tried the concept with their 1995 console Virtual Boy which was considered a “true 3D graphics” out of the box console. However, the console was a failure and was discontinued within a year – making it Nintendo’s worst ever project. Nintendo then released the GameCube with its stereoscopic 3D capabilities. But the concept was only utilised in developing Luigi’s Mansion, which stopped after development for the fear of 3D TVs being scarce in most households.
5 – Nintendo Started as a Playing Cards Company
Everyone is familiar with Nintendo being a video game company, but the company wasn’t started to sell video games. The company was in fact founded back in 1889 as a card company and was originally called Nintendo Koppai. The company started with handmade cards and a playing card game known as Hanafuda which was based in Kyoto, Japan. It wasn’t until 1977 that Nintendo would start to produce its own hardware.
4 – Nintendo Literary Means “Leave Luck to Heaven”
Nintendo has gone through various name changes over the years, and back in 1963, Hiroshi Yamauchi (Nintendo’s third president) renamed the company from Nintendo Playing Card Co. Ltd. to Nintendo Co. Ltd due to the company experimenting with different business models. Nintendo is made of three Kanji characters: nin, ten and do and if you were to translate Nintendo you would get the phrase “leave luck to heaven”.
3 – Famicom Disk System and the GameCube
I guess this is more of an Easter Egg than a fact, but the two are closely related in this case. If you owned a Famicom back in the day with a floppy disk add-on then you will be familiar with the background music that used to play when the console was turned on without a floppy disk in. Well, the GameCube’s background music (without a disk) is that of the Famicom, but slowed down.
2 – Nintendo owns a Baseball Team
Nintendo of America owns The Seattle Mariners, who are a professional baseball team that is based in Seattle, Washington – Nintendo purchased the team back in 1989 for $76 million.
1 – Mario’s Real Name was Mr. Video
Everyone knows the famous red plumber called Mario. But the Italian used to go by a different name. In fact, the guy actually went by the name Mr. Video when he was first used in games created by Miyamoto. His name was changed to Mario after a debate started regarding a warehouse landlord and owing back rent – the Nintendo of America’s warehouse landlord was called Mario Segale. Mario was also a carpenter when he first appeared in Donkey Kong and was named Jumpman.