Happy Birthday Nintendo.
Nintendo is 121 years old today, and while it would eventually dabble in electronics in the 70's, it started out as a playing card company.
On this day in 1889, Nintendo was founded by Fusajiro Yamauchi in Kyoto, Japan, as a manufacturer of Japanese playing cards. The company was called Nintendo due to playing cards often used for gambling, and the characters of the company represented “luck-heaven-hall".
For the next 60 years, Nintendo cards became prominent, and were the first to produce plastic-coated playing cards in Japan, and made a deal with Disney to put its characters on the back of its cards as well - giving kids a reason to play with cards as well, not just gamblers.
Fusajiro Yamauchi’s great-grandson Hiroshi took over in 1949 and expanded into other products, which failed, until dipping into electronic toys and games. Eventually, it formed a deal with Sharp to developer toys like the Beam Gun, before expanding into home and arcade videogames.
And the rest, as they say is history we suppose - although Nintendo, is still the predominant playing-card maker in Japan believe it or not, it's now best-known as the home of Mario, Zelda, and Pokemon along with its handheld and home consoles (via Wired).
121 years is a rather long time. Here's just some of the interesting world events that happened the year Nintendo was formed (via Wikipedia):
- The Coca-Cola Company was incorporated in Atlanta, Georgia.
- Crown Prince Rudolf of Austria and his mistress Baroness Mary Vetsera commit a double suicide (or a murder suicide) in the Mayerling hunting lodge.
- President Grover Cleveland signs a bill admitting North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana and Washington as U.S. states
- Sheffield United formed on 22 March 1889 at the Adelphi Hotel, Sheffield
- The Eiffel Tower is inaugurated
- At high noon in Oklahoma Territory, thousands rush to claim land in the Land Run of 1889. Within hours the cities of Oklahoma City and Guthrie are formed, with populations of at least 10,000.
- The first long distance electric power transmission line in the United States is completed, running 14 miles between a generator at Willamette Falls and downtown Portland, Oregon.
- The Wall Street Journal is established.
- The Armagh rail disaster near Armagh in Ireland kills 78.
- The forerunner of Pizza was founded.
- First Inter-Parliamentary Conference held.
- Vincent van Gogh paints Starry Night
- Louise, Princess Royal and Duchess of Fife marries Alexander Duff, 1st Duke of Fife.
- The Great London Dock Strike breaks out in England.
- The Prevention of Cruelty to, and Protection of, Children Act 1889, commonly known as the Children's Charter is passed in Britain.
- Albert Honoré Charles Grimaldi becomes Albert I, Prince of Monaco.
- The Moulin Rouge cabaret opens in Paris.
- Sir Henry Parkes, Premier of New South Wales, delivers the Tenterfield Oration calling for the Federation of Australia.
- Montana is admitted as the 41st U.S. state.
- Washington is admitted as the 42nd U.S. state.
- November 14 – Inspired by Jules Verne, pioneer woman journalist Nellie Bly (Elizabeth Cochrane) begins an attempt to beat travel around the world in less than 80 days (Bly finishes the journey in 72 days, 6 hours and 11 minutes).
- The Empire of Brazil officially becomes a Federal Republic and Field Marshal Deodoro da Fonseca becomes its first president.
- Gustav Mahler's First Symphony premieres.
- The first jukebox goes into operation at the Palais Royale Saloon in San Francisco.
- French defense minister Georges Boulanger attempts a coup but is forced to flee the country.
- The first free elections held in Costa Rica.
- Yellow fever interrupts the building of the Panama Canal.
- A huge locust swarm crosses the Red Sea and destroys crops in the Nile Valley.
- Mirza Ghulam Ahmad claims to be the Promised Messiah and Mahdi.
- The Indian Religious Code is created which forbids Indians, aka Native Americans to practice their religions.