25 photos of Nintendo's 130-year rise from a playing card company to fan-favorite gaming giant
- 130 years ago on September 23, 1889, Nintendo was born - but not the incarnation of Nintendo we know today.
- Founder Fusajiro Yamauchi began the company by selling hand-painted playing cards, which eventually became the most popular brand in Japan.
- Nintendo has gone through many iterations. It once sold ramen noodles, and then decided to try out a taxi service.
- Today, Nintendo is known for its consumer electronics, iconic video game characters, and many, many gaming systems.
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Nintendo turns 130 this year. And like any company that's been around for over a century, a lot has changed. Pivots have been made. Economic downturns weathered. It's seen product launch failures, and many successes.
Nintendo brought us the little Italian plumber we've grown to marvel and adorn on our clothes, as well as countless other video game character many '90s kids attribute parts of their identity to. All because founder Fusajiro Yamauchi began manufacturing Hanafuda cards, a type of Japanese playing card, for his company, then called Nintendo Koppai, on September 23, 1889.In the early 1900s, Nintendo grew to be the largest card-selling business in Japan. It used this momentum to venture into other industries - taxi services, ramen noodles, short-term "love" hotels, and, more notably, video games. But only one of those side hustles panned out (you guess which).
Today, Nintendo rakes in billions of dollars in revenue from its array of consoles, from the Switch to Wii, and games like cult-favorite "The Legend of Zelda" and newbies like "Animal Crossing."
Take a look back at Nintendo's 130-year rise from playing card company to video game giant.