Monday, April 1, 2019

Nintendo leaflet from the 1970s

It wasn't until the introduction of the Game & Watch series in 1980 that Nintendo really started doing significant business outside of Japan. For the 90 years that it had existed previously, it was catering mostly exclusively to the Japanese market only.

However, in the 1960s and 1970s many efforts where already made by Nintendo to expand its business abroad, be it with limited success.

The leaflet shown here is an example of such efforts. It was most likely used to hand-out to foreign game and toy buyers, and other interested sales leads, maybe at an event like a trade show. It was recently found in the archives of the United States Patent and Trademark office.


The leaflet is foldable affair, printed in color on two two-sides, with six sections on each side.


The toys and games shown include light beam games introduced in 1976, but nothing newer, so it can be dated to the second half of the 1970s.


The title on the front clearly states Nintendo's target market: "playing cards and games for adult". At this time, Nintendo also produced many games aimed at children in it's home market Japan. But for sales abroad it choose to focus on the adult market segment, with games mostly already known in the Western world, like cards, chess and roulette.

Also keep in mind that many of the children's toy that Nintendo produced and sold in Japan where adaptations of licensed American and British games, and it did not make any sense to export these back to the West.

Monday, February 4, 2019

Chaotic Cube outer box from 1970

Some time ago I came across an interesting box.


The box measures about 10 by 10 by 10 centimetres.


According to the sticker on the front it retailed for US$ 3.79 by Sears, Roebock and Co.

The Sears company is an American institute (over the last decade fallen on hard times), with department shops across the country and a hugely popular mail order catalogue.


Inside is another box, with a Chaotic Cube.


Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Meet the Collectors - #10 - Sonny Willimon

In our Meet the Collectors series we come across collectors from all parts of the world. After the recent visit to Italy, this time we travel to the United States of America, where we meet Sonny.

"My name is Sonny Willimon. I live in Tulsa, Oklahoma in the United States. I currently work in local government and also as a soldier in the US Army National Guard. I just recently turned 30."


"I've been enjoying Nintendo products quite literally since the near-beginning of my life. There exists a photograph of two-year old me from 1990 sporting a Super Mario Bros. 2 shirt. Nintendo and Mario have been a constant preoccupation for me during my spare time ever since mother decided to pick up an NES from a local pawn shop for us kids to enjoy. From there, I started to collect Nintendo games back as early as 1998."

Young Sonny

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Tour inside Nintendo headquarters in 1970

The historic Nintendo company brochure that recently surfaced, provides a great record of its main Kyoto offices and factories as they existed in 1970.

Nintendo had just invested significantly in the development of these buildings, located in the Higashiyama district of Kyoto. Today this lot of land is still owned and used by Nintendo. However, the head office and main R&D offices have since moved to the Minami district in Kyoto, and part to Tokyo. Many of the buildings shown here no longer exist today.

Join me as we travel almost fifty years back in time!


We start with an overview picture. The building on the left are the offices.


The circular sign on the front of this building is the Marufuku logo, used by Nintendo for its card products.


Nintendo had used this logo almost from it's start in 1889, is is evident from this 1915 calendar.


The production facilities can be seen on the right. Check out that huge sign with the Nintendo logo (任天堂) on the roof of one of the buildings.


Nintendo was one of the bigger employers in this area, with a very visible presence.


The site is located close to the Tobakaido railway station. The Keihan Main Line and Nara Line both pass right next to it. A large neon sign with the text "Nintendo Trump" (任天堂 トランプ) has been put up facing the tracks, advertising these playing cards towards the streams of daily commuters.


We now start our tour inside in the office building, and enter the spacious lobby.