Monday, April 6, 2015

Nintendo Punch Race (パンチレース, ca 1965)

In the mid 1960s, Nintendo started producing plastic toys and games. One of its earliest is the racing themed marble action game shown here.

Nintendo Punch Race (ca 1965)

The game is called Punch Race (パンチレース). The retail price at the time was ¥500.


The exact release date is unknown. There is no year listed on the box or manual, but the style of the game, box art and logo indicates it is from around 1965, possibly early 1966.

The front of the box depicts two cars that look a lot like the Jaguar E type, which was one of the hottest sports cars of the 1960s.


The box art also contains a large white curly shape that enhances the feeling of speed, with the name of the game flying out on the side of the box.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Old equipment from Nintendo Uji factory

I recently picked up an old piece of equipment from a Nintendo production facility.

Usually, I only buy Nintendo items that were commercially available. I know there is a whole world out there with related things, like development versions of consoles and prototype games. But I have decided not to collect these, mainly because you need to draw the line somewhere. A collection needs certain rules and boundaries, I believe.


Anyway, for every rule there are exceptions, and this is one of them.

For starters, the device was a bargain, at only ¥1000.


The main reason it caught my attention was the label on the top, which says 「任天堂 (株) 宇治工場」. This means "Nintendo company Uji".

Uji is a suburb of Kyoto. Nintendo built a factory in Uji in the 1960s, when it briefly entered the instant food business. Check out this earlier post about one of its instant ramen promotions.

When the food business turned out to be unsuccessful, the production facility was quickly turned into a toy factory for Nintendo's booming games devision.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Before Mario around the world

It has been a bit quiet here. I just noticed that the last post dates from mid November. So, let me start by wishing you all the best for 2015!

As regular readers will know, I have been busy with my book for most of last year. Work started on it started in January of 2014 and the result saw the light of day in October. In the months that followed, I took a little break from writing, but I am determined to pick up more regular blog updates again soon.


I have been overwhelmed by the feedback from readers of the book, many of whom sent me a picture of their copy, together with praise for the book's content and design.


I have shared many of these pictures on the Before Mario Facebook page before, but thought it would be nice to present a selection of my favorites together here.

Friday, November 14, 2014

100 year old Nintendo promotional calendar

Today's post is about a small, simple item, which is still of great value to me. It is possibly the oldest item in my collection.

Although it looks quite beat up and has a lot of scribblings on the front, I immediately recognized its importance when I first saw it up for sale by a shop selling old documents.

Nintendo promotional calendar, front

The item we talk about is a calendar that Nintendo give away to promote their business. The item measures 24 by 14 centimeters.

The front contains details about the company and the back shows a calendar.

Nintendo promotional calendar, back

When I spotted the date of the calendar, I became very excited: 大正四年 which stands for Taishō 4!

Taishō is the era in Japanese history when emperor Taishō reigned. This lasted from 1912 to 1926, and Taishō 4 is equal to 1915 in the Western calendar.

It dates from the year 大正四年 (Taishō 4) in the Japanese calendar

This means this calendar is a hundred years old. It must have been produced in 1915 or 1914! Nintendo had existed for 25 years at that time and was still managed by its founder Fujisarō Yamauchi.