Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Nintendo playing cards catalogue from 1983

Some time ago I received a vintage Nintendo catalogue as a gift from a fellow collector. This catalogue shows the range of playing cards that Nintendo had for sale in Japan in the early 1980s. It was produced for sales staff and toy store buyers.

It was printed on heavy paper not unlike that of playing cards and was clearly intended to highlight Nintendo's ability to produce print work of the highest quality.


The six-page catalogue dates from July 22 1983 (printed on the catalogue using the Japanese calendar: 昭和58年7月22日). To put this date into perspective in Nintendo's history: this was one week after the release of the Family Computer. Although Nintendo was very busy conquering the world of electronic entertainment, at the same time it also still carried a substantial range of playing cards (in fact, it still does so today).


The first four pages are used to showcase Western style 'trump' (トランプ) playing cards in many different geometrical designs. The designs are presented in pairs with slight colour variations, intended for games that require two card stocks to play.

Various levels of quality are offered which differ in card material, size and thickness. Prices range from ¥1,200 for the most expensive to ¥500 for the simplest set.


Most of these cards are made from plastic. This is also reflected by their product codes: all cards with codes that include 'NAP' are plastic. 'NAP' is short for 'Nintendo All Plastic'.

In 1953 Nintendo started producing playing cards that were made entirely out of plastic. It was the first company in Japan to do so. Although printing on plastic complicated the manufacturing process - as the ink smears more easily and takes longer to dry - it produced much more durable cards that retain their shape and colour better.

Not all offered cards in this catalogue are plastic though; some of the cheaper sets are made from paper, as indicated with the kanji for paper (紙).


Sunday, November 29, 2015

beforemario at Gamescom 2015 - part 2

In the first part of my Gamescom 2015 report I covered the preparations leading up to the event.

In today's post I will take you on a tour of the beforemario exhibition that was part of this huge five-day video gaming show that took place in August of this year.


I was assigned a nice area with ten glass cabinets, in the middle of the retro game section just behind the stage.


The area was open on both sides, allowing visitors to flow through.


Even though this was considerable space, it would be impossible to display my entire collection here, so I had to make a selection.


Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Nintendo Puzzle Dice (パズルダイス)

Another recent addition to my collection is this Nintendo puzzle from the early 1970s, called Puzzle Dice (パズルダイス).


Like the electric Panda clock shown in the previous post, it's an item that I had not seen before. Or more precisely, it is a package variant that was unknown to me.


The puzzle itself is familiar, although under a different name: the original release dates from 1969 and was called Challenge Dice (チャレンジ ダイス).

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Nintendo Panda E-clock (パンダ電気時計, 1972)

I have been collecting vintage Nintendo items for about two decades, and although my collection isn't complete yet, I pretty much know what is out there to look for.

Still every now and then I discover something new. Well, the item shown here cannot really be called 'new' as it is more than forty years old. But it was unknown in collector circles until now.


It is called Panda electric clock (パンダ電気時計).


It was released by Nintendo in 1972, one year after they had introduced a first set of five clocks.


Up until now it was believed that these five clocks released in 1971 were all Nintendo ever made. That is, until this sixth clock popped up recently in an online auction. Time to update the history books!