Saturday, October 29, 2011

Nintendo People House (ピープルハウス, 1968)

In the 60s and 70s of the last century, Nintendo made many toys with typical boy's themes, like racing cars (Mach Rider) and guns (Kousenjuu SP Light Gun series). The advertising of these toys also featured boys exclusively.

And although Nintendo also produced many games that were family oriented - aimed at both boys and girls alike - there is only one Nintendo toy series from this era created specifically for girls.

Nintendo People House series (1968)

This particular toy series is People House (ピープルハウス), released in Japan in 1968.

People House brochure

People House are themed play sets with small dolls, that came in plastic house-shaped carry cases.

The People House sets were sold in card board boxes, that measured around 19 by 24 by 6 centimeters.

All sets came in the same generic packaging, with a small window cut out from the front of the box. 

By peeking through this window, you could see which set was inside the box.

This box contains the Cinderella (シンデレラ) set

Opening the box fully revealed the People House set inside.

The People House series consists of six different sets.

The six different dolls in the People House series

The sets cost ¥800 each, and each one has its own theme.

The six sets are: Bambi and Milly (バンビとミリー), Cinderella (シンデレラ), Alice in Wonderland (ふしぎの国のアリス), Nurse Maria (マリアのかんごふ), Red Riding-hood (赤ずきん) and Ukiuki from the Flower Shop (ウキウキのお花やさん).

Nintendo based People House on the American book and toy series called PeePul Pals, which was released in the USA in 1967 by Whitman, a division of the Western Publishing Company (famous for their Little Golden Books series). Nintendo acquired a license from Whitman to recreate PeePul Pals for the Japanese market.

Two PeePul Pal sets by Whitman (USA, 1967)

The original American PeePul Pals series has nine different sets. Nintendo limited this to six for People House.

The nine sets in the PeePul Pals series by Whitman

Three of the People House sets are directly adopted from the PeePul series: Nurse Maria (called Nina Nurse in the US), Cinderella and Red Riding Hood.

Additionally, three original ones were added by Nintendo: Bambi and Milli, Ukiuki and Alice in Wonderland.

All six Nintendo sets are new designs, although they follow the format defined by Whitman closely. One difference between the Whitman PeePul Pals orginal and the Nintendo version is the red carry-handle, which is not present for People House. As a result, People House is actually missing the distinctive chimney that is part of the series logo. Another difference is the inclusion of N&B Blocks by Nintendo.

The bottom of the People House carry case showed the entire series

Let's take a closer look at all six sets, starting with Bambi and Milly (バンビとミリー), which is clearly based on the Disney movie, although I don't recall a Milly in the original story.

Next is the hospital (びょういん) set with Nurse Maria (マリアのかんごふ):

Another Disney set: Cinderella (シンデレラ):

Famous fairytale set Red Riding-Hood (赤ずきん):

Disney set number three: Alice in Wonderland (ふしぎの国のアリス):

And the final set: Ukiuki from the Flower Shop (ウキウキのお花やさん):

Each of the sets includes the house-shaped carry case, a doll with shoes and a stand, a little story booklet, a plastic chest with a finger puppet and a small box with N&B blocks.

All of the sets contain a small accessory for the doll (handbag or similar), except for the Bambi set, which includes a plastic deer.

The booklet contains a story related to the set's theme.

The house inside and outside is decorated with printed cardboard. It opens at the front.

The finger puppet is related to the theme of the set: e.g. Thumper in the Bambi set and a doctor in the hospital set.

The People House sets all include a special mini N&B Block set.

The six different N&B Block mini sets included with the People House series

These mini N&B boxes contain a small bag with regular N&B Block elements.

N&B Block mini set included with Bambi and Milly

The front of the People House case contains N&B block compatible studs, so it can be used to build on.

Use the include N&B blocks to decorate your People House

The inclusion of the N&B Blocks in the People House sets is a clever tie in with the N&B Blocks series, released by Nintendo around the same time.

Cinderella's castle, built from People House and a lot more N&B Blocks

By buying additional N&B Block sets, the owners of People House sets could extend their play world.

Aren't they cute, these Nintendo dolls?

[PeePul Pal images taken from eBay auctions, all others from my personal collection.]


  1. Well, I had no idea nintendo made dolls at one stage. Of course, my blog- is about after Mario came to be...

  2. Hello,
    I'm Japanese doll collector, Yu.
    Please visit my blog if you are interest.
    (Sorry, written in Japanese)
    I love the People House and I have them all!
    This is my best of sixties stuff.
    Thanks for sharing your collection and info.
    Well, I like Nintendo games too.

    1. Hi Yu. Thank you for your comments.
      I like your site, lots of cool 60s stuff.
      Did you also post about People House?

  3. I almost feel like Nintendo looked back at this and decided on making Animal Crossing. I mean the house thing, customizing, and even the font on the box, that's the Animal Crossing font!