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Friday, January 27, 2012

Nintendo Mister Magician Coin & Stick (ミスターマジシャン, 1975)

In the 1960s and early 70s, Nintendo produced a number of novelty games, like the Miracle Box (ミラクルボックス), Miracle Trump (ミラクルトランプ) and Rising Trump (ライジングトランプ). These all offered simple card-based tricks, and were a natural extension of Nintendo's cards dominated heritage.

Nintendo Mister Magician Coin & Stick (1975)

A more sophisticated little magic set was created by Nintendo in 1975. It was called Mister Magician (ミスターマジシャン) Coin & Stick.

Although the artwork suggests that Coin & Stick was intended as a first entry in a series (under the Mister Magician label), it remained the only magic set released. Perhaps the sales were disappointing and the idea of additional sets abandoned.

The set is rather small, not bigger than a large pack of cards, and the retail price of ¥2,000 was rather high, which may not have helped sales.

The tricks it offered were rather good, though.

The set contained a 'vanishing' cane, a handkerchief (essential magicians' gear), and a pair of 'magical' coins. A bag of rubberbands and a manual complements the items. You would also need a glasd bottle, not provided with the set.

The manual, or play-guide (プレーガイド), provides extensive guidance on becoming a master magician. Spoiler alert!

In preparation for the performance, you stretch the red roll of plastic tape until it is cane-shaped, attach the handkerchief inside and fix it with the white cap. Barring close inspection, it now looks to be a solid cane.

You would then switch on the background music, and tell the gathered audience that in a few minutes you would not only make the cane disappear, but also transport the coin into a solid glass bottle. Really.

With a series of clever moves (that surely required some practice), you would then proceed to 'vanish' the cane, which would 'change' into a handkerchief. See instructions below, if you want to know the ins and outs of this maneuver.

Then on to the second and best bit of the performance. You prepared this earlier by placing a rubber band around the three coin pieces, so they form a whole coin.

The two magic coins: the three-part flexible one and the solid one

The two coins now appear to be identical.

After the cane trick you would proceed by handing a member of the audience the sold coin and invite them to place it inside the bottle. As the coin diameter would not allow it to pass through the bottle opening, they would quickly deem this 'impossible'. Ha!

Much to their surprise and astonishment, you would then (again, applying well-rehearsed quick set of hand movements) swap the solid coin with the flexible one and pop that one inside the bottle, where it would take back it's seemingly solid shape thanks to the rubber band around it. Gasp!

But how to get it out again? Simply turn the bottle upside-down. The coin's flexibility allows it to pass the bottle opening effortlessly, and it pops into the coin shape again instantaneously as it leaves the bottle. It has to be seen to be believed.

Repeat this a couple of times, for maximum effect.


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