Sunday, September 30, 2012

Nintendo / Namco Bomb Bee-N (ボムビーN, 1979)

From the early 1970s, Nintendo was active in the arcade market, with electro-mechanical games and games using new video technology like EVR Race.

The Japanese arcade scene famously exploded in 1978 when Space Invaders became a nation phenomenon, allegedly leading to a temporary shortage of ¥100 coins.

Seeing the success these new micro-computer based systems had, Nintendo also started releasing a string of arcade video games, with many different titles appearing in 1978 and 1979.

Nintendo produced these games mostly in-house, but also distributed licensed games from other game makers, like Sega and Namco.

Nintendo / Namco Bomb Bee-N (1979)

The game shown here is one of the earliest examples (if not the first) of a third-party game released on a Nintendo system.

Bomb Bee was designed by Namco. A version of this game - called Bomb Bee-N (ボムビーN) - was designed to run on Nintendo arcade cabinets. The 'N' in this name indicated it was the Nintendo version.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Nintendo Kôsenjû Duck Hunt (光線銃 ダックハント, 1976)

Duck Hunt is one of the classic Nintendo 8-bit video games. It was released in Japan in 1984, about one year after the introduction of the Family Computer.

Duck Hunt (ダックハント) was part of the Family Computer Video Shooting Series (光線銃シリーズ), together with Hogan's Alley (ホーガンズアレイ) and Wild Gunman (ワイルドガンマン).

These games were played with a pistol-style light Gun (ガン), which could be bought loose or in a set together with the Wild Gunman game.

Nintendo Family Computer Gun and Duck Hunt (1984)

In Europe and the US, Duck Hunt was probably even more well known than in Japan. Included as pack-in game with, amongst others, the popular Action Set version of the Nintendo Entertainment System, it reached millions and millions of homes. The Western version of the game was identical to the Japanese, but was played with a different, more futuristically looking light gun, called the Zapper.

The Famicom/NES Duck Hunt isn't the first one, however. Eight years before, Nintendo already introduced a duck hunt simulation under the same name.

Nintendo Duck Hunt (1976) and Nintendo Duck Hunt (1984)

This original Nintendo Duck Hunt saw the light of day already in 1976.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Nintendo Custom Lever Action Rifle poster

A few posts ago, we already saw that Nintendo wasn't afraid to show some flesh in the 1970s (case in point: Nintendo pin-up playing cards).

Today we look at a promotional poster from that era, featuring a scantly clad cowgirl.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Nintendo Wild Gunman Game (荒野のガンマン ゲーム, 1972)

The Wild West was a popular topic in the 1970s, and the subject of many movies and television series. Not surprising, Nintendo used it for a number of their games and toys at the time.

Some examples are Nintendo's Kousenjuu light gun games (1971) and Sheriff arcade game (1979).

Another of these Western games is the one shown here: Wild Gunman (荒野のガンマン ゲーム).

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Meet the collectors - #2 - Fabrice Heilig

After starting Meet the collectors in Australia, we now move swiftly to France, where we meet the second collector in our series: Fabrice Heilig.

Fabrice will introduce himself, and share his wonderful collection of vintage Nintendo toys and games with us, which he has on display in a real museum-style room.

Fabrice's collection room

"Hello. My name is Fabrice. I am 36 years old and live in France, in the beautiful Alsace region. I have been working for 15 years now at a company that manufactures industrial water meters."

"Twelve years ago I started collecting video games and after three years I started focussing on the Nintendo universe."

Fabrice during his trip to Japan, in front of an old Nintendo building in Kyoto

Monday, September 3, 2012

Meet the collectors - #1 - Simon Sharratt

Today we are starting a new series of posts here on beforemario. There is a growing number of fellow collectors of Nintendo toys and games out there, and I thought it would be cool to get to know some of them, and to take a look at their collections.

Part of Simon's Nintendo collection

We kick-off by travelling down-under, where we meet Australian collector Simon Sharratt. He will introduce himself, and guide us through his quite impressive collection.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Nintendo Pin-up Playing Cards (ca 1970)

Following the previous post on Nintendo's playing cards, here's a somewhat surprising item.

Nintendo Pin-up Playing Cards (ca 1970)

"Nintendo" and "Pin-up" are two words you don't expect to see close together on a product. At least, not in today's world. But in the past this was different, as this pack of Nintendo Pin-up Playing Cards shows.

Not sure about the date, but the packaging is similar to Nintendo's 1972 Miracle Trump, so I'd place it around that time.

In the 1960s and (early) 70s, Nintendo was still very much a standard playing card manufacturer. And pin-ups have long been a popular theme for playing cards, so it is not really a surprise to find this in their then product portfolio.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Nintendo Playing Cards (1950s)

[UPDATE 2022: previously I dated these cards in the 1960s, I have now updated this in this post to the 1950s, as I believe they are earlier.]

Today we will take a look at what for a long time has been Nintendo's core business: playing cards. With over a hundred years of company history in this area, there is a lot to show and tell.

We will start with the playing cards sets below, that are some of my favourite packs. I really like these because of their graphic design.

Nintendo Playing Cards No 22, 160 and 50 (1950s)

Nintendo used numbers to label the many variations of cards in their portfolio, and these numbers are displayed prominently on the packaging. The playing cards shown here are numbers 22, 160 and 50.