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Monday, October 14, 2019

Nintendo mini game found after 20-year search

They say patience is a virtue, and that's certainly true when trying to complete the Nintendo Mini Game Series (ミニゲームシリーズ) from the early 1970s. It is one of my favorite series from Nintendo's history. These are fun, colorful, simple games, with a lot of variety. I guess they also remind me of toys from my own childhood, so nostalgia probably plays a role in their desirability.

From a collecting point of view, there is a lot to collect; fifty games in total. [Update 2023: actually 52!] But not so many that completing a set feels unachievable. A nice goal.

I started collecting twenty years ago, and although they were released around thirty years earlier, within a few years I managed to find most. Many I picked up as so-called 'new old stock' in liquidation sales of old toy stores. In the years that followed, I filled in most of the few remaining holes in the collection. This was a period when vintage Nintendo toys from the 60s and 70s were a bit more easy to find than today, if you knew were to look. It also helped that interest in these was quite low at the time. Looking back, it turned out to be a good moment to start a collection.

After about ten years of searching, I had found 48 of the known games.

Since then I have been on the lookout constantly, but fruitlessly, for the remaining two games. Ten years of searching, without any result.

Nintendo Mini Games series (1971-1976)

No result, that is, until today!

Perseverance pays off, and twenty years after starting the quest to find all Nintendo Mini Games, I added one more to my collection: Diving Shot (ダイビングショット).

Nintendo Mini Game Diving Shot

This was the first time since I started collecting that I found this game for sale, in an online auction, and I managed to grab it. The cool 1970s art-style of the blister pack alone is enough to make me smile from ear to ear.

Well actually, I acquired more than one, sold together in a single lot. For years they were as scarce as hen's teeth, then suddenly four fall into my lap at the same time.

Diving Shot is a game of skill, similar to skee-ball. The aim is to score points by shooting the five metal balls in the circular areas, with the most difficult one in the center earning the most points.

This game was originally released in 1974, in the middle of the Mini Game series production period, that lasted from 1971 to 1976.

The game is all about judging the speed to give the metal balls, by pulling the plunger the right distance backwards. The balls, shot one-by-one, then zoom around the outer rim of the game-area and fly off a ramp at the end.

When the ball has just the right speed, it lands ("dives") in the five point zone, or in the larger three point or one point areas. It is actually surprisingly hard, with most attempts ending with the ball in the "out" area.

The swirling of the balls in Diving Shot provide for a simple, addictive game play.

And after a two-decade long search, I can strike one more game from the wanted list; forty-nine down, one to go!

Check out this previous post for an introduction to the Mini Game series. An overview of all games in the series can be found here.

Update April 2020: the list of known games expanded to 51!


  1. Wow, congrats! That had to have been exciting. :) I hope the final one doesn't take nearly as long to pop up!

    1. Thanks! I hope the same, but expect more patience is needed. :-)

  2. Congratulations!! What is the last game you need to complete the collection?

    1. Thank You. The final one is Space Ball. This one is previously released in a box, and then released in a blister pack as mini game. So the last one is a bit unusual one (like love tester, also re-released as mini game). Space Ball info here.

  3. He should've mentioned it in the article, as somebody may have it out there. :) But following his link to the full Mini Game series list, it looks like Space Ball and an alternate version of Gun Game are still left for him.

    1. Correct! The last one is Space Ball. And I am indeed also looking for an alternative version of Gun Game (not really a different game, but different version).

  4. Erik, just wanted to let you know that it appears someone is selling a complete version of Space Ball on eBay.

    1. Hi. Thanks for the heads-up. However, the one for sale is the original boxed version. I am after the one re-released blister pack version, released as part of the mini game series. It is essentially the same toy, but different packaging.