Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Ads for Nintendo Baseball Game from 1960

Today we are taking a look at some copies of one of Japan's shōnen manga, called Shūkan Shōnen Sandē (週刊少年サンデー), which means Weekly Shōnen Sunday. Shōnen manga are magazines aimed at boys from around 12 to 18 years, featuring comics but also news items and information about sports and leasure activities that interest this demographic.

Weekly Shōnen Sunday is one of the longest running of these magazines in Japan. It started in 1959 and is still published weekly today, sixty-one years later (released on Wednesday's, despite its name).

Weekly Shōnen Sunday - front

These magazines are great to browse through for people with an interest in Japan's (pop) culture. However, we are especially interested in the ads on the back of these issues, as they include advertisements for one of Nintendo earliest toys, the Disney Baseball Game (ディズニー野球盤, which means Disney Baseball Board).

Weekly Shōnen Sunday - back

The history of Nintendo as a toy company - when they started expanding beyond cards, chess, mahjong and other more traditional games - is still a bit misty.

In the official company overview at the Nintendo corporate website, the 1966 Ultra Hand is the first toy mentioned. Although this was a landmark event for Nintendo, as it was their first million-seller toy, it is often mistaken as the first Nintendo toy, which it wasn't. In the period from the end of the 1950s up to the release of the Ultra Hand, Nintendo did produce various other toys, including this baseball game.

Nintendo Disney Baseball Game (version B)

Saturday, July 11, 2020

Nintendo Chiritori leaflet from 1979

The 1979 Chiritori remote controlled miniature vacuum cleaner is another idea that sprouted from Gunpei Yokoi's brain, like so many quirky Nintendo products from the pre-Famicom era.

The box art is a well designed two-tone affair. However, in my opinion it does not really exuberate fun. While this little vacuum is anything but serious. It is just a toy, a novelty item.

The accompanying trade leaflet does a much better job in showing what the Chiritori is to be used for: to play. This leaflet, dated April 16 1979, was used to advertise the product to shops and wholesale buyers.

Chiritori leaflet front and back

The scene on the front shows the Chiritori in action, with a colourful drawing.