Sunday, October 4, 2020

Nintendo Love Tester sold in 1971 in USA

The Love Tester, created by Nintendo in 1969, was an electronic gadget intended to break the ice between dating couples, by giving them something to talk about and an innocent reason to touch each other.

Although based on relative simple technology, it was nevertheless a stepping stone for the company on its path towards more advanced electronic toys and games.

Nintendo Love Tester (1969)

The Love Tester proved quite a sales hit in Nintendo's home country Japan. However, at the time Nintendo had no sales organisation outside Japan. Perhaps they also had little desire to expand their buying audience that way, being busy enough conquering their local market. That certainly changed in the 1980s, when they started having increasing international successes with arcade games, handheld electronics and video games, and built their own worldwide marketing, sales and distribution network on the back of that commercial success.

That does not mean that no Nintendo products from the 1970s or earlier found their way into the hands of customers outside Japan. Toys like Challenge Dice, Ultra Machine (Slugger Mate) and Ultra Scope were sold abroad, through various Western sales companies, who bought stock and did some light localisation.

One of such deals involved the Lido Designs Inc company from New York, who offered the Love Tester through mail order to the American public in the early 1970s.

Instructions for one person and for couples

In the Lido Designs version of the Love Tester, an instruction leaflet in English replaces the original Japanese manual.

As one of their sales efforts, in December of 1971 Lido Designs placed small ads in three consecutive issues of New York magazine, hoping to entice some novelty enthusiasts (or desperate singles) to order a Love Tester to warm up their Christmas holidays.

New York magazine of December 6 1971,
one of the issues that includes the Love Tester ad

The ads were included in the classified section, in the category 'merchandise offerings'.

The Love Tester was sold by Lido Designs for $9.95 (prepaid, including shipping), which was around double the sales price the Love Tester was originally sold for in Japan (¥1,800), based on the exchange rate of the time.

To entice the imagination of their prospective buyers, the ads even suggested to measure 'romance rating' while kissing, although checking the instrument reading during that act may be somewhat difficult, not doubt adding to the fun.

More romance... higher reading

For more information about the Love Tester check out this previous blog post.

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