Sunday, October 30, 2022

Building the N&B Block Garden House

In this post we will take a look at the building of a Nintendo N&B Block (任天堂ブロック) set.

If you don't know what N&B Block is, check out this introduction.

The set we are putting together is called "Garden House" (ガーデンハウス). This was one of the smaller N&B Block sets.

It dates from 1968 and has model number NB 980-G. This model number also identifies the list price at the time: 980 yen. This translates to around 3,500 yen in today's money.

When I found this particular set, it was so-called "new old stock"; the blocks were still shrink-wrapped.

Today these blocks will be liberated from underneath the plastic film, after almost fifty-five years of waiting.

A single folded sheet with assembly instructions (組み立て方説明書) is included. It is printed one-sided, in colour.

When unfolded, the instructions measure around 38 by 54 centimeters.

The text in the top right corner states:

Assemble in order, while looking at the completed drawing.

Various other things can be assembled with these parts. Let's assemble your own things.

There are many other sets in the Nintendo (N&B) block [range].

A table is provided that lists all included parts, with their colour (red, white, blue, yellow or green) and part count.

The total number of parts for this set is 179.

Nintendo must have had a good quality control back then (like they do now), as all listed parts are present. There are no spare parts.

Thursday, October 27, 2022

Nintendo's Before Mario Party

Well over thirty years before the first Nintendo 64 Mario Party saw the light of day, Nintendo was already selling games to create fun and excitement at parties.

One of such games was the well-known Twister, to which Nintendo obtained the Japanese distribution rights from US company Milton Bradley in 1966.

Nintendo's first Twister version (1966)

The first version released by Nintendo (called ツイスターゲーム or "Twister Game" in Japanese) was a straight localization of the original American game, retaining most of the original box art, including the Western looking folks on the front.

In the years that followed, Nintendo released two more versions of Twister, until they lost (or gave up) the license sometime in the mid 1970s.

All three Nintendo Twister versions

In today's post, we will take a closer look at the second version.

The game attributes (play mat and board with spinner) of this version are identical to the first release, however the box art and box dimensions have been changed, as well as the manual.

Nintendo's second version of Twister (1967)

The front of the box now shows a Japanese group of people playing the game, signalling that this is a game that works in a Japanese setting.

The American origin of the game is still reflected in the two faces included on the left side of the front.

Although the pictures on the front portray the fun party purpose of the game, a second message is also relayed: exercise is good for you.

Friday, October 21, 2022

Former Nintendo HQ in Architecture book (1996)

The book presented below is called "Kyoto Photo Gallery" (京都写眞館), from the series "Modern masterpieces" (近代名建築). The author / photographer is Akihiro Fukushima (福島明博), and it was published in 1996 by the Japan Newspaper Publishing Center (日本機関紙出版センター).

Over a hundred buildings are featured in the book, and we show it on this blog because one of those buildings is the former head office of Nintendo.

In the book, some basic information is provided for each building, and a brief description.

The former Nintendo head office was built in 1933 by the Osaka Hashimoto group (大阪橋本 組).

It is a "three-story reinforced concrete structure" that is "a nice building located on a main street, a little west of Kamogawa. It has an Art Deco style combining straight lines and roundness, but it omits detailed decorations."

The author contacted Nintendo to find out who the architect was. "Mr. A of the General Affairs Division informed me [...] the next day." Unfortunately, the answer was "I still don't know the name. Some people said they were architects who lived around Nanzenji."

A single full page photo of the front view of the building is included. You can see a glimmer of the original wooden structure on left.

As you may have heard, the building was recently renovated and repurposed as a hotel. More on that here.

Friday, October 14, 2022

Nintendo Australian Copilas operation manual

In a previous post, I showed the Australian version of the Nintendo Copilas.

For completeness sake, a full scan of the operation manual is provided here.

As part of the localization for the Australian market, the document was fully translated into English.

Like the rest of the localization, it has been professionally done.

Besides the English language, the manual is identical to the original Japanse version.

Sunday, October 2, 2022

Nintendo Copilas localized for Australia

The Copilas (コピラス) was an affordable photo copier, introduced by Nintendo in 1971. In the early 1970s, Nintendo released multiple products outside their core toys and games market, and the Copilas was one of these. Others included the Nintendo Candy Machine, Uni Rack, Twins and Mamaberica.

Japanse version of the Nintendo Copilas

It was believed that these products were all limited to Nintendo's Japanese home market. The only known version of Copilas was the one sold in Japan. This version is described in detail in this post.

Nintendo Copilas localized for the Australian market

I say "was believed", as recently the version shown here popped up, seemingly out of nowhere. It is a version that has been fully localized for the Australian market.

On this version, all Japanse text has been replaced by English translations. The company name used is also the international version: "Nintendo Co., Ltd.".

The box shows that the machine is made to work with 240 volt current and 50 cycles, the Australian standard, as opposed to the 100 volt which is used in Japan. The voltage / cycle indication is stamped on the box, rather than printed, allowing other configurations to use the same box.