Saturday, May 20, 2023

Nintendo's Games for Adult

Nintendo is generally considered to be making games for kids (of all ages, of course). However, in its long history, it also focussed part of its attention specifically on adults. 

Nintendo's Games for Adult (leaflet, outside) 

This little brochure is a nice example of this.

It is roughly A4 in size, with two folds, and is titled "Nintendo's Games for Adult" (sic).

It features traditional games that adults might play: Chess, Checkers, Domino, Roulette, Poker and Mah-jongg. The front of the leaflet even mentions Dice and Bingo Game, though these are not actually included inside.

There is no direct indication of a publishing date on this, but it is most likely from the early 1960s. Nintendo used the company name "Nintendo Playing Card Co., Ltd." between 1950 and 1963. Because this is a full color print on shiny paper, it feels more to be from the end part of that period.

Also, and more importantly, it is aimed at an English speaking audience. During the 1960s and 1970s, Nintendo increased its effort to expand its market outside of Japan (examples here and here), and this would fit right into that as an early example. [The first real break-trough abroad would come with Ten Billion and Game & Watch, but that is a different story.]

Still, I am speculating here about its age, and could be wrong.

The leaflet is aimed at importers and distributors of games, indicating wholesale box details like number of units included, size of the box and weight. 

The games listed are dedicated chess or checker sets. Nintendo also produced sets that featured both options, with a board that can be flipped depending on which of the two to play, but these are not shown here.

If you zoom in closely on the roulette game, you can make out the NG ("Nintendo Game") or Nippon Game logo, another indication that this is from the first half of the 1960s.

Roulette was a big thing in Japan around the time, and Nintendo produced many different sets. The one shown here is one of the earliest examples, with a heavy plastic wheel.

Nintendo's Games for Adult (leaflet, inside) 

Nintendo's playing card business produced many sets upon request by companies and other organizations, for promotional purposes. Here we see another option: promotional domino sets.

The leaflet states that custom design options are available.

Some examples of the advertising domino sets are shown, with the double zero tile acting as a mini billboard.

The last category of games in the leaflet is mah-jongg sets.

According to the leaflet, sets are available in plastic, bone and even ivory.

For another Nintendo sales leaflet targeted at a foreign (non Japanese) audience, from a decade or so later, see this post.


  1. This means Nintendo was always focused on family fun , from children to adult, and also loves traditional western board games, that also is reflected in Clubhouse Games on NDS and also 51 Worldwide Games on Switch

  2. Judging by the fact that it mentions plastic mahjong tiles having bamboo backs, this brochure should be no later than 1964.