Sunday, March 27, 2022

Nintendo leaflet in 1975 toys trade magazine

In a recent post we explored the catalogue of Nintendo products as it was back in September 1971, at which time Nintendo had completed the shift from card manufacturer to toy company, with an expanded range of products that was made up of traditional games, Nintendo's own innovations and licensed (as well as copied) existing toys and games.

In today's post we move to 1975, were we find Nintendo more established as toy company, with a product range that has evolved a bit further, but very much still in line with the products it offered four years earlier.

Nintendo was on the doorstep for further expansion, into the era of (home) video games (starting with the Color TV Games series in 1977, followed by the launch of the Family Computer in 1983) and handhelds (Game & Watch in 1980), but let's not get ahead of ourselves and see what they had to offer in the mid 1970s.

We travel back in time through the help of Toys Trader (玩具商報) magazine, in particular issue 12 from 1975. As the name suggests, it's a magazine intended for the toys trade, aimed at toy shop owners and toy buyers. The magazine consists of editorial content, describing new trends, toy fairs and related gatherings, interviews with figure heads and other information relevant to professionals in the toys business, mixed with advertisements by toy producers and wholesalers.

One of the more eye-catching ads is a fold-out leaflet by Nintendo, one of only two of such fold-outs in the magazine (the other one for a company selling jigsaw puzzles). It is printed in full colour, while most of the magazine, including most of the advertisements, are in black and white. Nintendo clearly was willing and able to spend big on marketing.

The fold-out is about 35 by 26 centimeters, and printed on both sides. It is dated June 1975.

1975 Nintendo leaflet - front

The message at the top of the front states that Nintendo's "idea products" (任天堂のアイデア商品) are "Lot's of fun" (たのしさがいっぱい).

Let's go through the various sections of the leaflet, starting with the top left corner of the front. This shows a selection of board games, that are bigger, more elaborate and more expensive than those offered a few years before.

Monday, February 21, 2022

Nintendo Grab the Blocks campaign (1970s)

I recently added an interesting promotional item to my collection of vintage Nintendo games and toys.

The item I am talking about, is the cardboard box shown here. It measures 32 by 32 by 42 centimeters and dates from the early 1970s.

All sides of the box are printed, with opposite sides showing the same image.

The text around the hole in the top says "GRAB THE BLOCKS" (ブロックのつかみどり) BOX.

If we peek inside the box, we spot a pile of N&B Blocks, Nintendo's LEGO inspired building block system. (For an introduction to N&B Block, see this earlier post).

The text on the red sides explains what this is all about: for each 1000 yen spent on Nintendo games and toys, a handful of blocks may be grabbed from the box for free (任天堂のゲーム・トイ1000円お買上げごとに1回!!).

Monday, November 1, 2021

This 1971 price list shows the full product range of Nintendo fifty years ago

After their early days producing mainly Hanafuda and other playing cards, and temporarily side-stepping into various other markets in the 1960s, at the end of that decade Nintendo had transformed into a toy manufacturer with a broad range of products, sold throughout Japan.

The document shown here gives a detailed insight into just how many different items the company offered at that time, from traditional games to new and innovative toys.

The document is called 'price table' ('価格表') and dates from September 1st 1971 (listed as Shōwa 46).

1971 Nintendo price table - front

It was published by the Nintendo Nagoya Sales office (任天堂名古屋営業所), one of Nintendo's four sales offices at the time (the other ones were in Sapporo, Osaka and Okayama). Together with the headquarters in Kyoto, a branch office in Tokyo and two distribution centres, these constituted Nintendo's operation. [For a company tour of Nintendo in 1970, check out this post.]

The document consists of seven thin paper pages, that are printed on one side with tables in black. In the back, a single fold-out page with colour pictures is included, that is printed on both sides.

Dimensions are 18 by 25.5 centimetres. The fold-out page is double that size, 36 by 25.5 centimetres.

The first page aptly begins with Hanafuda (花札), or 'Flower Cards', which was the company's first product, offered here in five quality versions. The top-of-the-line is Daitōryō (大統領), featuring the familiar picture of Napoleon on the wrapper, followed by, in descending price, Otafuku (お多福), Three Cranes (三羽鶴), Tengu (天狗) and City Flowers (都の花).

1971 Nintendo price table - page 1 of 7

These 'standard' Hanafuda are followed on this page by:

Sunday, October 17, 2021

Nintendo Love Tester ad sign (ca 1969)

In today's post we will take a look at a very special item in my collection: a sign used to promote the Nintendo Love Tester (ラブテスター) from 1969.

I do not know if this was an official item produced by Nintendo, but given the build quality and the unique feature it has (more on that below), I am assuming it is. It must be very rare, as this is the only one I have ever seen. If there were more, and there probably were, they probably have disappeared in the sands of time by now.

The Love Tester was a novelty item conceived by Gunpei Yokoi for Nintendo. It used simple electronics to provide a 'love score' to a couple holding hands.

The Love Tester was a considerabel success, helped by marketing material like the flyer above and this particular sign, that was likely placed in a shop or departement store to attract sales.

The sign measures around 35 centimeters wide, 40 centimeters high and 12 centimeters deep. It is lighted from inside, using a 110 volt fluorescent light.

At the top it gives the product name in both English and Japanese.