Saturday, January 7, 2023

Meet the Collectors - #11 - Nikita Shigov

We are back with another episode of Meet the Collectors. 

This time we travel to South-east Asia, where we meet Nikita.

"My name is Nikita, and I am 30 years old. I am originally from Russia, but I have spent the last five years in Malaysia, specifically in Kuala Lumpur. One day I decided to move to another country together with my wife, and I found a job here, on this sunny country with very friendly people."

"After realising that I wouldn't make it as a pro video gamer, I spent many evenings learning new foreign languages and studying social sciences. All my life I have worked as Digital marketing manager. I am very much a kid at heart, love to cook, play video games and travel whenever i can."

"When I was a kid I played the Soviet Game & Watch clone Elektornika because we didn’t have official Nintendo products. A Taiwanese clone of Atari 2600 and Sega Mega Drive 2 were my first consoles, and they made me love videogames."

"I had started collecting Nintendo portable consoles, and later I dug into the big N's history. I was surprised how big it was. It amazed me how Nintendo follows its traditions and carries them over time until modern days. It makes them a unique company in the current market."

"First, I bought a hanafuda deck. And then it started... "

"Since 2015 I’ve been collecting vintage Nintendo stuff produced before the Famicom. My collection is modest compared to other collectors. I am trying to find unique and old Nintendo toys without overpaying a huge amount of money. I do not care about box condition."

"During my first trip to Kyoto that year, the first place I visited was the former Nintendo HQ, and it charmed me by its architecture. Visiting it is like a mecca for Nintendo toy collectors :-)."

"Mostly, I find new stuff for my collection mostly on eBay and Japanese online second hand stores. However, also in Malaysia I can find old Nintendo board games and playing cards, in Japanese thrift stores. You will be surprised how much Japanese thrift stores with used clothes, kitchenware, and toys there are in Kuala Lumpur."

"I collect Game & watch games all over the world while I do travelling and try to find them at local flea markets."

"Nintendo was never officially distributed in Russia or Malaysia till the 2000s, and finding all these items is really a challenge! In Malaysia it is more easy to order online stuff from Japan because shipping is cheap. However, the Malaysian ringgit currency is quite weak compared to the US dollar or Yen and that makes buying items abroad pricey."

Sunday, December 4, 2022

Nintendo Ele-conga manual restored

The Ele-conga (エレコンガ) is an electronic percussion instrument, created by Nintendo and released in 1972. It offers five different analogue sounds: Snare, Maracas, Claps, High Congas and Low Congas.

I recently came into contact with Forgotten Futures, an organization whose mission is "to revive lost and forgotten yet vital artifacts of electronic musical instrument history by collecting, faithfully restoring and preserving original instruments".

Nintendo Ele-conga (1972) manual front

They were interested in preserving the Ele-conga manual and I gladly provided a scan of a copy from my collection.

Nintendo Ele-conga (1972) manual inside

The document was digitally restored by Mike Buffington (his site here). I believe he did a great job, removing all stains, creases and other damage. You can see the result here.

Nintendo Ele-conga (1972) manual back

If you would like to learn more about this wonderful Nintendo item, check out this previous blog post.

For more information about Forgotten Futures, go to

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.