Sunday, August 27, 2023

Nintendo Mini Game Series number 52

As mentioned on this blog before, the Nintendo Mini Game Series from the 1970s is one of my favorites from Nintendo's past. It consists of a wide range of colorful, fun toys and games. And the range is getting wider still! Not that new ones are released, but entries in the series are still discovered to this day. I mean, literally today.

For many years I thought there were fifty different ones in total. Of those fifty, I managed to track down copies of forty-eight games. The two remaining ones eluded me for the longest time: Diving Shot (ダイビングショット) and Space Ball (スペースボール).

In 2019, I managed to get the search list down to one, by finding a copy of Diving Shot. Well, actually, I found four copies at once. More about that here.

Copies of Nintendo Mini Game Diving Shot, found in 2019

Then three years ago, I discovered a game I had not heard of before: a unknown variant of Picture Puzzle (ピクチュアパズル). This brought the the total list of known games to fifty-one, of which I owned fifty.

Nintendo Mini Game Picture Puzzle, found in 2020

And today, that happened again! I stumbled upon yet another version of Picture Puzzle! One that includes, as one of the three puzzles in the pack, a scene from Disney's Sleeping Beauty.

Old, but new to me. Nintendo Mini Game Picture Puzzle.

The copy is unused and complete. It is not in perfect shape, but pretty good, considering it is fifty years old. And I could not be happier, to have found it.

Sunday, July 16, 2023

Meet the Collectors - #12 - Christian Puryear

Sometimes good things take a while to come to fruition, and today's blog post is a good example of this.

When I started the meet the collectors series, back in 2012, one of the people I reached out to was a collector called Christian (aka Vinelodge). I had known him as a serious collector of vintage Nintendo toys and games already for a while, at a time when this hobby was still quite uncommon. He was (is) one of the pioneers.

Christian was interested to participate, but said that the presentation of his collection needed some attention before he was happy to have it featured. "Give me a chance to get everything organized and looking nice and I'll send you some pictures.", he said.

Well, that took a little longer than expected. :-) Fast forward to 2023 and here he is.

"My name is Christian Puryear. I live in Nashville, Tennessee in the United States with my wife and three children."

"I have collected Nintendo items for many years. When I was young, some Japanese families with kids my same age moved to our neighborhood. They brought with them many things not available in the United States at the time; including Game & Watches!"

"I found them all very interesting and each had its own unique charm. There seemed to be so many, and always more to discover."

"A few years later, the NES came out and was a big part of growing up in the 1980's. That same polish & charm was evident in all other Nintendo games now available. At that time, I knew there was much more available over in Japan; but it just wasn't accessible here in the States."

"After college, 'retro' video games at that time were cheap and easy to find and so I enjoyed hunting to find 'unknown' games. I especially enjoyed the boxes; the art on the packaging was always the most interesting but it was also the least likely to be found! Typically, I will only acquire items that also come with the original box. I often joke that I collect cardboard more than video games."

Nintendo Chiritori (1979), Kôsenjû SP Riffle (1970),
Love Tester (1969) and Ultra Scope (1971)

"After I completed most of the North American Nintendo items, the internet came around and suddenly overseas toys were much more available. I started to obtain Game & Watches and quickly found that there was a much deeper Nintendo history with even more interesting items to be found."

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.

Wednesday, May 10, 2023

Kyoto Souvenir Playing Cards, closer look part 2

We continue with the second part of detailed look at each of the individual cards in Nintendo Kyoto Souvenir playing cards from the 1950s. The first part can be found here.


The diamonds cards show a wide variety of landmarks and topics related to Kyoto:

  • The Kamikamo Shrine (上賀茂神社)
  • The Mifune Festival (三船祭)
  • The Hozu Rapid (保津急流)
  • The Golden pavilion (金閣寺)
  • The Tower of Toji Temple (五重塔, 東寺)
  • Maiko, Geisha Apprentice (舞妓)
  • Kyoto Minami-za Theater (南座)
  • The Ryoanji Temple (竜安寺)
  • Kyoto Station (京都駅)
  • Kyoto Prefectural Government (京都府庁)
  • The Silver Pavilion (銀閣寺)
  • City Hall (京都市役所)
  • Gion Festival (祇園祭)