This article was written by Phineas Upham
Prior to Nintendo’s 1979 unveiling of the Game and Watch, the company enjoyed humble beginnings as a playing card maker. It created handmade cards to be played with a game called Hanafuda, until the dawn of the electronic age.
It began by producing color TV game consoles, with 4 versions initially. Each version played a different game, like Tennis.
This was around the time that Nintendo hired a young man named Shigeru Miyamoto, who would eventually become one of the most recognized figures in the industry. His first task was designing the casing for the console in the new “Nintendo Games” department. His next task was designing the game we would all come to know as Donkey Kong. This single title completely changed Nintendo’s way of life.
Nintendo enjoyed a fair amount of success from these home consoles before releasing its Game & Watch system in 1979. Donkey Kong would join the list of titles getting the Game & Watch treatment. In 1983, Nintendo released its Family Computer, which it shortened to “Famicom.” The US received a similar version, today known to children all over as the Nintendo Entertainment System.
Nintendo completely dominated the market for home gaming consoles, beating out Atari as the number one device. Its Super Mario Bros. is one of the best-selling video games in history.
That success was followed by the Super Nintendo, which was based on a 16-bit processor and allowed for better graphics and sound. Since, Nintendo has made a mark in the industry with innovative software design, and hardware for handhelds. The flagship console of today is the Wii-U, which has sold somewhat below expectations.
About the Author: Phineas Upham is an investor at a family office/hedgefund, where he focuses on special situation illiquid investing. Before this position, Phineas Upham was working at Morgan Stanley in the Media & Technology group. You may contact Phineas on his LinedIn page.