Nintendo Company History

Nintendo has sold more than one billion video games worldwide, created such industry icons as Mario and Donkey Kong and launched franchises like The Legend of Zelda and Pokémon. Nintendo of America Inc., based in Redmond, Washington, serves as headquarters for Nintendo's operations in the Western Hemisphere, where more than 40 percent of American households own a Nintendo game system.

Our look at Nintendo History begins in 1981.

Donkey Kong 1981 - A talented Nintendo artist named Shigeru Miyamoto created a game called Donkey Kong, which was the first game to featured Mario. Donkey Kong quickly became the hottest selling individual coin-operated machine in the business.

1982 - Merged New York subsidiary into Nintendo of America Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary headquartered in Seattle, Washington, U.S.A., with a capital of $600,000.

1983 - Built a new plant in Uji city to increase production capacity and to allow for business expansion. Established Nintendo Entertainment Centers Ltd. in Vancouver, B.C., Canada, to operate a family entertainment center. Raised authorized capital of Nintendo of America Inc. to $10 million. In July, listed stock on the first section of the Tokyo Stock Exchange. Started selling the home video game console "Family Computer" employing a custom CPU (Custom Processing Unit) and PPU (Picture Processing Unit).

The original NES 1985 - Started to sell the U.S. version of Family Computer "Nintendo Entertainment System" (NES) in America. The system included R.O.B. - Robotic Operating Buddy - and the games Duck Hunt and Super Mario Bros. Mario and Luigi became as big a hit as the NES.

1987 - The NES achieved the status as the #1 selling toy in American and The Legend of Zelda became the first new generation home video game to exceed sales of one million units.

1988 - Nintendo of America Inc. published the first issue of Nintendo Power magazine in July. Researched and developed the Hands Free controller, making the NES accessible to many more Nintendo fans. The game library for the NES grew to 65 titles, helping to broaden the demographics to include more adults.

The Game Boy 1989 - Released "The Adventure of Link," sequel to the top-selling game "The Legend of Zelda" in the U.S. Started "World of Nintendo" displays in U.S. to help market Nintendo products. Studies show that children are as familiar with "Mario" as they are with Mickey Mouse and Bugs Bunny! Introduced Game Boy, the first portable, hand-held game system with interchangeable game paks. Nintendo Power magazine became the largest paid-subscription publication in its age category.

1990 - Japan enters the 16-bit market by releasing the Super Famicom in the fall.

The Super NES 1991 - Nintendo introduces World Class Service Center locations across the U.S. The 16-bit Super Nintendo Entertainment System (Super NES), along with "Super Mario World," is released in the U.S.

1992 - The Super NES Super Scope and Mario Paint with the Super NES Mouse Accessory were released. The long-awaited "Zelda" sequel, The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, arrived for the Super NES. Nintendo of America Inc. developed portable Fun Centers to assist the Starlight Foundation in bringing happiness to hospitalized children by allowing them to enjoy their favorite video games during hospital stays.

1993 - Nintendo announces the advent of the Super FX Chip, breakthrough technology for home video systems. The first game using the Super FX Chip, "Star Fox," is released in April.

1994 - Everyone's favorite heroine, Samus, returns in another long-awaited sequel, Super Metroid. Nintendo helped pioneer the development and implementation of an industry-wide rating system. This year also saw the introduction of a game that would set a new standard in video game excellence. Using proprietary Advanced Computer Modeling (ACM) graphics, Donkey Kong Country took the holiday season by storm! Nintendo Gateway projected to reach 40 million travelers.

The Virtual Boy 1995 - Cruis'n USA and Killer Instinct available in arcades, both games were huge hits and hyped the upcoming N64 console. Nintendo introduced a 32-bit Virtual Immersion system known as the Virtual Boy. Nintendo responded to the demands of fans with the release of Yoshi's Island: Super Mario World 2. ACM graphics made another appearance on the Super NES with the release of the arcade smash-hit, Killer Instinct.

The Nintendo 64 1996 - Nintendo 64 launches in Japan on June 23. Thousands line up to be the first to experience the world's first true 64-bit home video game system. More than 500,000 systems are sold the first day. In early September, Nintendo introduces the Game Boy pocket, a sleeker, 30-percent smaller version of the world's most popular hand-held video game system. On September 29, Nintendo 64 launches in North America. The entire initial shipment of more than 350,000 units is sold out in three days. Super Mario 64 is proclaimed by many as "the greatest video game of all time!"

Pika! 1998 - Nintendo introduces Game Boy Color and innovative devices Game Boy Camera and Printer, bringing new life to the longest running hit in the history of interactive entertainment. Pokémon, a breakthrough game concept for Game Boy, was introduced to the world and generated a nationwide craze to collect 'em all! With the release of Banjo-Kazooie for Nintendo 64, new characters were added to the ever-growing list of popular Nintendo characters. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time for Nintendo 64 was released, setting new standards and breaking records for pre-sell for any video game to date.

Perfect Dark 1999 - Nintendo expanded on the Pokémon franchise now a world wide phenomenon. Nintendo announced plans for a new system utilizing an IBM Gekko Processor and Matsushita's Unique DVD Technology. We expanded on high quality software with innovative titles such as Pokémon Snap and Pokémon Pinball. Pokémon Pinball included a built-in rumble feature. We introduced such hits as Star Wars Episode 1: Racer, Mario Golf, Donkey Kong 64, and Perfect Dark. Visteon's Rear Seat Entertainment System was released in June of 1999.

2001 - May 16th, 2001 Nintendo announces that it will launch GameCube it's new system utilizing an IBM Gekko Processor and Matsushita's Unique DVD Technology on September 14th, 2001 in Japan.

Nintendo will ship GameCube to the US and Canada on November 18th, 2001. The future is almost here...

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