The Nintendo Story

Nintendo, a name synonymous with gaming excellence, has a fascinating origin story that traces back to its humble beginnings in making playing cards.

From its early collaboration with the Yakuza in the underworld of illegal casinos to becoming a global household name with iconic characters like Super Mario, the Nintendo saga is one of resilience, innovation, and a deep understanding of entertainment. 

Nintendo’s Beginnings: Crafting Hanafuda Cards

Nintendo’s journey began in the late 19th century when a young Fusajiro Yamauchi founded the company in Kyoto, Japan. Initially, Nintendo specialized in producing Hanafuda cards, a traditional Japanese card game that was immensely popular during that era. These intricately designed cards were a testament to Nintendo’s commitment to quality craftsmanship and attention to detail.

The Yakuza Connection: Nintendo in the World of Illegal Casinos

During the early 20th century, Japan saw a surge in illegal gambling establishments, which provided an underground market for Nintendo’s Hanafuda cards. It was during this period that the company had indirect dealings with the Yakuza when the Yakuza began to use Nintendo’s well designed Hanafuda Cards in illegal Japanese casinos.

However, as the landscape of entertainment evolved, so did Nintendo’s vision.

In the 1960s, the company shifted its focus from traditional card games to exploring various electronic ventures. This led to the creation of light gun games and other innovative toys. However, it was not until the late 1970s that Nintendo made a breakthrough with the introduction of the Color TV-Game series, which paved the way for the iconic Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) in the 1980s.

One of Nintendo’s most pivotal moments came with the introduction of Super Mario, a beloved character that would forever change the face of gaming. Developed by Shigeru Miyamoto, Super Mario burst onto the scene in 1985, taking players on a captivating journey through the Mushroom Kingdom. The game’s ingenious level design, memorable characters, and precise controls catapulted it to unparalleled heights of popularity.

Super Mario not only became a cultural phenomenon but also solidified Nintendo’s position as a dominant force in the gaming industry. The success of the Mario franchise was followed by a slew of other iconic titles like The Legend of Zelda, Metroid, and Donkey Kong, all of which contributed to Nintendo’s status as a household name.

What sets Nintendo apart is its unwavering commitment to innovation. Throughout the years, the company has introduced groundbreaking technologies, from the introduction of handheld gaming with the Game Boy to motion controls with the Wii. Each innovation has not only pushed the boundaries of gaming but also resonated with a diverse audience worldwide.


The story of Nintendo is a testament to the power of creativity, adaptability, and a deep understanding of what captivates audiences. From its roots in crafting Hanafuda cards to its transformation into a global gaming powerhouse, Nintendo’s journey is a remarkable one. Today Nintendo stands as a Company whose resilience and a passion has shaped an industry, leaving an indelible mark.