Originally posted on March 21st, 2012 by Sharon at FromtheDpad.com
A Salute to Gaming Roots
1889: The Canadian Pacific Railway is completed from coast to coast, the Great Fire in Seattle destroys 25 downtown blocks, Thomas Edison shows his 1st motion picture, cable cars begin service in LA, the 300m Eiffel Tower officially opens commemorating the French Revolution, and 29 year old Fusajiro Yamauchi opens the doors to his company Nintendo Koppai.
A ban of foreign (western) playing cards plagued the fun loving people of Japan (after the communications break in 1633) but playing card games was not entirely banned….exactly. Crafty and persistent gamblers found ways in which card decks were created using imagery as a way to get around the prohibition. Unfortunately each time gambling with a card deck of a particular design became too popular, the government banned those cards, which then prompted the creation of new ones. As a result of this back and forth a game was developed. That game was called Hanafuda and it combined traditional Japanese games with Western-style playing cards. Eventually the game had become popular enough that the government threw its hands in the air and conceded to loosening the reigns, so to speak. And when big brother stopped trying to control the card playing it magically became less interesting to mass consumers. It is funny how that works, isn’t it?
Enter Nintendo. Nintendo, which began with the purpose of producing and selling hand-crafted Hanafuda cards. Instead of just making general illustrations for use with the game, Fusajiro Yamauchi would develop unique hand crafted artwork that would drive the sales of the cards far beyond the competition. Nintendo quickly became the top game company in Japan, and over the next 40 years Fusajiro’s small store expanded into a major corporation adding an expansive library of original card games developed specifically for Nintendo.
Did you know: During the early years of Hiroshi Yamauchi, Nintendo expanded to include ….
Click here to read the rest of the Sharon’s Salute to Gaming Roots and learn more about Nintendo’s beginnings.