Nintendo is best known as a family-friendly video game console manufacturer but the company has seen a lot of changes in its 126 year old history. The company went through numerous changes so we made a list of 10 awesome facts about Nintendo.

1. Nintendo originally manufactured playing cards


We’re all familiar with Nintendo as a video game company, but the company started out by making playing cards. Nintendo was founded in 1889 as a playing cards manufacturer and was initially named Nintendo Koppai. The company started making handmade cards and a game with cards known as Hanafuda. In 1977 Nintendo eventually started making its own hardware.

2. Nintendo created the D-pad


Gunpei Yokoi developed the directional pad (D-pad) back in 1982 for the handheld game Donkey Kong from Nintendo. Donkey Kong was a very popular Game & Watch game. In the ‘80s, most video game consoles used the D-pad; however, Sega and some other companies did not copy the Nintendo design completely, probably because Nintendo had a patent for the design of the D-pad.

3. Mr. Video was Mario’s real name


Everyone has heard of the famous plumber Mario. However, in the beginning, the Italian plumber had a different name. When Miyamoto first created the character his name was Mr. Video. Mario’s name came from the Nintendo of America’s landlord. The warehouse’s landlord was Mario Segale. Mario was also named Jumpman in Donkey Kong’s arcade game and back then he wasn’t a plumber but a carpenter.

4. Nintendo owns a baseball team


Nintendo owns the professional baseball team named The Seattle Mariners from Seattle, Washington. Nintendo of America purchased the team for $76 million way back in 1989.

5. Nintendo means “Leave Luck to Heaven”


Nintendo saw its name change several times. In 1963, Nintendo’s third president Hiroshi Yamauchi changed the name of the company to Nintendo Co. Ltd from Nintendo Playing Card Co. Ltd. Nintendo is made up of three kanji characters and if you translate these three nin, ten and do characters you get the saying “Leave Luck to Heaven”.

6. Nintendo’s hidden Totaka song


Kazumi Totaka is a voice actor for Nintendo (he is Yoshi’s voice) and a very well-known video game music composer. He composed the 19-note tune called Kazumi Totaka’s Song and concealed it in most of the games he worked on as a video game music composer.

7. 6,000 miles of NES games


The NES was released in 1985 and was Nintendo’s 8 bit home gaming console. It was so popular that if all the games that were sold for the system were to be put in a stack they would be able to reach 6,000 miles up. This means that the stack of games would actually be even higher than Mount Everest.

8. Nintendo tried out 3D before the Nintendo 3DS


Even though 3D may now sound like a thing that every modern video game console is capable of doing, Nintendo have actually played around with the concept in the past. This was very much before its newest handheld gaming console called the Nintendo 3DS. The Virtual Boy was released in 1995 and was consider a true 3D graphics video game console. However, the Virtual Boy was a huge failure and the company discontinued it within just one year. The video game console is considered to be Nintendo’s worst project ever.

GameCube was also capable of stereoscopic 3D. However, only Luigi’s Mansion utilized the technology and it stopped after its development because Nintendo feared that 3D TVs were a rare thing in most households.

9. NES games were initially supposed to be very hard


It’s been claimed that NES games were originally developed to be very hard so that they would take a very long time to beat. Now, when gamers come across a very difficult game, they refer to it as being “Nintendo Hard”, as homage to the Nintendo years.

10. GameCube’s music and the Famicon Disk System


This is more an easter egg than a fact. If you had a Famicon with a floppy-disk add-on you should be familiar with the music that played in the background of the system while there was no disk inserted into it. The GameCube music is the same as the one played on the Famicon. The difference is that the music score on the GameCube is slowed down.

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