1969 Nintendo expands and a new Games
department is founded
Nintendo's first game department was established named
simply "Games" and was Nintendo's first research and development
department and the office was set in a newly built a production plant
in Uji City (a suburb of Kyoto).
1970 Gunpei makes the "Ultrahand"
Nintendos stocks were changed to the first section
of the Osaka Stock Exchange and Nintendo started selling a series of toys
named Beam Guns. New employee Gunpei Yokoi was told to "do something
good" for the Christmas shopping and the next day he introduced and
expansion arm toy named The Ultrahand that sold in 1.2 million copies.
This year Nintendo also introduced electric technology into the Japanese
1971-72 Gunpei and Masayuki makes more
After the success of the Ultrahand Gunpei created more
great toys such as the baseball-throwing machine for the homes called
The Ultra Machine, and the little periscope called the Ultra Scope. The
next invention from Gunpei was a "lovetester" that actually
became a big hit in Japan. It involved a girl and a boy holding each others
hands and with their free hands holding the two handles inside the machine.
The machine then tested how much "love" that was flowing between
them (actually the machine only read the current passing through the two,
it had nothing to do with any love or emotions)!
1973 The Laser Clay Shooting System rocks
Yokoi suggested to Hiroshi Yamauchi that the technique
used in the Beam Gun Games could be used in other ways. Then Yokoi who
had bought a rifle walked to a skeet shooting range (skeet shooting was
a very popular sport in Japan at the time). He returned and told Yamauchi
that the light gun system used in the Beam Gun Games could be used to
simulate shooting clay pigeons. Yamauchi heard what Yokoi had to say and
after thinking a little he came up with a brilliant commercial application
for Yokoi's idea. In the 1960s Bowling had been a popular sport in Japan
but nowadays many bowling alleys just stood unused and empty. Yamauchi
thought that instead they could use these bowling alleys as electronical
shooting ranges with simulated clay pigeons. Solar cells could detect
when it was a hit or not. Viola! The Laser Clay Shooting System! Yokoi
and Masayuki Uemura who was working on the project had some technical
problems though but got help from Genyo Takeda, a new employee who had
answered one of Nintendo's newspaper ads for new toy designers. One funny
thing was that when Nintendo was opening the first of their many Laser
Clay shooting ranges, with the press and TV crews on the scene the whole
system malfunctioned! A smart maneuver from new employee Takeda saved
Nintendo this time: Before anyone suspected anything Takeda hid behind
the box controlling the pigeons and the score. From there he could trigger
of the pigeons and change the score manually! To the audience it seamed
as the system was running smoothly without the slightest problem! The
Laser Clay Shooting System became the new major evening entertainment
in the most cities of Japan!
1974 The "Wild Gunman" becomes
Nintendo's big export product!
A new variation on the Laser Clay shooting concept was
introduced. The Wild Gunman consisted of an image projection system using
16 mm film, showing gunmen appearing in an alley and the player had to
shoot them before they shot back! This system was exported to Europe and
USA. The effects of Japan's oil shortage that occurred in 73 began showing:
Japan's economy went into a tailspin and people couldn't afford using
their money on Nintendo's Shooting Ranges anymore. Yamauchi now became
more and more desperate to find a new breakthrough product.
1975 Yamuchi has a dinner that would change
Nintendo's whole future!
One day Yamauchi had a dinner with an old boyhood friend
who was an executive at one of Japan's largest electronics conglomerates.
They discussed the technological breakthrough that had been made with
microprocessors and how these could be used in computers and entertainment
products etc. After that dinner Yamauchi started to do some research about
the progress that had been made in America in that area. Over there, companies
like Atari & Magnavox sold devices that you connected to your TV and
allowed you to play simpler games.
1977 Nintendo enters the video game industry
and Shigeru Miyamoto starts working at Nintendo!
Nintendo enters the video game industry when, together
with Mitsubishi Electrics, they release their first video game machine,
the Color TV Game 6 in Japan. The system was designed to play 6 different
versions of light tennis. The system sold in million copies. Shigeru Miyamoto
started working at Nintendo as a game designer creating artwork for arcade
1978-79 The Color TV Game 15 is released.
The Color TV Game 6 system was followed by the more advanced
Color TV Game 15, which also sold in 1 million. Later Nintendo's engineers
came up with two more systems. One that played a rather complex game called
Blockbuster and one that played some sort of a racing game. Together these
two machines sold in about 1 million copies.
1980 Nintendo starts selling Gunpei´s Game & Watch games, produces their first arcade games and Donkey Kong is finished!
announced a wholly owned subsidiary: Nintendo of America Inc. in New York.
This year they also started selling Gunpei Yokoi´s latest creation
the Game&Watch series (a series of hand held LCD games with both a
games and a clock with alarm) in the "whole" world. In many
Asian cities other companies developed Game & Watch without Nintendo's
permission and that way Nintendo lost many millions, but in other parts
of the world (like Europe and USA) Nintendo made lots of millions on their
Game & Watch -games. In between 82 and 83 the Game &Watch games
sold in 1,6 million copies in Scandinavia alone!
Facts and Stats.
1981 The Famicom is under development!
IBM releases their PC.
Facts and Stats.
1982 Donkey Kong JR is released.
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