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Nintendo Co., Ltd. is a multinational corporation located in Kyoto, Japan. Founded on September 23, 1889 by Fusajiro Yamauchi, it produced handmade hanafuda cards. By 1963, the company had tried several small niche businesses, such as a cab company and a love hotel.

Nintendo soon developed into a video game company, becoming one of the most influential in the industry and Japan's third most valuable listed company, with a market value of over US$85 billion. Nintendo is the fifth largest software company in the world. Besides video games, Nintendo is also the majority owner of the Seattle Mariners, a Major League Baseball team in Seattle, Washington.

According to Nintendo's Touch! Generations website, the name 'Nintendo' translated from Japanese to English means 'Leave luck to Heaven'. As of October 2, 2008, Nintendo has sold over 470 million hardware units and 2.7 billion software units.

In 1974, Nintendo secured the rights to distribute the Magnavox Odyssey home video game console in Japan. In 1977, Nintendo began producing its own Color TV Game home video game consoles. Four versions of these consoles were produced, each playing variations on a single game (for example, Color TV Game 6 featured six versions of Light Tennis).

A student product developer named Shigeru Miyamoto was hired by Nintendo at this time. He worked for Yokoi, and one of his first tasks was to design the casing for several of the Color TV Game consoles. Miyamoto went on to create some of Nintendo's most famous video games and become one of the most recognizable faces in the video game industry.

In 1975, Nintendo moved into the video arcade game industry with EVR Race, designed by their first game designer, Genyo Takeda , and several more titles followed. Nintendo had some small success with this venture, but the release of Donkey Kong in 1981, designed by Miyamoto, changed Nintendo's fortunes dramatically. The success of the game and many licensing opportunities (such as ports on the Atari 2600, Intellivision and ColecoVision) gave Nintendo a huge boost in profit.

In 1980, Nintendo launched Game & Watch, a handheld video game series developed by Yokoi, to worldwide success. In 1983, Nintendo launched the Family Computer (commonly called by its shortened name 'Famicom') home video game console in Japan alongside ports of its most popular arcade titles. In 1985, the console launched in North America as the Nintendo Entertainment System, and was accompanied by Super Mario Bros.. In 1989, Yokoi developed the Game Boy handheld video game console. Nintendo is the longest-surviving video game console manufacturer to date.

The Nintendo Entertainment System was superseded by the Super Famicom, known outside Japan as the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES). This was Nintendo's console of the 16-bit 4th generation, and its main rival was the Sega Mega Drive/Genesis. A fierce console war[14] ensued, where the SNES was victorious. The SNES eventually sold 49.10 million consoles, around 20 million more than the Mega Drive. The Nintendo 64, most notable for its 3D graphics capabilities, introduced the analog stick and built-in multiplayer for up to four players, instead of two. It also introduced the Rumble Pak, an enhancement that produced force feedback, which was the first such device in the history of home console gaming, and has become an industry standard.

The Nintendo GameCube followed, and was the first Nintendo console to use optical disc storage instead of cartridges. The most recent home console, the Wii, uses motion sensing controllers  and has online functionality (although the GameCube did also have some basic online capabilities), used for services such as Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection, Virtual Console and WiiWare. Source: Wikipedia


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