181: The Nintendo Company is founded

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On this date in 1889, the Nintendo Company was founded.

Here are a few things you may not have known about the game company.

Its original name was Nintendo Koppai or Nintendo Playing Card Company. The company made a card game called Hanafuda. In 1966 the company moved into the toy business with the Ultra Hand, a scissor-driven extendable arm, They also made a baseball-style pitching machine and a device called a Love Tester, which supposedly measured a couple’s compatibility.

Nintendo got into the video game business in 1974 by purchasing the Japanese distribution rights for the Magnavox Odyssey system. In 1975, the company created “EVR Race,” its first arcade game. In 1981, the company released “Donkey Kong,” which was available on several systems including the Atari 2600 and Intellivision. The game also introduced the character of Mario, who was known at the time as Jumpman.

In 1980, the company produced its first handheld video game, called Game and Watch, the first title for which was called Ball. In 1983, Nintendo released the Family Computer, known as Famicom in Japan. Two years later, a repackaged version of this machine was released elsewhere in the world as the Nintendo Entertainment System. Among the launch titles for the system outside of Japan were “Duck Hunt,” Hogan’s Alley,” “Excitebike” and “Super Mario Brothers.”

“Super Mario Brothers” would go on to spawn 20 games, not including spinoff series, and sell more than 310 million copies.

In 1989, the portable Game Boy system was released. The Super Nintendo followed in 1990, and the Nintendo 64 was released in 1996. At this point rival systems by Sega and Sony were cutting into Nintendo’s marketshare following disappointing products such as Game Boy Advance and GameCube. Poor sales of GameCube led to the company’s first operating losses in more than 100 years.

In 2004 the company released the handheld Nintendo DS, followed by the Wii console in 2006. The Wii would go on to sell more than 100 million units, making it the best-selling console in company history.

Our question, what is the top-selling game for the original Nintendo Entertainment System that doesn’t feature Mario?

Today is the Autumnal Equinox in the northern hemisphere and the Vernal Equinox in the southern hemisphere. In the United States, it’s unofficially National Pot Pie Day and Restless Leg Syndrome Awareness Day. It’s the birthday of musicians John Coltrane, Ray Charles, Ben E. King, Julio Iglesias, Bruce Springsteen and Ani DiFranco.

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