New Photo of Nintendo’s First Company Headquarters Emerges, And It’s All About the Old School

As successful as Nintendo has been this past year with the Nintendo Switch and games like Super [...]

Nintendo Kyoto

As successful as Nintendo has been this past year with the Nintendo Switch and games like Super Mario Odyssey and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, it's been around for a long time – and not just in the world of video games.

Yes, Nintendo actually existed long before the Nintendo Entertainment System hit shelves in 1985. Heck, even longer than that. At one point, the company started as a playing card manufacturer way back in 1889. Yep, that far back. And a new historical photo provides a good idea of what the company first looked like when it began.

A new project by the city of Kyoto recently went online, looking back at the origins of the city. Titled Memories of Kyoto, 150 Years After the Meiji Period, the project documents its history from 1868 to 1912, during the reign of Emperor Meiji.

Nintendo 1899 City of Kyoto
(Photo: City of Kyoto)

The photo was shared by Nintendo historians Isao Yamazaki and Florent Gorges, and the blog post also detailed a little bit of history surrounding the company, like how its initial founder, Fusajio Yamauchi, actually ran a company that specialized in cement beforehand. Nintendo remained a "family business" for many years, with some adult men even adopting other adult men to keep the Yamauchi namesake alive. The trend continued well into 2002, when Fusajiro's great-grandson Hiroshi Yamauchi eventually retired, turning control of the company over to his then-successor, the great Satoru Iwata. And everyone knows about the strong direction Iwata gave to the company, right up to his untimely passing a little while back.

That said, the original building where Nintendo got its start, pictured above, is no more, since it was torn down in 2004 and replaced with a parking lot. But it's still fascinating to see where Nintendo got its humble beginnings, and how much it's built in other businesses, eventually leading up to its dominance in video games. You can learn more about it here, though you might need to set up Google Translate to get the most out of it. And read around, too – some other Kyoto businesses just might get your interest.

Thanks to Kotaku and Chris Kohler for the heads up!