Nintendo, one of the worlds leading game console manufacturers originally made and sold playing cards, but that isn’t all they did. They had a sordid, forgotten past that very few people even know about. Nintendo were involved in illegal gambling, pornography and even prostitution. Their involvement in these activities ran up until the late 1970’s. Perhaps their history explains why Mario abused Donkey Kong in the original Donkey Kong video game.
Nintendo playing cards
In 1886 the Japanese government legalised hanafuda playing cards. Three years later thirty-year-old Fusajiro Yamauchi, the founder of Nintendo opened his first shop selling producing hand-made hanafuda playing cards. The original building that housed Nintendo is now only a parking lot. Nintendo proudly promote their story as one of a rags to riches. But the truth is somewhat less sanitised.