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Nintendo

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Nintendo's signature red logo used from 1975 to 2006.

Nintendo is a Japanese company which develops and manufactures its own line of video games and consoles. They have created many popular series such as the long-running and highly successful Mario franchise, and formerly owned a high percentage of Rare Ltd. before they were sold to Microsoft. Under Nintendo, Rare Ltd. developed many titles for their consoles, including Banjo-Kazooie and Banjo-Tooie for the Nintendo 64. Even after being bought, however, Rare Ltd. still produced a few games for Nintendo's handheld devices such as Banjo-Kazooie: Grunty's Revenge and Banjo-Pilot for the Game Boy Advance which were published by THQ.

History[edit]

Nintendo was founded in 1889 primarily to develop and distribute playing cards. Their biggest success was in Hanafuda cards, which Nintendo still produces to this day. Around the mid 1950's, Nintendo changed course and distanced themselves from the playing card industry, with the reason why often theorized to the rise in illegal gambling. Nintendo would spend the next several decades trying (and mostly failing) at many other industry. From 1963 to 1968 alone, Nintendo founded and discontinued a taxi company, a love hotel chain, a TV network, a food company, and the Chiritory vacuum cleaner. Nintendo would eventuall settle into and find a footing in the toy industry. While in debt and struggling to stay afloat with many forgettable products, there were some success stories like the Ultra Hand and the start of a long relationship with the Walt Disney Company. Nintendo would officially enter the video game industry in 1973 with arcade game Laser Clay Shooting System. While having modest success in the arcades, Nintendo would make more of a splash in the home market with the Color TV Game and Game & Watch lines of consoles. There true break came in 1981 where Nintendo tasked Shigeru Miyamoto with creating a game to use the unsold copies of Radar Scope in their warehouses. That game would become Donkey Kong, which would change the course of gaming history and put Nintendo on the map.

Nintendo would shake the industry again a few years later with the launch of the Famicom, named Nintendo Entertainment System in other regions. This is also the time where there relationship with Rare Ltd. would begin. Tim and Chris Stamper of Ultimate Play the Game presented to Nintendo how the reverse egineered the NES hardware, something Nintendo claimed was impossible to do, and showed the tech demos the made from thier discoveries. Impressed with what they were shown, Nintendo granted Rare unlimited budget on whatever titles they wanted to make. A string of successful NES titles came from this partnership, including R.C. Pro-Am, Snake Rattle 'n' Roll, and Battletoads.

After the launch of the Super Nintendo Entertainment System, Rare showed Nintendo a boxing game tech demo made using high end SGI computers. Nintendo was so impressed that they bought a 49% stake in Rare, making them a second party company. developer. Nintendo would entrust Rare with making several Donkey Kong titles, including the Donkey Kong Country series on Super Nintendo and the Donkey Kong Land series on Gameboy. During the life of the Nintendo 64, Rare would continue to work on the Donkey Kong franchise with Diddy Kong Racing and Donkey Kong 64. They would also develop the Banjo-Kazooie series, which took inspiration from Nintendo's own Super Mario 64. Other title Rare developed during this era include Blast Corps, Goldeneye 007, Jet Force Gemini, Perfect Dark, and Conker's Bad Fur Day. Several other titles for Nintendo 64 and the upcoming GameCube were in various stages of development, but were canceled because Rare was in talks to being bought out in full, as Nintendo refused to buy them for some reason. Nintendo requested Rare to turn the previously canceled Dinosaur Planet into a Star Fox game for GameCube. This project eventually became Star Fox Adventures, Which released on September 23, 2002. One day later, Rare was fully purchased by Microsoft. Nintendo would still collaborate with Rare after this with the two Banjo-Kazooie games for Gameboy Advance and Diddy Kong Racing DS. Nintendo would also credit Rare for their indirect contributions to future projects like the Super Smash Bros. and Mario Kart series.

After Nintendo and Rare split, Nintendo would continue to develop hardware and software, such as the Nintendo DS, Wii, 3DS, WiiU, and Switch. While these were a mixed bag in terms of reception, it never changed the fact that Nintendo is a big and important part of not just the history of video games, but history in general. This is most apparent in their Super Smash Bros. series of crossover fighting games, where icons of gaming come together to fight it out. In 2019, Banjo & Kazooie officially joined those gaming icons as a DLC fighter, making the first time both had appeared on a Nintendo console in 14 years.