Follow TV Tropes


Creator / Nintendo

Go To

"My name is Reggie. I'm about kicking ass, I'm about taking names, and we're about making games."
Reggie Fils-Aimé, then-Executive VP of Sales and Marketing of Nintendo of America, E3 2004

Nintendo is one of the most successful and widely known video game companies in the world. After starting in Japan, it was brought to international prominence with the Nintendo Entertainment System in the mid 1980s. It is best known as the creator of a number of popular video game franchises, such as Super Mario Bros., The Legend of Zelda, and Pokémon.

It didn't become a video game company until the late 1970s. In fact, the Kyoto-based company has been around for a while - a really long while. Nintendo dates to September 23, 1889, when founder Fusajiro Yamauchi created a company to manufacture popular-at-the-time playing cards called hanafuda. Aided by consistent business from the yakuza of the time, the venture was successful enough to create sufficient demand, and Nintendo had modest expansion through much of the 20th century. Nintendo continues to manufacture hanafuda — together with playing cards, Shōgi, and go — to this day.


Under the leadership of a young Hiroshi Yamauchi (Fusajiro's grandson) after World War II, the company looked to expand its business model to everything from a taxi service to a chain of Love Hotels to instant foods. Most of these junctures failed and their hanafuda sales would plummet after the 1964 Olympics. Near-bankrupt, the company reached out to one of its workers, Gunpei Yokoi, noted among coworkers for his penchant for inventing devices on the side, for product ideas. Yokoi brought in a few of his inventions, and Nintendo had a few modest hits in these ideas: the Ultra Hand, the Love Tester, and the Ultra Machine, among others. Bolstered by these successes, Yamauchi decided that Nintendo would become an entertainment and games company.

Tinkering around with solar cells and transistors led Yokoi and another engineer to create a series of basic light gun games — shooting a bottle in the right spot would cause it to pop apart, a toy lion would roar, and so on. Moving these into abandoned bowling alleys gave Nintendo their Laser Clay Ranges, where players would insert some coins and shoot at electronic targets installed at the ends of lanes. Though initially successful, the 1973 oil crisis sunk demand for the Ranges, and Nintendo was forced to go another route.


During the 1970s, basic video games like Pong and the Magnavox Odyssey were becoming popular. Nintendo got into the video game business by helping to develop the Odyssey's light gun attachment, which led to them becoming the Odyssey's Japanese distributor. Nintendo soon created their Color TV Game line of consoles, complete with cheesy plastic overlays. In addition, Nintendo moved into the arcade with EVR Race and other small titles, where they found some success. However, it wouldn't be until the 1980s that Nintendo would begin taking the world by storm. In 1980, born from observing a fellow train commuter passing the time by idly playing with a calculator, Yokoi designed the handheld Game & Watch series of devices. In 1981, an arcade game designed by a young artist named Shigeru Miyamoto, starring a portly red-clad carpenter and a large hairy ape helped a newly established Nintendo of America (led by Yamauchi's son-in-law Minoru Arakawa) gain a hold in the Western gaming market, giving them the necessary capital and support to make more games.

That said, Nintendo still had an eye on the home market and knew that simple Pong clones were not enough. Yamauchi wanted to create a more powerful gaming system; one that was so much better than the competitors that it would not even be a choice as to which the consumer wanted. With this in mind, Nintendo eventually released the Family Computer in Japan. The Famicom, after only a few years on the shelves, gained a lock on 90% of the Japanese home video game market; a trick that they wanted to repeat overseas. However, thanks to the The Great Video Game Crash of 1983, the home video game market in North America was deader than dead.note  Despite this, Nintendo figured the Japanese and US markets couldn't be that different, and felt they could still have a shot if they packaged it correctly and avoided all the mistakes that Atari made.

First, marketing and design made the system look more like a consumer electronics product and less the Famicom's obviously playful appearance. Second, a strict contract limited licensees to only releasing a set number of games per year, avoiding the flood of low-quality games that drowned Atari and the like, and it gave Nintendo full oversight to restricting content like sex, excessive violence, and profanitynote . Third, a high-profile marketing campaign and a vocabulary change (Game pak vs cartridge, control deck vs console, etc) gave the Nintendo Entertainment System enough of a foothold to grow. The company's bet that the markets weren't that different paid off - games like Super Mario Bros., The Legend of Zelda, and Metroid were smash hits. Though some cried foul at Nintendo's dominating and aggressive tactics, none can claim that they failed: within two years, Nintendo had single-handedly revived the dead-in-the-water North American home video game industry.

Of course, Nintendo didn't only find success in the home market. Even when Nintendo found themselves losing a bit of their lead in that space to Sega in 1990s, or finding themselves second place to Sony in the early 2000s, or even being a distant third in the early 2010s, Nintendo has an indisputable iron-grip on the dedicated handheld gaming market that it had from day one. Following the Game & Watch was the Game Boy in 1989, one of the most successful pieces of gaming hardware of all-time, thanks in part to the bundle-packaging of Tetris, and in part to the media phenomenon that Pokémon, whose games were originally released in the system, would become. The Game Boy was succeeded by the Game Boy Color and the Game Boy Advance before being phased out in favor the the Nintendo DS line, which surpassed the Game Boy to become the second-best selling piece of gaming hardware of all-time, after the PlayStation 2. Even the Nintendo 3DS, released in the midst of mobile games taking over the portable gaming market, still managed to hold its own to be a solid success all the way until its discontinuation in 2020.

Nintendo is currently the only one of the big three players in the current console wars to have video games and consoles comprise the majority of its business, while Microsoft and Sony are enormous titans in other industries. Chances are high you've used a computer running Microsoft Windows and/or using Microsoft-created software. And even if its strength in consumer technology has weakened since the 2000s, you probably own at least one piece of tech from Sony, and you've definitely watched a film or two made by the company. While you'd think this would be some cause for concern, Nintendo is never hurting for cash, having a tremendous bank account saved up for "rainy days". Indeed, there has rarely been a generation when Nintendo has not made a profit from day one, whereas competitors generally require years before hardware and software begin to make money. More than that, since Nintendo has such strong power as a company and as a brand, a good part of their success lies in transforming games into franchises (see Pokémon for a good example of how Nintendo parleyed a game into everything from stores to movies). Suffice to say, while the stakes are higher for Nintendo, it's in the business of video games because it wants to be despite easily being able to branching out into a more general media company.

At the end of the day, the company is known for a few things. Their tendency to experiment with their hardware, with game controller mainstays such as rumble, shoulder buttons, and analog sticks being either pioneered or popularized by Nintendo, and its decision to go with motion controllers for the Wii (combined with the touch screen gaming of the Nintendo DS) helping to introduce a whole new collection of gamers to the hobby. And regardless of how they place in the Console Wars — ranging from unquestionably first (NES and Wii) to barely first (SNES) to only beating out a dying Sega console (N64 and GameCube) to actually being a dying console (Wii U) — and despite Nintendo's own flaws, all of Nintendo's consoles are beloved, and every one of them has a group of standout games that represent the best of their generation, if not the best of all time. Which leads to fans and non-fans being aware of the mantra "never count Nintendo out": no matter how weird or bizarre their ideas, no matter how badly they might stumble, Nintendo will never be out of the game and they will carve out some sort of victory. After all, your company doesn't last 130 years by pure luck. Finally, most importantly, making high-quality games that are simply fun — they're often brightly colored, chipper in tone, incredibly well designed, and a blast to play with friends. Other companies devote themselves to rich story telling, intense FPS games, or year after year of sports titles, but Nintendo is known for bringing out the ten-year-old kid in everyone. In that regard, while not everyone has Nintendo as their favorite company, it's hard to find anyone that actively and genuinely dislikes Nintendo.

2015 was a notable year for Nintendo for three reasons: First, they announced a partnership with Universal that resulted in the planned creation of Super Nintendo World, a themed-park section one of Universal's many parks. Second, Nintendo's beloved fourth president Satoru Iwata passed away in June, a loss felt by the entire industry. Third, Nintendo moved into the mobile market, starting out with Miitomo and eventually creating a whole slew of them based on their popular IPs, including Fire Emblem Heroes, Super Mario Run, Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp, and most notably Pokémon GO.

Currently, Nintendo is skillfully riding the Nintendo Switch wave, which had an overwhelmingly successful launch, outselling the Wii U's lifetimes sales in under a year and becoming the fastest-selling console ever in the US. A steady stream of strong first-party releases and a large amount of third-party and indie support have turned the Switch into a hell of a comeback for Nintendo, giving the company the momentum it needed after the dismal performance of prior console. As for the handheld side of things, Nintendo gracefully exited that field with the 3DS's discontinuation in late 2020, shifting focus entirely to the hybrid approach that the Switch offers.

In May 2016, Nintendo revealed that they were reconsidering their stance on movie adaptations and are now planning on producing animated movies based on their franchises. What's more, they intend to (whether fully or partly) finance and produce the movies themselves rather than license them to other studios (similar to the pre-Disney structure of Marvel Studios), presumably to avoid situations like the disastrous live-action Super Mario Bros. film. So far, these plans have culminated in an agreement with Illumination Entertainment (of Despicable Me fame), an animation unit of Universal Studios, for an animated movie based off the Mario franchise, as of November 2017.

As a fun side note, they also majority-owned the Seattle Mariners, a US baseball team, from 1992 to 2016 — with the original purchase being rather controversial at the time. They ended up selling a majority of their ownership in 2016, though they still hold a (much smaller) stake in the team. Oh, and for the record? The Official (or "Original", in Europe) Nintendo Seal of Quality? That just meant the game wasn't going to destroy your system if you play it, not that the game was actually good.

Those looking for a more detailed history of Nintendo, ranging from its rather humble card-making beginnings up to the start of the N64 era, can find it in the book Game Over: Press Start To Continue by David Sheff and Andy Eddy.

    open/close all folders 

    Home Consoles 
  • 1977-1983 - Color TV Game: The Golden Age of Video Games. A series of Japan-only Plug N Play Game consoles and Nintendo's first attempt at the home video game market. Being some of the many Pong clones of the time, the releases consisted of the Color TV-Game 6 and 15, Block Breaker, and Racing 112, which collectively managed to be the best-selling consoles released during the era.
  • 1983-2003 - Nintendo Entertainment System: Third generation. Known as the Family Computer in Japan, Nintendo's first official console served as the birthplace of several venerable franchises that are still around today, most notably the Super Mario Bros. and The Legend of Zelda franchises. It is also credited with spurring the recovery of the US gaming industry after the crash of 1983.
    • 1986-1990 - Famicom Disk System: A Japan-only add-on that ran games on floppy disks, allowing for better sound and memory capabilities than cartridges, though with the trade-off of Loads and Loads of Loading and greater risk of piracy. Several notable titles were originally released on the FDS before being ported to cartridges, such as The Legend of Zelda, Metroid, Kid Icarus, and Castlevania.
  • 1990-2003 - Super Nintendo Entertainment System: Fourth generation. Known as the Super Famicom in Japan, the 16-bit successor that also became the best-selling console of its generation, though by a much smaller margin than the NES had accomplished. The technology of its cartridges (by way of the Super FX chip) allowed for basic 3D graphics without the need for add-ons, unlike its competition.
    • 1994 - Super Game Boy: An SNES cartridge containing Game Boy hardware, allowing games for the handheld (and Game Boy-compatible Game Boy Color games) to be played on a television. Games developed with the SGB in mind featured custom color palettes and borders, with some (most notably Kirby's Dream Land 2) featuring exclusive sound effects that took advantage of the SNES's hardware.
    • 1995-2000 - Satellaview: A Japan-only add-on for the Super Famicom best known for players to download and stream SoundLink games through satellite radio during specific timeslots, backed by live-streamed audio that sometimes featured voice-acting. These included both unique titles and variants of existing SNES games like The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past.
    • SNES CD-ROM: A scrapped CD-ROM add-on for the SNES made in collaboration with Sony that ultimately led to the development of the PlayStation line of video game consoles... as well as the ill-fated Philips CD-i. Nintendo and Sony had ordered all 200 of the prototypes destroyed, but a surviving machine was discovered in 2015 and restored to working order two years later.
  • 1996-2002 - Nintendo 64: Fifth generation. While less successful than its predecessors thanks to sticking with the cartridge format over CDs, it played a key role in the industry's 3D shift by introducing analog sticks and force feedback on first-party controllers. Some of its first-party games, such as The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time and Super Mario 64, continue to be seen as the most influential in the industry.
    • 1999-2001 - 64DD: A failed Japan-only add-on that played games on magnetic disks, which were more powerful and cheaper than cartridges, but still paled in comparison to CDs. Many titles proposed for the 64DD found themselves either cancelled or shifted to standard N64 cartridges, with the main exception being Mother 3, which was released for the Game Boy Advance after a troubled production.
  • 2001-2007 - Nintendo GameCube: Sixth generation. Nintendo's first system to use optical discs, albeit a mini-DVD format rather than the standard 8", with this and a lack of meaningful online functionality hurting the system's third-party support. Known for being host to new, more experimental franchises such as Pikmin and Animal Crossing, as well as a number of collaborations with companies like Namco and Capcom.
    • 2003-2007 - Game Boy Player: An add-on that allowed games from the Game Boy line to be played on a TV, with the additional requirement of a start-up disc. Unlike the Super Game Boy, it did not play original Game Boy games in color and was limited to a single set of interchangeable borders regardless of what game was inserted. Was the last official add-on made for a Nintendo home console.
  • 2006-2013 - Wii: Seventh generation. Foregoing the power race in favor of motion controls, the system became Nintendo's most successful home console, attracting a large casual gaming audience with its intuitive controls. The system allowed the playing of legacy software from Nintendo (and other companies) via the Virtual Console, and early versions also featured native GameCube backwards compatibility.
  • 2012-2017 - Wii U: Eighth generation. Nintendo's first HD console and second-biggest hardware failure. The system's central feature was the touchscreen GamePad controller that could stream gameplay footage, allowing for "Off-TV Play" and second screen gameplay. It was backwards compatible with Wii games and controllers, and its Virtual Console included Game Boy Advance and Nintendo DS games.
  • 2017-present - Nintendo Switch: Nintendo's second attempt at an eighth generation home console. Denoted as a "hybrid" console, the system serves a a successor to both the Wii U and Nintendo 3DS by being a touchscreen tablet with detachable controllers that can be placed in a docking station for television usage or utilized on its own, allowing one to easily swap between home and portable console form factors.

    Portable Consoles 
  • 1980-1991 - Game & Watch: A popular series of handheld games that predated the Nintendo Entertainment System. Designed by janitor Gunpei Yokoi, they used pre-made LCDs based on those found in calculators to reduce development costs. The Game & Watch port of Donkey Kong is notable for featuring the debut of the D-Pad, a cross-shaped directional controller that has been present on every Nintendo system since then.
  • 1989-2003 - Game Boy: Nintendo's first handheld console with interchangeable cartridges. Despite being less powerful than its competitors, its superior battery life, Nintendo's hold on third parties at the time, and a little game known as Tetris led to widespread popularity. Pokémon Red and Blue would revitalize the system later in its life, with the Pokémon franchise becoming the Killer App for all future Nintendo handhelds.
  • 1995-1996 - Virtual Boy: A portable console with a headset form factor that displayed games in stereoscopic 3D, using a red-and-black color palette due to the commercial & technical practicality of red LEDs compared to other colors. The system is notable for being a prototype that was rushed to market, becoming both a critical and commercial failure; to this day, it still remains as Nintendo's least successful system.
  • 1998-2003 - Game Boy Color: A successor to the Game Boy, with full-color displays and slightly more power. Not only was it backwards-compatible with the Game Boy library, but the original Game Boy was also forwards-compatible with around a third of the Game Boy Color library; such games used the same plastic shell as Game Boy titles, while GBC-only cartridges used transparent plastic shells.
  • 2001-2010 - Game Boy Advance: Roughly equivalent to the SNES in graphical power, this was the last 2D-gaming dedicated device created by Nintendo. Backwards-compatible with all Game Boy and Game Boy color games, it received a clamshell form factor redesign known as the Game Boy Advance SP two years after the GBA's debut that featured a backlight.
  • 2001 - Pokémon mini: Released briefly in 2001, the Pokémon mini was the only game system ever created that focused on just one franchise, that being the popular Pokémon series. The system boasted only about a dozen games, but it did feature a fair number of features that the GBA, Nintendo DS, and even Nintendo 3DS would lack, such as force feedback and on-board vibration.
  • 2004-2014 - Nintendo DS: The most successful console ever created by Nintendo, the DS line were the first mainstream gaming devices to utilize a touchscreen. Similar to the N64 in power, the DS and DS Lite were backwards-compatible with the GBA. A more powerful, upgraded version called the DSi released in 2008 and featured a built-in camera and downloadable games, though removed GBA support.
  • 2011-2020 - Nintendo 3DS: On par with the GameCube in terms of graphical power, its major selling-point was glasses-free stereoscopic 3D. Had backwards compatibility with the Nintendo DS, and featured a Virtual Console for legacy handheld games. Later gained two variants in the budget-priced 2DS (which lacked stereoscopic 3D) and the more powerful New Nintendo 3DS (with more controls and amiibo support).

Also see:

  • amiibo: A line of NFC collectibles (namely figurines and trading cards) that can be used in multiple games to unlock minor bonuses, gameplay modes, and other features.
  • KCL Productions' Nintendo Commercials: A series of commercials that featured mascot-costumed versions of various Nintendo characters in hilarious situations.
  • Nintendo Direct: An irregularly-aired webcast series that announces and details upcoming video games coming to Nintendo systems, as well as events and other things concerning the company.
  • Nintendo Minute: A YouTube series hosted by Nintendo of America PR managers Krysta Yang and Kit Ellis that rotates between previews of upcoming Nintendo games, interviews, unboxings, and general gaming discussion.
  • Nintendo Power: A Nintendo-focused gaming magazine originally published in-house by Nintendo of America that circulated from 1988 to 2012. The magazine was revived in the form of a monthly podcast in December 2017.
    • Nintendo Power Promo Videos: A series of Direct-To-Video tapes offered to Nintendo Power subscribers detailing the latest information on upcoming Nintendo games. The series lasted from 1994 to 2000.
  • Nintendo Week: An infomercial show that had previews of Wii, Nintendo DS, Nintendo 3DS, and Virtual Console games. It ran from September 14, 2009 to March 29, 2012 on the Wii's Nintendo Channel service.
  • Play Nintendo Comics: A series of online promotional gag comics for new games that are posted on their children's website "Play Nintendo".
  • Nintendo People: People who are associated with the company.

    (Partial) list of Nintendo games 

Nintendo has developed/published the following titles:

Major Franchises

Other Games

Nintendo affiliate HAL Laboratory has developed/published the following titles:

Licensed games

    List of Nintendo subsidiaries and related companies 

Tropes associated with Nintendo:

  • Artist Disillusionment: Due to building Values Dissonance between young American gamers (who like action-packed, violent, and cinematic games) and Nintendo (who prefer simple games that are fun for the whole family) which ended up hurting sales of the Nintendo GameCube, Nintendo began to feel contempt for Western gamers toward the end of the GameCube era. The notoriously polarizing reception to The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker in particular (which was keenly felt at even the highest levels of Nintendo) didn't help matters. The success of the Nintendo DS and the Nintendo Wii helped them overcome this.
  • Ascended Meme:
    • Non-Specific Action Figure from the pre-E3 2012 video gets some recognition during E3 itself — one in the 3DS Software Showcase, and the last Nintendo E3 2012 video on YouTube.
    • Reggie's "My body is ready" quote has appeared in multiple games, including Super Mario Maker and Pokémon Sun and Moon.
    • Doug Bowser becoming the new head of Nintendo of America in 2019 naturally led to joke about how Mario's nemesis had taken over Nintendo. Nintendo joined in with this during their E3 2019 Direct where Bowser from Mario attempts to host the Direct, only for Doug Bowser to come up and tell him he's the wrong Bowser.
  • Badass Boast: Reggie's classic E3 2004 introduction speech:
    "My name is Reggie. I'm about kicking ass, I'm about taking names, and we're about making games."
  • Breakthrough Hit: Donkey Kong, which saved the then-fledgling Nintendo of America from bankruptcy and gave it a solid footing to build on.
  • Bowdlerise: Nintendo maintained a Censorship Bureau in the 1980's and early 1990's, which forbade among other things, violence, sexual content, religious and politiical imagery and references to death. This was their way of avoiding the ire of Moral Guardians (Atari had been powerless to prevent the release of notoriously controversial games like Custer's Revenge), but as videos games became Bloodier and Gorier later in the 1990's, Nintendo embraced the ESRB rating system and mostly dropped their old content policies.
  • The Bus Came Back: Done with a color, of all things. The Switch era saw a return of the use of red in Nintendo's branding, which they had stopped doing around the start of the Wii era.
  • Cash Cow Franchise: The games they publish (especially the Mario, The Legend of Zelda, and Pokémon series) as well as their systems. Nintendo itself is seen as a Cash Cow Company, and can be seen as having skill that rivals Disney in turning their IPs into money-making franchise machines.
  • Christmas Rushed: While Nintendo has played this trope straight a few times (most notablywith the Virtual Boy), in the more recent generations they've avoided this. Shigeru Miyamoto famously summed up Nintendo's policy.
    Shigeru Miyamoto: "We don't usually keep set release dates. A delayed game is eventually good, but a rushed game is forever bad."
  • Color Motif: Historically and currently, red. This contrasts them with both their former rival Sega and current rival Sony, who would often use blue in their branding (or orange, for Sega's Dreamcast era). They switched to grey and white in the Wii era and even added some blue with the Wii U, but later brought red back with a vengeance for the Nintendo Switch. With Xbox having a green theme and Sony sticking with blue, each of the current console manufactures is associated with one of the three additive colors.
  • Creator In-Joke: In the mid-80s, Nintendo R&D1 had an odd fixation with eggplants.
    • In Ice Climber, the player collects eggplants during the first bonus stage.
    • Wrecking Crew features bipedal eggplant enemies out to kill Mario.
    • In Kid Icarus, the protagonist can become transformed into a defenseless walking eggplant.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: Nintendo's early days as a hanafuda playing card company in 1889. They even tried branching out into numerous other ventures from the mid 1950's and on, such as a taxi service, a rice company, a love hotel chain, a TV network, and even being a toy manufacturer before they finally carved out their niche as a video game company. They haven't entirely forgotten their roots, as they still manufacture hanafuda cards.
  • End of an Age: Since the SNES, EAD has been in charge of developing most of the launch titles for each new Nintendo console. Thus, when they stop developing for a given console, it means the console is nearing the end of its life and its successor is imminent. Kirby and Fire Emblem games similarly tend to mark the end of a generation, as they are also more often than not Swan Songs for their respective consoles.
  • Excuse Plot: The company had its original heyday when this was the norm, but it's still applied it to certain franchises today, sometimes because of the Grandfather Clause, other times because it's found that having a plot is secondary to the quality of the main game. Miyamoto himself has gone on the record to say that sometimes a plot can be an obstruction to the quality of the gameplay, regardless of how good the plot itself is. That's not to say there aren't any exceptions.
  • Executive Meddling: Nintendo has had an up-and-down history with this. Originally Nintendo did this in the early days of the NES/Famicom to avoid having poor-quality games flood its first home console (Nintendo had to later drop this for legal reasons) and to make sure the games it publishes itself remain high in quality, even if it meant droughts at times for said games (which Nintendo still does to this day). Unfortunately, Nintendo has been hit hard by executive meddling by many third parties, leading to many third-party games either being hampered / badly ported, of poor quality, or not coming out on Nintendo's systems even when Nintendo makes a high-quality and capable system. It doesn't always help that Nintendo has made consoles that were vastly different from their main competitors in many respects, but especially in technological capability. This makes straight ports difficult, if not impossible, and their focus on unique control systems and gameplay features means that even ports that can be made relatively simply have their own challenges if they want to mesh well with the unique aspects. Sometimes Nintendo itself causes a lack of support for its platforms. In the case of the Virtual Console, Nintendo handles the majority of the service itself, which sometimes leads it to pass over games other players would love because Nintendo would rather focus on other classics from other platforms. This is why games like the SNES Pocky & Rocky games are unlikely to come to the Virtual Console service.
  • Extreme Omnivore: Just about every one of its franchises has at least one of these. Yoshi and Kirby are probably the stand-out examples though.
  • Family Business: Nintendo was originally founded as a hanafuda company by Fusajiro Yamauchi in 1889. When he retired in 1929, his son-in-law, Sekiryo Kaneda (who took the Yamauchi surname after marrying Fusajiro's daughter, Tei), took his place. After suffering a stroke twenty years later, Sekiryo named his grandson Hiroshi Yamauchi as his successor. Interestingly enough, Hiroshi's daughter, Yoko, would eventually marry Nintendo of America's founder and first president, Minoru Arakawa. Nintendo ended its run as a family business when Satoru Iwata succeeded Hiroshi in 2002.
  • Fandom Nod: Nintendo's digital event for E3 2014 contained a lot of references to their fanbase, mostly in the Robot Chicken sketches:
    • One Straw Fan in the audience complains about the abundance of Mario games, and the lack of Mother 3 and Star Fox. The latter series actually got a new game in 2016 and the first game in the former's series was released internationally in 2015, though Mother 3 itself stayed Japan-only even when the game's tenth anniversary rolled around.
    • The segment where Link complains about Toon Link being there is a reference to some fans having knee-jerk reactions whenever Toon Link appears.
    • And of course, Reggie's status as a Memetic Badass, when he sets the Straw Fan on fire with a Fire Flower and obliterates him with Eye Beams.
  • Fan Nickname:
    • Brazilians often refer to Nintendo as the Big N, probably thanks to their Nintendo World magazine. It isn't unheard of elsewhere either.
    • "Ninty" is also commonly used, sometimes in a derogatory fashion for when Nintendo does things people and fans disapprove of.
    • "The Big Three" is used to refer to Nintendo's main Cash Cow Franchises, Super Mario Bros., The Legend of Zelda and Pokémon. Although far less common, there are sometimes reference to a "Big Four", but whether the fourth is Kirby, Metroid or Super Smash Bros. depends on where you live, when you first got into Nintendo, and whether you consider SSB a franchise on its own or just a extension of Nintendo itself.
  • Fanwork Ban: As of 2016, Nintendo is not happy with Game Mods and fan games, having sent DMCA takedowns to over five hundred fan games on Game Jolt, and doing the same for Another Metroid 2 Remake almost as soon as it was released after eight years in development.
  • Giant Hands of Doom: The developers of this company seem to like this type of boss, especially Masahiro Sakurai.
  • Grandfather Clause: The Mario series in particular is prey to this. Though each game has pretty good gameplay evolution, the plots are often thin and usually just an excuse to get Peach kidnapped and Mario out adventuring. Other key franchises such as Zelda, Metroid, and even Star Fox have received much more character and plot intricacy.
    • Super Mario RPG plays with this: Peach is kidnapped, but shortly thereafter is rescued, and both she and Bowser permanently join the party to defeat the real Big Bad.
  • Heroic Mime: Most of its leads are this or have been this, with only occasional voices or even dialogue from them. Shigeru Miyamoto has famously explained that this practice allows the player to express themselves through the main character, although the degree of muteness varies from character to character - Mario, for example, can be very quiet in some games and downright chatty in others, while Link has famously hardly ever uttered a word other than the Dialogue Tree options the player can pick.
  • Hotter and Sexier: With the release of the Switch, Nintendo seems to want to shuck their reputation as a "kiddy" company. While their first party games continue to be largely family friendly fare, games that previously would not have been released on their console uncensored due to adult content and nudity, if they were released at all, have been greenlit for Switch releases totally untouched by the Big N. Standout examples include Gal*Gun 2, the 18+ only game Waifu Uncovered, and Dead or Alive Xtreme 3: Scarlet. Even some games that have been censored for the PlayStation 4, such as Omega Labyrinth Life, have been released uncensored on the Switch! Some of this even applies to recent games in Nintendo franchises, as games like Hyrule Warriors and Fire Emblem Fates have more Fanservice than would have been permitted before.
  • Iconic Logo: Red in the West and blue in Japan for much of the company's video game-making history, but it switched to gray internationally in 2006. Starting back in the Switch years (2017) they made the red logo as their primary one.
  • Insistent Terminology:
    • ROM cartridges were always called "game paks". The NES system itself was called a "control deck", not a console. The reason for this and other such terms was to have Nintendo distance itself from the failure of Atari, and thus attempt to avoid some of the stigma associated with home video games in North America. Clearly, something worked.
    • Nintendo prefers to call free-to-play games, including its own, "free-to-start", which they feel is more honest than implying the entire game is free when it isn't.
  • Joker Immunity: A staple among most of their flagship franchises is that most of the main villains have a pesky habit of not staying dead. Bowser, Ganon, and Ridley are the three most notorious, though they are far from the only ones.
  • Lost in Translation: The Nintendo Direct for E3 2019 had a gag involving a mixup between Bowser and Nintendo of America's new president at the time Doug Bowser. As a means to defy this trope, since the former goes by Koopa in Japan, the Japanese version of the direct added some tags to explain the joke.
  • Made of Indestructium:
    • ALL of their consolesnote  were/are nigh-indestructible, especially the GameBoy (which withstood a bombing during the Persian Gulf War and was still fully functional) and GameCube (which has been reported to still work after falling off buildings). The usual joke is that Nintendo products are made of Nintendium.
    • Wii Remotes are said to be coated in the stuff, as they smash TV screens and windows with little to no damage to themselves.
    • GizmoSlip drop-tested the Wii U controller onto concrete — repeatedly — and it suffered nothing worse than some scuffs on the corners, while the 6.2-inch touchscreen didn't even get marred.
    • This is apparantly enforced since according to the dev teams, one of the hardest parts about the development of the original DS was the durability requirement in which it had to survive so many drops from at least 6 feet in the air and remain functional.
  • Mascot: Mario, who is also considered to the mascot for video games in general.
  • Mascot with Attitude: While Nintendo has never made a game that was a straight example, their marketing in the mid-1990's attempted to advertise Donkey Kong, Wario and even Kirby as being these, partiuclarly in America.
  • Mercy Mode: Their patented Super Guide, which was made as an excuse to bring back Nintendo Hardness without alienating less skilled players.
  • Multi-Platform: Zig-zagged.
    • It was originally averted in the U.S. with the NES — for the first few years anyway. The developer contract stipulated that a game released for the NES could not be released for any other U.S. system. This had the effect of killing the Sega Master System in its infancy and sealing the Commodore 64's fate (in the States — both systems fared better in other countries). It took antitrust litigation to force Nintendo to loosen its stranglehold.
    • However, starting with the Nintendo 64 era, this trope ends up averted more often than not. Nintendo's first-party titles are never multiplatform, and developers in those generations tended to skip Nintendo's console with their releases for a variety of reasons — vastly differing power levels, smaller install base, lower sales, different media format, and a few more.
  • Multiple Demographic Appeal: They strive for this with all their hardware and software as a rule. Their big franchises are made to be welcoming to younger and less experienced gamers, while still offering plenty of fun and challenge to older and veteran gamers.
  • Mundane Made Awesome: They've made the internet go nuts over stuff that, out of context, seems pretty boring.
  • Never Say "Die": Nintendo enforced this with both first-party and third-party games in the days of their censorship code. This became less of an official policy in the years afterward, though certain first-party games and franchises still have a tendency to avoid directly using "kill", "die" or dead".
  • Nintendo Hard
  • No Export for You: Several examples in North America and Europe, but Nintendo began showing more and more aversion to this trope in the 2010s:
    • The Fire Emblem series was the largest example, but then Marth Debuted in "Smash Bros." and Fire Emblem Awakening was a smash hit, turning Fire Emblem into one of Nintendo's core franchises in the US.
    • Xenoblade Chronicles was also going to be subject to this, but fan interest actually pulled off its North American release, where it went on to sell more than it did in Europe and Japan.
    • And then there's the Mother series. While the series' second game (known in the west as Earthbound) was exported soon after its release, the original didn't land in North America and Europe until its appearance on the Wii U's Virtual Console in 2015, over 25 years after its Japanese debut. The third installment remains Japan-exclusive to this day, save for a Fan Translation.
    • Speaking of Wii U Virtual Console, that's been a source of contention for the fanbase, thanks to three different Nintendo branches: Japan's, North America's, and the PAL region's, with clearly different priorities between each branch over what titles get released. It's commonplace for certain games to be released in certain regions months before they see the light of day elsewhere, leading to much grumbling that some parts of the world got preferential treatment. Just one example: Super Mario Bros. 3 got released in Europe in December 2013, and didn't hit the North American eShop until four months later.
    • Some other VC games are even worse than the Super Mario Bros 3 case mentioned above, with Metroid: Zero Mission in particular being released in Europe in March 2015... and not being released on the American VC until the next year in January 2016.
    • Speaking of which, the eShop isn't available in a large part of Asia, severely blocking eShop exclusives from reaching most parts of the region as well as limiting access of games in the region to physical media. This is largely thought to be due to the way the branches are set up and the criss-crossing of device regions (for example, Asia is supposedly under the jurisdiction of Nintendo Japan. However many Asians want English devices due having little to no understanding of the Japanese language. While the local distributors have Nintendo of Japan's blessing to bring in US devices, the compromise means that Asia can't get the eShop).
    • The Legendary Starfy had four games released in Japan before the 5th game on the DS was exported to North America. Nintendo of America didn't release the other previous games in the United States because they deemed the games as too Japanese and because the franchise was supposedly always meant for a Japanese audience. Poor sales of the 5th game lead to the series being dead, although there are rumors of a 6th game being released eventually and it's highly unlikely that the other four games will ever leave Japan.
    • The Nintendo Switch has so far been the biggest aversion of this trope in Nintendo's history, with almost all if not all of their first-party titles seeing localization and release outside of Japan. Even the Switch remakes of the Famicom Detective Club games are seeing the franchise's first Western release.
  • No Hugging, No Kissing: Usually a side effect of the aforementioned Excuse Plots, but plot-heavier titles also have a surprising tendency to avoid portraying romance. Even Nintendo's two most prominent "romantic" couples, Mario/Peach and Link/Zelda, are typically shown to be so hands-off that they can be easily be interpreted as platonic. The one series that most thoroughly averts this trope is Fire Emblem, where certain installments let you not only build relationships between two characters and eventually get them married so that they give each other stat buffs in combat, but also control their kids later in the game.
  • Our Lawyers Advised This Trope: Many of Nintendo's own games will have notices before and during a game. Mostly, from the Wii onwards they involve safety notices like making sure the Wii Remote is strapped properly or advice like taking a break after a playing certain amount of time.
  • Platform Game: Codified this genre. While Nintendo has many many successful games, series, and franchises spread over a variety of genres, some of the most loved and well-received series and franchises are of this genre as well.
  • Rule of Fun: The foundation of game design at the company.
  • Running Gag: Ever since the Nintendo Switch Conference in 2017, Bowser has made appearances in official Nintendo announcements, first with the Parental Controls video starring him and Bowser Jr, then in the Nintendo Switch Online reveal with the rest of the Mario cast, and finally, in the E3 2019 Direct when introducing Doug Bowser, Reggie Fils-Aime's replacement, and the lampshading of the aversion of the One Bowser Limit.
  • Self-Deprecation: Their E3 2014 digital media event contained a number of short sketches by the Robot Chicken crew which poked fun at themselves and their characters.
  • Shaped Like Itself: Beginning around 2018, promotional material from Nintendo refer to their products as the specific type of product that they are (i.e. calling the Nintendo Switch "the Nintendo Switch system" and calling Super Smash Bros. Ultimate "the Super Smash Bros. Ultimate game")—just in case people forgot what Nintendo makes. Note that this only applies with systems and games created and published by Nintendo themselves—third-party games are only referred to by their title, rather than being specifically called "the [X] game".
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism: Many of its franchises gravitate heavily towards the idealistic end of the scale. Even darker franchises such as Metroid still tend to have an optimistic tone.
  • Story-to-Gameplay Ratio:
  • Super Title 64 Advance: It's strongly associated with this trend, doing it with its own games and sometimes letting third-party developers do it when releasing on its consoles.
  • Surprise Creepy: It has a reputation for making sweet, family-friendly games... and thus a lot of the weirder and scarier elements of games it develops or publishes tend to blindside people. Kirby games in particular are infamous for this, due to them being in the Lightest and Softest of Sugar Bowl settings yet still having Eldritch Abominations as the Final Bosses most of the time. Especially notable with Kirby's Dream Land 3, which utilizes a cute watercolor painting-esque style for its visuals and featuring one of the most horrifying final bosses in the franchise's history (which some fans affectionately nickname "Blood Angel")
  • Uncredited Role: A number of the earliest NES games attributed to Nintendo were actually programmed by Satoru Iwata and developed by HAL Laboratory, uncredited. Examples include Balloon Fight, Mach Rider and Golf (which was at one time hidden in the Nintendo Switch firmware as a tribute to the recently-departed Iwata).
  • Version-Exclusive Content: It's becoming increasingly common for multiplatform games to receive Nintendo-themed additions when released on their platforms, be they purely cosmetic (like additional costumes or easter eggs) or even additional characters and facets of gameplay.
  • Viral Marketing: Nintendo's approach to marketing in hopes fans will be the ones to spread the word about the latest and upcoming products for Nintendo's systems. Unfortunately many see this as Network Decay since Nintendo no longer markets heavily to the mainstream, unlike back in the NES and SNES eras. This lack of mainstream advertising often leads to the result of new franchises commercially failing even if they are critically acclaimed. This does seem to be changing with the release of the Nintendo Switch, however, with TV adverts appearing often and targeting a broader amount of the mainstream gaming market.
  • Voice Grunting: Most of its major characters have a voice even if they don't speak full lines of dialogue. Some of them also have short phrases they often use (Mario: It's-a me, Let's-a go).
  • What Could Have Been:
    • Nintendo was approached by Atari to bring the Famicom to the United States, and were in the early stages of negotiation for the rights, but The Great Video Game Crash of 1983 put a end to those plans. It also came to light that Atari didn't really have the money to buy the Famicom rights, and had just hoped to tie up Nintendo with some red tape for a while. The presidents of Nintendo in America and Japan were devastated, thinking potential millions had vanished because of the crash. Fortunately, Nintendo decided to bring it over themselves in a few years anyway, and the rest is history.
    • The first programming job HAL Laboratory and Satoru Iwata did for Nintendo, a port of Joust, was intended to fufill a stipulation of the aforementioned Atari deal, but HAL would publish the port themselves without Nintendo when the deal fell through.
    • The PlayStation was originally a Nintendo co-project with Sony, but tension rose up over how the platform would be controlled by whom and the money distribution and so Nintendo backed out of the deal at the last minute. Sony decided to take their toys and go home, releasing the PlayStation on their own.
  • The Wiki Rule: The Nintendo Wiki and Nintendo Wiki


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Nintendo Co Ltd


Wii Would Like To Play

In North America, ad company Leo Burnett created a series of award-winning commercials for the Nintendo Wii featuring two Japanese businessmen traveling the United States and asking people to play Wii games with them using the now-iconic "Wii Would Like To Play" tagline. This particular ad promotes Super Smash Bros. Brawl.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (4 votes)

Example of:

Main / Slogans

Media sources: