Nintendo is one of the oldest and most beloved companies around. Seriously, after 120 years and counting, there are more than 200 Mario games alone and dozens of consoles and handhelds. But did you know that the original Mario and friends celebrated their victories with a bottle of bubbly? Here are 13 things you probably didn't know about (nearly) everyone’s favorite video game company.
3. Bushes and clouds are literally the same thing in Super Mario Bros.
The limits of game memory back then led to many, many shortcuts in early Nintendo games. For instance, the distinctive puffy clouds in the original Super Mario Bros are the exact same thing as those little green bushes on the ground. It's not just the bushes and the clouds though; multi-use objects are all over the original Mario universe.
5. Game Boy was invented by a janitor.
Okay, so that’s a slight overstatement, but it's not far off. Gunpei Yokoi
was working maintenance on the assembly line in a Nintendo factory when company president Hiroshi Yamauchi came around. Yamauchi noticed a toy that Yokoi had built in his spare time. That toy became the Ultra Hand, a best seller for the company, and Yokoi moved from the assembly line to the design suite. Yokoi then turned a boring old calculator into Game & Watch, another huge best seller, and then created the Game Boy: the crown jewel of handheld gaming devices.
7. Nintendo really thought about making a phone.
Instead of an iPhone or Android, you could have had a, um, Donkey Kong Mobile in your pocket
. The idea was a Game Boy merged with a smartphone, which is basically every phone on the market these days. With Nintendo announcing a renewed mobile gaming strategy,
maybe a Nintendo phone isn't so far fetched anymore. The company has had its hands in a lot of different projects (they own the Seattle Mariners, for one thing) but a Nintendo phone would've been a game-changer.
10. Nintendo made a LEGO ripoff.
LEGO is as iconic as it gets, but Nintendo gave their own interlocking block system a try. It clearly didn't sour any feelings, as myriad LEGO games now exist on Nintendo systems. Bricks can't get in the way of good business.