If we can glean anything from Nintendo's 124-year history, it's a willingness to experiment. The company, which originally sold playing cards, has at various points owned a taxi company, TV network, and even a love hotel chain. It wasn't until 1966, after over 75 years in business, that Nintendo released its first toy. The Ultra Hand was designed by Gunpei Yokoi, who would go on to make both the Game & Watch and Game Boy systems.
The Videogame History Museum is a traveling exhibit that tours the various gaming shows that happen throughout the year — including E3, PAX, and DICE. At this year's GDC, the museum set up a display showing the very weird and diverse world of Nintendo from 1966 onward — from Las Vegas casino tie-ins to multiple 3D headgears (hello Virtual Boy) to yes, most famous of all, the Power Glove.
Photography by Sean Hollister
- Nintendo's first big toy. Designed by Gunpei Yokoi, who would go on to make Game & Watch and Game Boy.
- Known as "Ultra Machine" in Japan and "Slugger Mate" elsewhere, this toy from 1967 was another from Gunpei Yokoi.
- Nintendo sold a number of different-sized Roulette wheels. The larger version was sold at the Las Vegas Casino Circus Circus.
- The other board game on display? Donkey Kong: "Can you battle Donkey Kong and save the fair maiden?"
- Game 6, Game 15, Racing 112 (pictured), and Block Breaker were all dedicated consoles part of Nintendo's Japan-only Color TV-Game series.
- Star of the 1989 film The Wizard. It won zero Academy Awards.
- As the name suggests, this is what a local Authorized Service Center would use to test your broken console.
- Puts the speed at your fingertips!
- A wireless receiver that allowed you to plug four controllers into a receiver and reportedly play from up to 15 feet away from the console.
- The Famicom 3D System arrived in 1987. Only seven games were released that are compatible with the system.
- One of Nintendo's biggest commercial failures. The last official title to be released for the Virtual Boy was 3D Tetris in March 22, 1996 — less than one year after the system launched.