Nintendo turns 125: From Mario to Zelda - a trip down memory lane

Whether it’s Donkey Kong or Pokemon...everyone has their favourite

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The Independent Tech

The first time many held a console controller was to play a game made by Nintendo. Most of them are yet to put it down. For that reason, the company holds a special place in a lot of hearts.

Though it started out as a playing card company back in 1889, Nintendo first ventured into video games with the Magnavox Odyssey video game console in Japan in 1974. Three years later, student product developer Shigeru Miyamoto was hired, who later went on to work on some of the most influential games of all time.

In the seventies, Nintendo had stepped into the arcade industry, but it wasn’t until 1981 that Donkey Kong was released – and became an instant hit. It was also where we first saw Mario, then called Jumpman. Mario sure did like jumping, and that moustached plumber went on to become the most recognisable character in video games, appearing in over 200 of them. Mario is the best-selling video game franchise of all time.

Now known for their family friendly games, Nintendo launched the 'Family Computer' in 1983 in Japan, or Nintendo Entertainment System as we know it in the UK – and introduced Super Mario Bros. in 1985.

Several consoles later, including the hugely popular SNES, family favourite the N64 (which saw Mario go 3D) and the ground-breaking motion based Wii, and they've had a lot of gaming hits on to their name.

When Hiroshi Yamauchi, the third president of Nintendo who oversaw Super Mario, Legend of Zelda and Starfox, passed away in September last year the grief was obvious among fans. It’s unusual that a billionaire business figure-head triggers such warmth.

Many shared memories of unforgettable childhood gaming moments, and expressed gratitude to both Yamauchi and Nintendo for bringing such fun to their childhoods.

While no secret that Nintendo have been struggling on sales for the Wii U, following an impressive roster of reveals at E3 this year, fans are hopeful they can get back on top.

Whether it’s Mario, Zelda, Donkey Kong, Pokemon or Kirby...everyone has their favourite game and character. For this writer, it is undoubtedly The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past.

So happy birthday Nintendo, thanks for the memories.

Tell us your favourites in the comments below.

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