Founded in 1889, Nintendo was around long before the advent of video games. The company originally made playing cards in Kyoto, Japan, and it expanded to the U.S. in the 1950s. On the verge of going out of business throughout the middle of the 20th century, Nintendo finally found its niche in the early '70s when it moved into the arcade game industry. The company's innovations included the invention of the first handheld video game as well as coming up with the directional pad design that's been used by almost every modern video game manufacturer.
Nintendo launched first NES in 1985 and released the Game Boy in 1989. Both systems sparked revolutions for gaming, at home and on the go. The company's popularity also grew with the help of some of its original games such as Super Mario Bros. and Donkey Kong. The original NES gave way to the Super Nintendo, followed by the Nintendo 64. The company also continued making changes to its portable gaming products with the release of the Game Boy Color and the Nintendo DS. Though it seemed as though Nintendo was on its way out after the relative failure of its GameCube system, the 2006 introduction of the Wii brought the company back to prominence. Using revolutionary motion detection technology, the Wii has continued to thrive and spawned a successor, the Wii U, in 2012. Nintendo also continued to perfect its handheld games and released the Nintendo 3DS (which features a three-dimensional effect without requiring gamers to wear glasses) in 2011.
Today, Nintendo mainly makes new games for the Wii U as well as the Nintendo 3DS and 2DS (a similar handheld system without the autosteroscopic 3D screen). A low-cost version of the original Wii is also still available under the name Wii Mini. The Wii U combines high-quality graphics on your TV screen with a GamePad that gives you a second screen to look further into the video game world. Equipped with a camera, microphone, touch screen, and more, the Wii U GamePad extends what you can do in your games beyond the abilities of the regular Wii Remote. The Wii systems have always been first and foremost about family gaming, so many of the most popular titles are appropriate for all ages. You can play the latest Super Mario and Mario Kart games as well as The Legend of Zelda, Pikmin, Bit.Trip, and Skylanders. The Pokemon series of games has always been exclusively available for Nintendo and continues to be popular on the Nintendo 3DS. Other hit games for the 3DS include entries in the Mario and Zelda sagas as well as Donkey Kong, Fire Emblem, and Resident Evil.
Nintendo has been a staple of video gaming dating back to when many of today's parents were kids themselves. The company's evolution has introduced all sorts of new technology in terms of game graphics as well as the way games are played. For many years, Nintendo had a strict policy limiting the amount of sexuality and violence found in its games. The policy made it the most family-friendly game manufacturer, but it also made the company lose out on business. Today, the range of games released for the Wii and DS systems include some titles that are only appropriate for mature audiences, so it's up to parents to police what games kids are allowed to play. Luckily, the manufacturer still makes some of the best family titles as well, which is why Nintendo is often the best-appreciated brand in households with a range of ages. We give Nintendo 4.5 stars out of 5.