1889 - 1980: From playing cards to Game & Watch
[Note: If you're thinking of purchasing this book, read this post first.]
This book is absolutely fantastic. It describes, in detail, the origins and company history (including products, prices, etc.) from its origins all the way through the introduction of the Game & Watch (1980). And unlike a lot of books that attempt to cover these topics, it's not full of personal reminiscence, an author's subjective opinion, or other fluff. It's cold, hard, factual information. The authors, Florent Gorges and Isao Yamazaki, do a brilliant job of writing this book exactly the right way.
You will not find a more exhaustive account of Nintendo's history anywhere, save talking to the authors in person. The amount of dedication and effort put behind this book is extraordinary. And some of this information had to be so incredibly difficult to verify, let alone discover in the first place. I cannot recommend it enough. You will not find anything better. Period.
The book is separated into eight major sections:
- History of the Company (General Overview)
- Playing Cards
- Games and Toys
- Board Games
- Electronic Toys
- Other Products
- Arcade Games
- The First Game Consoles
The overview section is great, because when you usually search for the beginnings of the company, you typically get a blanket statement like, "Nintendo started as a playing cards company before moving into games. Now here's the Famicom." This book has actual in-depth information about the actual beginning of the company (i.e. people, places, events, etc.). It wouldn't be a stretch to say that Gorges and Yamazaki know just as much about the history of the company as the company itself. They could probably even give them a run for their money.
The publisher of this book is Pix'n Love Publishing. However, I would avoid buying directly from them like the plague. Here's why.