Rediscovering Nintendo’s First Steps into US Television Advertising

Rediscovering Nintendo’s First Steps into US Television Advertising

A pioneering TV commercial promoting a Nintendo system for the very first time in the United States has been unearthed by the Video Game History Foundation (VGHF). This significant piece of gaming history, a 16mm film reel, was discovered through the dedication of Chris Kohler, a venerable game historian who found it listed in an online auction.

The advertisement, dating back to 1980, showcases the Mego Time-Out—a handheld device birthed from a collaboration between Nintendo and the American toy company Mego. Emblazoned with the Mego logo and rebranded as “Time-Out,” Mego released four original Game & Watch titles in the US. These games included Toss-Up, Fireman Fireman, Flag Man, and Exterminator.

In the recovered commercial, viewers are introduced to Toss-Up, depicted as a compelling sports game capable of amusing athletes regardless of their injuries. This marketing strategy, aiming at portraying the Time-Out as an indispensable companion for youngsters on the move, echoes in Nintendo’s subsequent campaigns for consoles like the Wii, 3DS, and Switch.

This strategy wasn’t just a Nintendo hallmark; Sony also tapped into a similar approach when marketing its PlayStation Portable and Vita handhelds. The VGHF’s archiving of the commercial offers not only a portal into the past but also a glimpse into the roots of contemporary gaming advertisements. The public can step back in time to experience the commercial and appreciate a slice of gaming advertising evolution.

While the article focuses on the discovery of Nintendo’s first steps into US television advertising through the Time-Out handheld game, several additional related facts may enhance the understanding of Nintendo’s early forays into the American market and the associated marketing strategies.

– Nintendo’s beginnings in electronic games can be traced back to the early 1970s when they began to produce simple electronic toys and light gun games.
– The partnership with Mego Corporation was part of Nintendo’s strategy to enter the American market without carrying the brand baggage they had in Japan as a playing card and toy company.
– The Game & Watch series, designed by Gunpei Yokoi, was Nintendo’s first venture into portability in video gaming, which would eventually culminate in their release of the Game Boy in 1989.
– The Game & Watch devices were groundbreaking for their use of LCD screens and digital watch technology to provide entertainment, a principle that would evolve into various gaming handheld devices.

Key Questions:
1. What was the response to the Mego Time-Out games when they were released?
2. How did the marketing strategies of Nintendo in the United States evolve from this initial TV advertisement?

– Early advertisements provided Nintendo with a basis for understanding and navigating the US market.
– These initial steps paved the way for Nintendo’s further success with the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) in the mid-1980s.

– The Mego-branded Time-Out games might not have had the strong brand identity Nintendo would later enjoy with its proprietary systems.

Related Links:
– For more information on the history of Nintendo, you can explore Nintendo’s official website.

The initial Time-Out advertisements were a learning curve for Nintendo, laying the groundwork for future marketing campaigns that would eventually contribute to Nintendo becoming a household name in the video gaming industry. The effectiveness of these early ads is hard to measure, but they form a fascinating piece of electronic gaming history. The controversy may arise from the rebranding and the impact it might have had on Nintendo’s brand recognition in the early days. However, with the success of the NES and subsequent consoles, any potential challenges were successfully navigated.