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Nintendo of America’s History

1980 Nintendo of America Inc. established as a wholly owned subsidiary of Nintendo Co., Ltd., in New York.
1981 Distribution of the coin-operated video game Donkey Kong began. It quickly became the best-selling individual coin-operated machine in the business in the U.S.
1982 Nintendo of America Inc. relocated its headquarters from New York to Redmond, Washington.
1984 Interactive coin-operated video game VS. System launched with two screens.
1985 The Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) launched in North America (Family Computer was launched in 1983 in Japan). The system included R.O.B. – Robotic Operating Buddy – and the games Duck Hunt and Super Mario Bros.
1986 Nintendo of America Inc. launched its Game Play Counselors service, allowing players from all over the U.S. to call the company for gameplay advice.
1987 The NES became the #1 selling toy in North America, and The Legend of Zelda became the first NES video game to exceed sales of 1 million units.
1988 Nintendo of America Inc. published the first issue of Nintendo Power magazine in July.
 
Nintendo launched the Hands Free Controller, a special NES accessory for people with physical limitations that allowed NES games to be played by capturing motion from the player’s head to indicate directional movement, as well as breathing in and out through a straw for the A and B buttons.
 
The game library for the NES expanded to 65 titles.
1989 Game Boy, the first portable, handheld game system with interchangeable Game Paks, and Zelda II – The Adventure of Link for NES, sequel to the top-selling game The Legend of Zelda, both launched in the U.S.
1991 Super Nintendo Entertainment System (Super NES), bundled with Super Mario World, arrived in the U.S.
 
Nintendo introduced World Class Service Center locations across the U.S.
1992 The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past for Super NES, The Super NES Super Scope and the Super NES Mouse (bundled with Mario Paint for Super NES) were released.
 
Nintendo of America Inc. developed Fun Centers – special hospital-compatible gaming units containing Nintendo game systems – to assist the Starlight Foundation by allowing hospitalized children to enjoy video games during hospital stays. The Fun Centers are routinely updated with new Nintendo products and have been in continuous operation since.
1993 Nintendo announced the Super FX chip, a coprocessor for Super NES game cartridges. The first game using the Super FX Chip, Star Fox for Super NES, arrived in April 1993.
1994 The Super Game Boy accessory expanded the library of games that can be played on Super NES.
 
Bounty hunter Samus Aran returned in Super Metroid for Super NES.
 
Nintendo helped pioneer the development and implementation of the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB), and industrywide rating system.
 
Donkey Kong Country for Super NES launched, sporting special Advanced Computer Modeling (ACM) graphics.
 
Nintendo Gateway, a specialized version of the Super NES, launched on commercial flights and in a select number of hotels.
1995 Donkey Kong Land arrived, bringing ACM graphics to the Game Boy.
 
Nintendo released Game Boy systems with multicolored cases through its “Play It Loud!” campaign.
 
ACM graphics made another appearance on Super NES with the release of arcade game Killer Instinct.
 
Nintendo introduced a stereoscopic 3D game system called Virtual Boy.
 
Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island for Super NES launched.
 
Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest for Super NES arrived with upgraded ACM graphics.
1996 In early September, Nintendo introduced Game Boy Pocket, an approximately 30% smaller version of the original Game Boy.
 
The Nintendo 64 system launched in North America on Sept. 29.
 
Nintendo 64 launch title Super Mario 64 became the first Super Mario series game to feature full 3D gameplay.
 
Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong's Double Trouble for Super NES was released.
1998 Nintendo introduced the Game Boy Color system along with Game Boy Camera and Printer accessories.
 
Pokémon Red and Pokémon Blue for Game Boy, the very first Pokémon games, arrived in North America.
 
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time for Nintendo 64 launched, breaking all-time pre-sell records.
1999 The Pokémon franchise expanded with the release of Pokémon PinballPokémon Yellow Version and the first Pokémon title for the Nintendo 64 system, Pokémon Snap.
 
Nintendo 64 titles Mario GolfSuper Smash Bros.Donkey Kong 64Mario Party, Star Wars: Episode I: Racer and Perfect Dark are released.
 
At E3, Nintendo announced plans for a game system that would use an IBM PowerPC microprocessor and Matsushita's optical disk technology.
2000 Game Boy topped 110 million units sold worldwide, and, by 2000, accounts for 47% of all U.S. game hardware system sales (an all-time high for a portable device).
 
Pokémon Stadium became the top-selling console game, followed by The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask, both for Nintendo 64.
 
Pokémon Gold Version and Pokémon Silver Version for Game Boy Color made their U.S. debut in October, becoming the fastest-selling games of all time by selling a combined 1.4 million copies in one week, and 6 million through December.
2001 The Game Boy Advance system debuted in the U.S. on June 11 and sold 1 million units in six weeks.
 
The Nintendo GameCube home video game console launched in the U.S. on Nov. 18, breaking previous U.S. sales records and becoming the fastest-selling next-generation video game system.
2002 Nintendo published several new Nintendo GameCube titles, including Super Mario SunshineMario Party 4Animal Crossing and Metroid Prime.
2003 Nintendo launched the Game Boy Advance SP with a flip-top design and rechargeable battery.
 
The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker for Nintendo GameCube arrived.
 
The Nintendo GameCube Game Boy Player accessory allowed players to enjoy Game Boy and Game Boy Advance games on their TVs.
2004 Nintendo launched Nintendo DS, a dual-screen handheld video game system with touch-screen controls, wireless multiplayer and backward compatibility with Game Boy Advance games.
 
Pokémon FireRed Version and Pokémon LeafGreen Version arrived for the Game Boy Advance.
 
Metroid Prime 2: Echoes for Nintendo GameCube launched.
2005 Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection arrived as a free wireless service enabling Nintendo DS owners to play with others around the world. Two months after launching, nearly half a million players made over 10 million connections.
 
Nintendo of America Inc. transitioned its phone-based Game Play Counselors service to offering support on its websites, through publications and on its prerecorded Power Line phone support system.
2006 In June, the Nintendo DS Lite system launched at less than two-thirds the size of the original Nintendo DS and over approximately 20% lighter.
 
New Super Mario Bros. and Brain Age: Train Your Brain in Minutes a Day! for Nintendo DS arrived.
 
In November, Nintendo’s new Wii system launched bundled with Wii Sports and motion-sensitive Wii Remote and Nunchuk controllers.
2007 Metroid Prime 3: Corruption for Wii launched in August, followed by Super Mario Galaxy for Wii in November.
 
The Wii Zapper accessory launched with Link’s Crossbow Training.
 
The Nintendo Fan Network let Seattle Mariners fans receive baseball-related content wirelessly on their Nintendo DS systems at Safeco Field.
 
In partnership with Nintendo, SEGA released Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games for Wii.
2008 Nintendo received an Emmy Award for excellence in engineering creativity for the motion-sensitive Wii Remote controller and dual-screen/touch-screen controls of Nintendo DS.
 
Mario Kart Wii launched with the Wii Wheel accessory, while Wii Fit and the Wii Balance Board accessory encouraged players to combine fun and fitness.
 
The WiiWare downloadable game service debuted.
 
Customer loyalty program Club Nintendo launched in North America.
2009 In April, Nintendo DSi introduced customers to a portable revision of the Nintendo DS system with two cameras and wireless access to downloadable games through the Nintendo DSi Shop.
 
Wii Sports Resort launched and came bundled with the new Wii MotionPlus accessory, which offered enhanced accuracy.
 
Wii Fit Plus arrived with new activities for active play.
 
New Super Mario Bros. Wii launched as the first New Super Mario Bros. series game on the Wii.
2010 Nintendo DSi XL launched with dual screen approximately 93% larger than those on Nintendo DS Lite.
 
Nintendo published Wii games Super Mario Galaxy 2Metroid: Other M and Donkey Kong Country Returns.
2011 On March 27, Nintendo launched the Nintendo 3DS system in the U.S., which allows users to view 3D content without the use of special glasses.
2012 On Aug. 19, the Nintendo 3DS XL system launched in the U.S., featuring approximately 90% larger screens and longer battery life.
2013 On Oct. 12, the Nintendo 2DS system arrived, offering the same features as the Nintendo 3DS system minus the latter’s stereoscopic 3D option.
2014 On Nov. 21, Nintendo launched its amiibo interactive figures that can wirelessly communicate with specially designed games when tapped on the Wii U GamePad controller.
 
amiibo compatible games for Wii U launched over the course of the year, including Mario Kart 8 (May 30), Hyrule Warriors (Aug. 13), Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker and Super Smash Bros. for Wii U (Nov. 21).
 
Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS (Oct. 3) arrived and is also compatible with amiibo.
2015 The New Nintendo 3DS XL system launched in North America on Feb. 13, offering a wider range of controls, including a C Stick and ZL/ZR buttons, super-stable 3D via face-tracking technology and built-in NFC functionality that allows for communication with amiibo figures.
 
Splatoon launched for Wii U in May, introducing the world to the squid-kids known as Inklings.
 
Additional Wii U games released, including Yoshi’s Woolly World, Xenoblade Chronicles X and Super Mario Maker – the latter allows players to design their own Super Mario game courses for the first time.
2016 The NES Classic Edition system arrived in November, a miniaturized version of the NES that includes a classic NES controller and 30 pre-installed NES games.

On March 17, Miitomo, a social interaction app using Mii characters and Nintendo’s first smart device application, launched in Japan. Miitomo later launched in the U.S. on March 31.

Nintendo launched several Wii U games, including The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD, Paper Mario: Color Splash and Star Fox Zero.
 
Nintendo 3DS arrivals included Kirby: Planet Robobot, Pokémon Sun and Pokémon Moon.
2017 On March 3, Nintendo debuted the Nintendo Switch system, a home video game console that lets people play their favorite games anytime, anywhere and with anyone…
 
Nintendo Switch games launched over the course of the year included The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Super Mario Odyssey, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe and Splatoon 2.

The Super NES Classic Edition system launched in September, a miniaturized version of the Super NES that includes 20 classic Super NES games, plus the debut of the never-before-released Star Fox 2.
2018 Super Smash Bros. Ultimate and Super Mario Party for Nintendo Switch were released.
 
Nintendo debuted Nintendo Labo, a new line of interactive build-and-play experiences for the Nintendo Switch system.

On Sept. 18, the Nintendo Switch Online service debuted on Nintendo Switch. The paid service enhances games on Nintendo Switch with features like online play and cloud saves in compatible games, as well as a collection of classic games.
2019 The Nintendo Switch Lite system launched on Sept. 20. Designed for portable play, the compact system plays Nintendo Switch games that are compatible with handheld mode.

Luigi’s Mansion 3 and Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield are released.
 
Nintendo debuted Ring Fit Adventure, an adventure game which includes the Ring-Con and Leg Strap that respond to a player’s real-world movements, turning them into in-game actions.
2020 Animal Crossing: New Horizons launched on Nintendo Switch, bringing the series to Nintendo Switch for the first time. In the game, players escape to a deserted island to create their own personal island paradise.

Super Mario Bros. for NES celebrated its 35th anniversary in 2020. To celebrate the occasion, many Super Mario related products were released, including Super Mario 3D All-Stars, Super Mario Bros. 35, Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit and the Game & Watch: Super Mario Bros. system.
2021 On Oct. 8, Nintendo Switch – OLED Model launched, sporting a vibrant 7-inch OLED screen, a wide adjustable stand, a dock with a wired LAN port, 64GB of internal storage and enhanced audio.
 
On Oct. 8, Metroid Dread launched for Nintendo Switch, becoming the fifth game in the five-part 2D Metroid saga, which began with the original Metroid for NES.
 
Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack launched on Oct. 25, introducing a new Nintendo Switch Online membership plan with expanded benefits, including access to a collection of classic games for Nintendo 64 and SEGA Genesis games, as well as Animal Crossing: New Horizons – Happy Home Paradise on Nov. 5.