With global phenomenon like the Mario and Pokemon franchises under their belts, it’s easy to forget about Nintendo’s humble beginnings as a producer of traditional Japanese playing cards. This year the company goes back to their roots in their 2014 company brochure with beautiful artwork that celebrates both the old and the new.
Below is the hardcover book that Nintendo is distributing to students looking to work for their company. The contents are updated every year, and they’re always coming up with new ideas for it. This year it features vibrant full-page spreads of Nintendo’s iconic products from across the years, all strikingly worked in a bold and traditional art style. Judging by the Twitter comments it seems that there are people who apply every year just to get their hands on these annual brochures, and we can understand why: this one is so beautiful it looks like a collector’s item.
The art style used in this year’s edition mimics the traditional hanafuda style. Hanafuda are Japanese playing cards, which can be literally translated as ‘flower cards’, which feature stylized designs of Japan’s flora and fauna divided into 12 months with 4 cards per month.
▼ This Mario and Luigi illustration is a fusion of the newest iterations of the characters, with traditional card designs in the background.
And there’s a reason behind the hanafuda motif other than just looking really cool: many years ago, Nintendo actually began life as a playing card company! Nintendo was established in 1889 by Fusajiro Yamauchi as a company that made and sold hand-made hanafuda cards painted on mulberry tree bark. The whole brochure is an homage to Nintendo’s roots, showcasing their products from their modest beginnings back in the Showa period, up to the modern day where the company has become world-famous as a trailblazer in the entertainment arena.
▼ The brochure takes us through from old-school analog games to technological breakthroughs like their first video game consoles.
▼ Hanafuda are still sold today under Nintendo’s brand name! This is their most popular set, the ‘daitoryo‘.
As well as their traditional set, Nintendo has also released several character card sets that are sure to charm general card fans and Nintendo fans alike.
▼ Each card in this set features a character from the Mario franchise.
▼ And here we have Pokemon, headed of course by everyone’s favourite electric rodent Pikachu.
▼ These bright and bold designs feature adorable Pokemon hiding in amongst the plants you’d expect to find in a usual deck.
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