Before Mario

Before Mario

Nintendo made a big breakthrough in the west with its Game & Watch pocket games and the NES game console in the 80s. Westerners may have felt like it appeared out of thin air, but by that time it had already been known in Japan for over 90 years as a manufacturer of card games and toys. An especially productive and innovative period between 1965 and 1983 made Nintendo what it is today, and many of Nintendo’s software and hardware designers who would later turn out to be very influential launched their careers at the company during this period.

In the ‘Before Mario’ exhibition at the Retro Game Experience, we will show a large sample of all the games and toys produced by Nintendo for the Japanese market in the 60s, 70s and 80s of the last century. There is a special focus on the creations of Gunpei Yokoi (1941-1997) Nintendo’s master designer, who was responsible for the Game & Watch and the Game Boy. All of his games will be featured, including the Ultra Hand, the Ultra Machine and the Love Tester, which would be Nintendo’s first big hits.

This exhibition, curated in collaboration with collector Erik Voskuil, provides a unique opportunity to get to know more about Nintendo’s early history, a period which is relatively unknown outside Japan.Erik’s collection of Nintendo toys from the period between 1965 and 1983 is one of the largest of its kind in the world.

Made possible in part by: Erik Voskuil - Before Mario