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From playing cards to plumbers: Key dates for Nintendo

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TOKYO - Nintendo launched its next-generation Switch games console Friday as the company behind Pokemon and Super Mario tries to score big in the 21st century.

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Here are some key dates in the history of a videogame giant that started life making playing cards:

1889: Founder Fusajiro Yamauchi starts manufacturing Japanese playing cards called "hanafuda" in Kyoto. Western style cards follow years later.

1962: Listed on the Osaka and Kyoto stock exchanges.

1977: Nintendo launches first home videogame machines known as TV Game 15 and TV Game 6.

1978-1981: Starts selling arcade game machines, opens a US division, and lands a gorilla-sized hit with Donkey Kong.

1983: Launches home videogame console Nintendo Entertainment System (NES).

1985: Starts selling Super Mario Bros. games for NES.

1989: Handheld Game Boy system goes on the market.

1996: Nintendo 64 game console hits shelves, with GameCube released several years later. Both fail to live up to success of NES.

2004: Starts selling handheld videogame system Nintendo DS.

2006: Company scores huge hit with Wii motion-sensor system which lets players jump, run and swing in the comfort of their livingrooms. Over 100 million sold worldwide.

2012: Follow up Wii U system launches but never matches the success of the first version.

2015: Visionary CEO Satoru Iwata dies at 55, raising questions about company's direction.

March, 2016: Releases first mobile game "Miitomo" -- a free-to-play and interactive game that allows users to create avatars.

July 2016: Nintendo brand mobile game app Pokemon Go is released by US-based Niantic, sparking a worldwide frenzy among users. Super Mario Run app is released in December to much fanfare.

2017: Nintendo unveils its hybrid Switch console, a tablet-like system for home or on the go.

Published : March 03, 2017

By : Agence France-Presse