Introducing Disney Magic to Card Games
Intent on pursuing a law degree at Waseda University, a young Hiroshi Yamauchi dropped out to take the reins of his grandfather’s playing card company in 1949. Before developing gaming hardware and software, Nintendo originally manufactured playing cards called Hanafuda, but Japan’s draconian laws on gambling made distribution problematic. Yamauchi circumvented this in 1959 when he brokered a deal with the Walt Disney Company to produce plastic Western-style playing cards featuring Mickey and his pals. Geared toward families, the Disney cards proved profitable and led to Nintendo’s status as a publicly traded company.