Nintendo Entertainment Shop franchise in 1990's Japan

This was originally going to be a ‘post cool auction finds’ thread where we share cool things that we might see on Yahoo Auctions, Surugaya, Mandarake, eBay etc…but it turns out what I did find has enough historical significance for a different sort of thread:


image source

It’s an old kanban (signboard) adorned with the earliest Nintendo logo (the one used up until the 1950s) on its upper half. Despite the classic logo it’s got little to do with Nintendo the playing card company - these signs were actually used in franchise of stores that began operation in Japan starting in the early 90’s: the Nintendo Entertainment Shop「任天堂エンターテイメントショップ」.

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Simply put, it appears Nintendo used constraints on software supply as a carrot to convince retailers to join their franchise and adopt Nintendo’s own approved store operation. Retailers that joined as Nintendo Entertainment Shop franchisees would thereby receive preferential treatment on the supply of major new releases at the time. This TV feature from 1991, also below even went as far as claiming that nearby stores would be buying copies of games from the franchisee stores to sell on.

Perhaps today’s Nintendo eShop branding is a nod to this…

Presumably the franchise programme collapsed after the mid-90’s following PlayStation’s stranglehold on third party software in the region.

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Amazing find! I wish stuff like this was still a thing. The couple Nintendo World stores now don’t count cause I haven’t been able to go to one lol. That wall of new Super Famicom games… makes me wish I was in Japan back then.

Back in 2005, the first time I visited Japan, in my wife’s hometown was a store she said was simply called “Famicom shop”. It was nothing like the one in the video, maybe only 5x5m big, with like an 80yr old standing behind the counter. They only had Nintendo stuff but I’ll have to check with my wife if she recognizes that logo or if we took any photos to say if it was part of this group. Probably not considering the year. Alas that store was closed and replaced with a Panasonic service center (which is still there lol) the next time we visited :frowning: I wish it was there now every time I ride past!

Sorry to hear that old Famicom shop shut - when I was last in Japan I was gutted to find a Famicom shop had shuttered after spending a couple of hours travelling to get there.

It’d be really cool if you could find out whether the shuttered store used to be a franchisee!

On a related note, with news on upcoming releases being so plentiful online, and digital being a big chunk of releases, today’s brick and mortar stores just aren’t quite the same - even your Geos and Sofmaps in Japan.

But I must say whenever I did visit an independently run Famicom shop in Japan, or the retro game section of a chain like Mandarake, Mangasouko or Hard-Off, it really did bring back the old memories of window shopping for games, back when magazines were a limited means of information. So good. Makes me sad to think ‘Famicom shops’ are a declining business.

Great.

Now I need to find some item related to this to buy for the collection :joy:

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My wife has even less recollection of it than I do pretty much. But she thinks it was called Famicom Shop Mario… who knows! Unfortunately we don’t have any photos at all from around town either … just from trips to various temples and castles!