A former Nintendo factory in Japan’s Kyoto province is slated to become the video game company’s first-ever museum, tentatively named the Nintendo Gallery.
Built in 1969, the Nintendo Uji Ogura Plant in Uji-city was used to produce hanafuda (Japanese playing cards) and at one point housed a customer-service center for product repairs.
But its future has been in question since 2016, after the opening of a newer facility.
The planned museum will showcase historical Nintendo products as well as exhibitions and experiences, to share its “product development history and philosophy with the public,” according to a statement.
The company was founded in 1889, originally to sell hanafuda. It released its first home video game system, the Color TV-Game, in 1977.
The famous Donkey Kong arcade game, which introduced Nintendo’s most popular character, Mario, came out in 1981.
The Nintendo Entertainment System home video game console and Super Mario Bros. game followed in 1985.
In the years since their release, some Nintendo products have become valuable collectibles that can fetch hundreds of thousands of dollars at auction.
The market for Pokémon cards in particular has surged in recent months, with a sealed first-edition box of booster packs from 1999 selling for $408,000 at Heritage Auctions in Dallas in January.
Three months later, Nintendo set a new record for a video game at auction with the $660,000 sale, also at Heritage, of a rare sealed copy of the original Super Mario Bros. game.
“I suppose we can’t be too shocked; who doesn’t love Mario?,” Heritage video games director Valarie McLeckie said of the auction’s success in statement.
“Finding another copy from this same production run in similar condition would be akin to looking for single drop of water in an ocean. Never say never, but there’s a good chance it can’t be done.”
Nintendo also has a new theme park at Universal Studios in Osaka, which began welcoming visitors this March with a Mario Kart-themed rollercoaster and other attractions.
The company is aiming to open the museum during its 2023 fiscal year, which ends in March 2024.
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