Licensing Blasts From the Past: Nintendo

Illustration for article titled Licensing Blasts From the Past: Nintendo

I've really been enjoying the posts over at the Stephen M. Cabrinety Collection blog, even though it has one of the worst titles I've ever seen. Up recently was a look back at some of the licensed goods in the collection, including this box of the 'Nintendo Cereal System.' And yes, they tried some of the 20 year old cereal before gutting the box to save it for posterity. Eric Kaltman mentions some of the challenges that come along with attempting to preserve these bits of game culture:

Working through the collections provides some rather weird challenges to the discipline of library science. An entire segment of the collection is devoted to items termed as realia, basically commercial products tied to video game concepts or characters. They don't fit on shelves very well, and the exact means of how to preserve these detritus of commercial culture are fraught with an internal debate about their validity to humanity. I think everything should be remembered or recorded fastidiously, but then again I get a thrill out of looking at old Nintendo marketing crud, and I work in a library. That said, these items make my inner child awaken anew and crave some tasty morsels of the past.

I hope we can expect to see more of this sort of stuff — it's fun seeing what librarians at Stanford have decided to add to the collection. Though I would be curious to learn the acquisition backstory — was the cereal just hanging out in someone's personal collection? Two decade old overstock at Ralston Purina? Errant Nintendo Licensing: Parties, Cereal, and School [How They Got Game]

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That was good stuff. It kind of makes you wonder why they don't pimp out Mario anymore like they used to. I just bought a little box of candy for 3 bucks because it came in a Mario Super Mushroom tin. There's still a market for the stuff.

I think a lot of great things, like the cartoons and merch and such, came from Nintendo of America having more control over how Nintendo was marketed to North America. Nowadays the Japanese mothership has to OK everything, and companies pursue "global" rather than local strategies.

Which is how we end up with crap like the Pokemon cartoons.