Nintendo Nostalgia: Selling Nothing New, Just Your Childhood


When it comes to throwbacks, only the Japanese gaming company Nintendo will be able to sell nostalgia for 1.56 million dollars in the form of its 1996 Super Mario 64. The Power of nostalgia is something not to be underestimated. Recently a copy of Super Mario 64 sold for 1.56 million dollars at a Dallas auction beating a previous Legend of Zelda game, which sold for 870,000. The game itself is not worth close to a million dollars, however, sometimes nostalgia is priceless.

Nintendo is one of those companies that everyone knows, it is synonymous with Heinz Ketchup or Netflix & Chill. After all, there is a lot of love for a company that essentially started the video gaming industry. Originally known for its early arcade games, it has evolved into a mainstream multibillion-dollar industry, where people can’t help but throw their money at Nintendo’s wallet.

Nintendo Entertainment System (NES)

Nintendo’s nostalgic decision to re-sell its 1996 console, the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), seemed like a bizarre one. For 60 bucks, users can relive the retro days with a classic NES console with 30 classic games. Aside from its sharper graphics, there is nothing new about it. But why would they do this when they barely were making a profit back in 2016. One word. Money! Nintendo is essentially selling people nostalgia with an updated marketing strategy, and it’s working!

To this day, they are still making sequels of everyone’s favorite recognizable figures and popular franchises such as Mario Kart, Super Smash Bros, Pokemon, Zelda, Fox, Donkey Kong games, and many more classics. Nintendo has 5 of the top 10 best-selling video games of all time, such as Mario Kart 8, Pokemon Red/ Blue/ Green/ Yellow, Tetris, and Wii Sports. 

Super Smash Bros

There have already been 5 Super Smash Bros sequels starting with the 1999 Super Smash Bros and its fifth installment Super Smash BrosUltimate in 2018. This Japanese video game series does well by taking nostalgia characters from individual series and combining them all into one crossover multi-platform game. You can be Mario, Zelda, Link, Samus, Donkey Kong, and many more classic Nintendo characters from just playing this single game. It is a great marketing strategy for those obsessed with Super Mario (1985), Nintendo’s second-highest selling game of all time with 40 million copies, right behind Wii sports.

Nintendo Switch

Nintendo knows how to market nostalgia, the Switch is the fastest-selling game console in America because of it. Nintendo Switch sales show they have doubled their competitors; Sonys’ PS4 and Microsofts’ Xbox One. The reason for their success has to do with its branding and marketing. When Nintendo released the Switch, they advertised the old gen games like Zelda and Mario, but it also made it something new with its portable/ stationary capabilities. The gamer can choose where they want to play if they want to play it like an Xbox or Playstation they stay at home. But if they want to play it like a Gameboy they can switch it up on the go.

Mama Mia, Mario!

Super Mario Bros is the oldest and highest-selling Nintendo game, ranking number 4th best selling of all time. Today there are more than 200 Mario games in the franchise. Mario is primarily a video game franchise but has expanded into comic books, television series, a 1993 feature film, Super Mario Bros and even theme parks.

Super Nintendo World

Universal Studios’ 2015 partnership with Nintendo allowed them to construct a pure Mario-nostalgia-thriven themed area at the Universal Parks in Japan, Osaka, Universal Studios Hollywood, and Universal Orlando Resort. Although there were Covid delays, recently construction was finished in Osaka, Japan, its grand opening to the public on March 18, 2021. The American-themed areas are estimated to be completed by 2025.

In Osaka, Japanese Nintendo developer and Mario creator, Shigeru Miyamoto, was heavily involved in the park’s design and construction. At the park, you get a Mario-themed wristband that connects you as a character. You can collect coins, find your way through underground mazes, face obstacles, and go through green warp pipes. By completing three activities, you get the chance to battle Bowser Jr.


Overall, nostalgia is a worthy commodity in the market these days. We love to identify with something familiar and have a good experience. Nostalgia can evoke strong feelings within us like happiness, loyalty, and reminiscing of the old days. It is not something that happens at the moment. It takes years for it to be carefully cultivated and grow into a cultural icon.


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