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That Time Nintendo Made Sexy Playing Cards Before Video Games (NSFW)

That Time Nintendo Made Sexy Playing Cards Before Video Games (NSFW)

sexy playing cards

Many Switch players are most likely unfamiliar that Nintendo has been around since 1889, and of course that means they were not always making video games. Nintendo Karuta, as they were formally known, produced and distributed hanafuda (Japanese: 花札), which is a traditional Japanese card game, and did so until the early 1900s when they began producing western playing cards as well. Although playing cards were the company’s starting point, we all know Nintendo rose to fame when they started producing video games in the 1970s. However, before Game & Watch and Super Mario, Nintendo even tried their hand in some adult products, and it may come as a surprise that Nintendo made some sexy playing cards at one point.

This is that time Nintendo made sexy playing cards before video games (NSFW).

WARNING: This article is absolutely not safe for public viewing, so if you are in a place that is against nudity, I would advise to not scroll down any further and come back at a more appropriate time.

sexy playing cards

In the early 1960s, Nintendo became a prominent creator in the playing card industry, and they even provided cards for major casinos in the United States and Italy. Their cards were of high quality and their reputation exceeded them. It is wild to think in this day and age that Nintendo got their start in making cards, but it may amaze some of you to learn that Nintendo still produces hanafuda cards to this day as a tribute to their history. They even make Mario-themed hanafuda cards for those that love a full-on history of the company both past and present.

When your major product is playing card production, you are bound to constantly think of new ways to excite your fanbase and continue to get your name out there, and that means creating cards that step a little outside the bounds of normalcy and more into the lines of uniqueness.

In the late 1960s and throughout the 1970s, pin-ups rose to fame, and card companies also began created pin-up playing cards. Nintendo was no different, and just a few years before they began working in electronics, Nintendo released numerous pin-up themed playing cards sets that showed nude models of the time.

Now again, I have to warn you, the following pictures will be showing some naked women on playing cards, so if you are not in a safe place to view them, I would advise once again closing this tab and revisiting us at a more appropriate time.

Are you ready? Remember, these were produced by Nintendo, the family-friendly company that has brought you joy through the Super Mario series, Kirby, The Legend of Zelda, Metroid, Donkey Kong, and many more.

The tricky thing with this particular deck is that there is no release date or production date on it, so pinpointing exactly when these sexy playing cards were released is up to design and the models used. It is assumed that this pin-up Nintendo playing cards deck was released in 1972, because Nintendo also produced the Miracle Trump playing cards in 1972 with the same type of diagonal box opening.

Nintendo also produced other pin-up playing cards for companies looking for fun promotional items. Suntory, a multi-national brewing and distilling company, thought that it would be a great idea to promote some of their drinks to the adult male audience by providing a set of pin-up playing cards to go along with them.

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Although Japan had its own nude pin-up models during this time, the west had significantly more and were seen as a forbidden fruit of sorts in the Japanese market. This is why a lot of the pin-up models used in Japanese cards feature western pin-up models.

sexy playing cards

You may have also noticed that the nudity is used sparingly. In Japanese culture, it is a bit taboo to have fully exposed nudity on products, so often times you see the use of blur, known in Japanese as mosaic, even in nude magazines and porn videos to this day. This is why in the playing cards, the box is exposing more than the cards themselves, because the box is only meant to store and is not used in actual play. Since people were most likely to play with the cards, that is why they are censored with the mosaic blur and not the box itself.

Of course this was short-lived, as Nintendo moved into the electronic gaming business in 1973 as they began working on The Laser Clay Shooting system, which was a light-gun shooting game that served as the precursor to 1984’s Duck Hunt. Once they began working on toys and electronic goods, their moral stance and values moved more towards family friendly, and this meant no more sexy playing cards.

But for a short period of time, Nintendo did dive into some naughty products, but that is not necessarily where it ends. In later That Times, we will discuss a couple more scenarios were Nintendo got involved in some sketchy stuff that would be frowned upon by today’s standards, but for now, just know that the creators of Super Mario were involved in a lot of business opportunities between 1889 and 1973. That is 84 years of history to dive into and learn more about!


Thank you for stopping by Nintendo Link and enjoying this “That Time” article. What do you think of Nintendo making sexy playing cards? Are you surprised? Not at all? Let us know what you think in the comments below! Happy gaming, everyone.

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