In an age long gone, there was this thing people weren’t really satisfied with called Club Nintendo. It had a few interesting rewards for Nintendo’s loyal fanbase, but more often than not gamers would merely sit on their coins with nothing worth spending them on. But one of those rewards was notorious for being perpetually out of stock, and those were the Nintendo themed Hanafuda playing cards. Those cards have resurfaced, albeit in a slightly different form, and they’re available for around $20 in the Nintendo store in New York in Rockefeller Center.
— Nintendo NY (@NintendoNYC) May 2, 2017
It’s no secret that before Nintendo became the video game company we know today, they started off producing Hanafuda cards. Hanafuda refers to the name of the cards rather than the game they are played with, since the cards are used in a variety of different games (Karuta being an example). In many games, completing a four-part image is a key goal rather than accumulating points, though points can be assigned. Hanafuda cards came about after the Japanese government banned gambling with foreign playing cards, leaving the gamblers to print their own. Eventually realizing there was no stopping people from playing card games, the government eventually lessened its grip on the hobby.
Although the cards are drastically hard to come by in the west, Nintendo of Japan still produces and distributes Hanafuda cards. This is mostly just in recognition of their company origins though, and while it’s unfortunate that we have such a hard time getting the cards, it’s understandable considering the western world never met Nintendo until they started producing video games. These Mario hanafuda cards currently aren’t being sold anywhere else regularly, but maybe, if the store in Rockefeller Center meets high demand, the big N might consider giving us more.
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