Think Nintendo is going in a bit hard on Smash Ultimate leakers? We're just glad it's happening now and not when they had heavy ties to the Yakuza

From playing cards to love hotels, Nintendo has a stranger history than you might think

Posted by John 'Velociraptor' Guerrero • December 3, 2018 at 6:16 p.m. PST

The fighting game community is excitedly awaiting the release of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate on December 7th... at least those of us that didn't get our hands on the leaked copy of the game that has been making its way to jail-broken Nintendo Switch consoles.

At least one copy of the latest Smash title found its way into public hands a good two weeks too early, and Nintendo has been on a damage control mission to minimize leaks and spoilers that has already resulted in the total shutting down of multiple YouTube channels.

No doubt this move by the titanic gaming company was also made as a statement to those that might try to leak content in the future, but we have heard opinions from some that think this kind of action is a bit on the harsh side.

After a few casual weekend conversations on the morality of the matter, I was reminded that in Nintendo's early days it had direct ties to the Yakuza. Had something like leak happened during those times, we'd likely be seeing a bit more than the mere removal of YouTube channels.

The company's production of video games actually didn't start until 1966, a full 77 years after its beginnings in 1889. Long before Mario was hopping Piranha Plants, Nintendo was seeing its first profits come from the playing card industry.

Things started with hanafuda playing cards, which were hand drawn on mulberry tree bark. Nintendo made a multitude of varieties of these ranging from traditional card decks to more suggestive adult image collections.

Though the company's main product was already immensely popular in the legitimate world, it would grow to even new heights once the Japanese mafia got involved.

The Yakuza owned many Japanese casinos and used hanafuda cards for their table games. Nintendo quickly became their main supplier, and exploded with even more success as a result.

Polygon actually released a video earlier this year with more information on Nintendo's history. It details the Yakuza times as well as various other endeavors the company went on before actually becoming the gaming entity we know and love today.

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