Back when 8-bit referred to the number of studs on a brick, not the resolution of Mario’s face.
Way, way back in the dim mists of time (OK, OK, the 1960s), Nintendo did indeed make its own Lego-style bricks, to go along with everything else — the playing cards, robot arms, and even the I-can’t-write-a-retro-article-about-Nintendo-without-mentioning-Love-Hotels-Love-Hotels.
In any case, if you’ve got any interest in Nintendo’s pre-Mario history, the excellent Before Mario blog covers just about everything the big N did before video games, including the N&B Block series, which covered everything from rocket ships to this nifty looking coaster.
Just be warned: I lost several hours on the blog over the weekend. Time well spent in my estimation, but this stuff is just fascinating… if you’re me. Nintendo got out of the brick game in the early 70s… and I’d be willing to bet that was when Lego’s lawyers came a-chasing. Strictly speaking, this isn’t Lego — that’s a trademark — simply a building block system designed to be built into multiple forms. Covering towns. And Space. But not yet Mario.
Nintendo made lots of these sets, but prices for them aren’t exactly cheap… expect to pay the usual Retro premium plus a bit if you’re keen.
Source: Before Mario
Image: Before Mario