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Nintendo’s first US commercial might be this 1980 ad

Picture of a person with an arm in a sling playing the game while sitting at a table.
Got a broken arm? Just play Toss-Up! | Screenshot: YouTube

Nintendo is a gaming juggernaut today, but it wasn’t really on anyone’s radar in the United States in 1980. And what was possibly the first US commercial for hardware produced by the company — a handheld called Toss-Up, from its “Game & Watch” series — certainly didn’t help, as a newly-restored copy shows. That’s because there’s no mention of Nintendo at all, or even Game & Watch.

Game & Watch games were simplistic standalone handheld LCD games not unlike the cheap licensed Tiger Electronics games seemingly every kid had in the 1990s. And in the US, those games were initially licensed to a company called Mego (pronounced “mee-go”), and sold as a series called “Time-Out” instead, according to The Video Game History Foundation in a blog…

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