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Time for a Trump Card - Nintendo's Joker for Smash Bros. Ultimate

Pacack

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Welcome to the Support Thread for Nintendo's Joker

d04014j07.jpg

FAQ:

Who?

This Joker is the design featured on Nintendo's Western-styled "Trump" playing cards. In 1902, shortly following Nintendo's inception in 1889 as a hanafuda playing card company, Fusajiro Yamauchi (the founder of the company) began manufacturing the first ever Western-style playing cards in Japan. (Western playing cards were introduced to Japan by Portugese traders in 1549, but were banned in 1633 when Japan closed off all contact with the Western world.)

Originally intended for export, the Western cards proved popular domestically as well; so popular, in fact, that Nintendo became the dominant producer of Western playing cards for Japan. By 1951, Nintendo had changed its name officially to the Nintendo Playing Card Co. Ltd, and was selling several varieties of hanafuda, Portugese-inspired karuta (including komatsufuda, unsun karuta, kabufuda, harifuda, and hikifuda), uta-garuta, iroha karuta, and Western Nintendo All-Plastic cards. (Nintendo still sells these cards today.)



Nintendo's popularity in the playing card market was unmatched in Japan. They partnered with the likes of Disney in 1959, Popeye in the early 1960s, Snoopy in the 1980s, and several Japanese brands: Ultraman, Space Boy Soran, Obake no Qtarō, and Space Ace, to name a few. The sheer number of decks Nintendo produced is incredible; it likely numbers in the hundreds or thousands. Dozens of varieties of Nintendo All-Plastic were produced, but some quirkier cards also were made over time: Make-your-own Cards, Magic Cards, and several Pin-Up Girl decks that I'll refrain from linking to here.

Okay, but what does this have to do with Smash Bros.?
The previous three (four counting SSB3DS as a separate title) Super Smash Bros. games have included characters that personify a part of Nintendo's long-running history.

Mr. Game & Watch was inspired by the characters found in Nintendo's Game & Watch games, which became Nintendo's first major financial success (selling 43.4 million units) and first handheld, cementing their place in the video game industry.

R.O.B. was an accessory for the NES which was used to market the console as a novel toy to retailers and consumers in a market which had reservations about home video game consoles following the North American Video Game Crash of 1983. The inclusion of R.O.B. with the system convinced major retailers to sell the console, ultimately leading to the success of the NES and the revival of the entire Western video game industry. (Source)

Duck Hunt is a character which is a little less obvious about its historical ties. However, I would argue that the character represents not only the extremely well-selling Duck Hunt video game, but also the light gun as a whole. This included much earlier points in Nintendo's history, including the Beam Gun, Laser Clay Shooting System, Wild Gunman, and Duck Hunt products released in the 1970s. These products, while technically not "video games" are an early example of electro-mechanical games, which greatly contributed to the rise of the early arcade industry.

Nintendo was the predominant producer of light guns for the home in Japan at this time, and they had obtained a contract with Magnavox to produce the light gun peripheral for the first home video game console, the Magnavox Odyssey. Nintendo's involvement in the project gave them direct insight into the soon-to-be burgeoning home console market and to the North American video game market in particular, which likely influenced them to bundle a Light Gun (alongside R.O.B.) with the NES in North America. In fact, if it weren't for the Light Gun connecting them to Magnavox, Nintendo may have not decided to enter the home video game market at all.

If this trend continues, it makes perfect sense to include a character to represent the earliest parts of Nintendo's history. Nintendo has always been a card company, and the Joker is their trademark character in that industry. If Sakurai feels so inclined, I believe that the Joker would be a wonderful surprise character.

Smash Bros. is a fighting game, though. How would it fight?
Well, thankfully, there's no shortage of ways to make a card character interesting. My personal take on the character would utilize cards from each of the decks Nintendo has produced. Remember how I mentioned the plethora of card varieties they manufactured? Well, there's plenty to pull from in each of those decks to create a fun and interesting moveset. I'll probably work on a comprehensive moveset in the future.

Counterarguments
The Joker can't be included in Smash Bros. because he isn't a video game character.

This is a common argument, and a fair one. However, Historical Characters seem to be something of an exception from that rule. R.O.B. was an electronic toy created to interact with the NES, and as such is only related to video games. Mr. Game and Watch technically isn't a video game character either; he's from an electronic game, not a video game.

I understand, of course, that this is a bit further removed from video games than either of those examples. However, Smash Bros. is a celebration of Nintendo too. It makes perfect sense to include a character that pays homage to Nintendo's origins as a card maker.

Why this Joker? Aren't there other designs?
It is true that there's another Joker commonly seen in Nintendo's cards.


nintenodcards.jpg

This mermaid-like figure is found in some decks alongside the more jester-like Joker. However, it seems to have been a much later creation than the Joker was.

Joker_Playing_Cards.jpg

Note that this deck has a sticker on it. This sticker is noting the tax on paper goods that existed in the first half of the 20th century, and gives an indication of the age of the deck. The other Joker design was a more modern creation than the tradional Joker, which is also still used in decks today. If a Joker is chosen for Smash Bros., it will be this one.

Resources:
Series Icon:
Nintendo Logo.png

Ace of Spades.png


Roster Icons:
IconThe Joker (1).png
IconThe Joker (2).png


 
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mbvswb

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Supporters rise up. I'm in.
 

KatKit

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This is the greatest, most obscure, unexpected suggestion I've seen in a looong time. Bravo. The reasons listed are surprisingly compelling as well. It also doubles as a retro rep.
 
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Pacack

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This is the greatest, most obscure, WTF suggestion I've seen in a looong time. Bravo. The reasons listed are surprisingly compelling as well. It also doubles as a retro rep.
Thank you for the compliment! Would you like to be added to the list of supporters, then? :)
 

smashingDoug

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Yes why not

B he throws that star like a ninja star

Up B his lower have becomes a fish tail and he surfs up like :squirtle:

Side B he blowers his trumpet and makes a soundwave

Down B a counter in a funny jester style with his jester staff
 
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Pacack

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Absolutely! It'd be an honor.
Yes why not

B he throws that star like a ninja star

Up B his lower have becomes a fish tail and he surfs up like :squirtle:

Side B he blowers his trumpet and makes a soundwave

Down B a counter in a funny jester style with his jester staff
I'll add you both to the list! :)
 

Arcadenblog

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Well, this is interesting. It would make for quite the surprise if we get a card rep that isn't Napoleon.
 
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HYRULESHERO42

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This character looks quite sinister, just imagining the chaos it could bring is a blast. When Smash 6 is made and the persona license has lapsed this joker would be a great replacement
 
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Pacack

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Well, since this thread got a reply, I should note that this Joker design was indeed used in Clubhouse Games. I think that's pretty solid evidence that this is the Joker design that they prefer, although the mermaid is also common.

I've also now gotten two Nintendo trump decks, both special editions from JAL (Japan Airlines), and they're very nice quality. I want to buy myself a modern deck to use, since I don't want to wear out the vintage ones. They feel interesting, being made entirely out of plastic, and I would bet that they are indeed more durable than plastic coated paper cards.

I could actually see the Joker being used to represent Nintendo's traditional games overall after his appearance in Clubhouse Games. Namely, hanafuda, trump cards, mahjong, shogi, and Go, since those are the oldest games Nintendo made historically.
 
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HYRULESHERO42

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You actually own a few decks? That's awesome, where did you find them? I've had no luck finding any pre video game era Nintendo toys
 

Pacack

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You actually own a few decks? That's awesome, where did you find them? I've had no luck finding any pre video game era Nintendo toys
Ebay. I recommend searching for Nintendo All Plastic or NAP, as that's their signature brand. Alternatively, search the name Nintendo Playing Card Co., which was their name at the time. Also remember the term "trump," which is the term used to describe Western-style cards in Japan.

Alternatively, there are some telltale signs of a deck being Nintendo produced, and you can have some luck searching for vintage Japanese card decks if you know what to look for. First, look at all of the pictures and examine the Ace of Spades or the Jokers. If they look like the following, they're Nintendo. (Also, if Disney is on the cards and they're Japanese, it's almost always Nintendo, since they had the license to produce Disney cards at the time. The Joker in these decks is Jiminy Cricket. They also produced Popeye decks, with a different Joker.)
1621620873268.jpeg
I also recommend checking out the Before Mario blog. It's a good place to start. They also have a history of Nintendo's logos through the years, which is helpful, since their logo changed frequently during this time period.

If you're looking for a more modern deck, Nintendo's Japanese website lists the cards they still sell. They number their NAP lines based on their level of quality (600 < 800 < 1000), with the last few numbers denoting the design. For example, their current product line includes NAP 606, 622, 623, 807, 818, 1039, and 1051. Each one of those has two color variants. If you're interested in cards with Nintendo properties (Mario, Zelda, Splatoon, and Kirby) on them, you can look here.

All of these are commonly resold, but you'll have more luck finding the ones with current Nintendo properties on them. Personally, I've been looking for NAP 1039 (Black) for awhile now, but have had no luck. At the same time, I could search Ebay or Amazon and buy a Mario deck today if I wanted to.
I'd love to support! This would be a really cool out-there pick in vein of R.O.B.
Thanks! I'll add you to the list of supporters.
 
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