Errant Nintendo Licensing: Parties, Cereal, and School

Working through the collections provides some rather weird challenges to the discipline of library science.  An entire segment of the collection is devoted to items termed as realia, basically commercial products tied to video game concepts or characters.  They don't fit on shelves very well, and the exact means of how to preserve these detritus of commercial culture are fraught with an internal debate about their validity to humanity. I think everything should be remembered or recorded fastidiously, but then again I get a thrill out of looking at old Nintendo marketing crud, and I work in a library. That said, these items make my inner child awaken anew and crave some tasty morsels of the past.

First up in this cavalcade of moderately interesting things is a set of Mario themed party plates and a tablecloth. Initially one might wonder why I'm even putting this up, but I feel that the randomness of these items warrants their salvation from total obscurity.

Mario Picnic Items: Still Perfectly Plastic PreservedMario Picnic Items: Still Perfectly Plastic Preserved

The most striking thing about these two pieces are the artists' drastically varying interpretations of Mario's intentions towards the Koopas and the princess. In the tablecloth Mario seems positively ebullient about his rescue of Princess Toadstool, though I do not remember the use of ropes in Mario games, but I'll chalk that up to artistic license.

Mario Picnic Tablecloth: Look At That NoseMario Picnic Tablecloth: Look At That Nose

You would think that the makers of Mario themed party favors might try for aesthetic consistency in the presentation of Nintendo's titular mascot, but the party plate belies a more dire and negative take on the Mario legend.

Mario Picnic Plate: OminousMario Picnic Plate: Ominous

Describing this presentation of Mario as disreputable does not seem entirely accurate, villainous is definitely more apt.  I don't think I'd even want to help Mario with anything, let alone the rescue of the princess if he always looked this mean and vindictive.  Toadstool appears completely nonplussed with the situation and I can't blame her.  These favors are from the early nineties/late-eighties and I can't help but be reminded of Saddam Hussein when confronted with Mario's startling visage here.

Next up is a Nintendo Power backpack from the same time period, the heroes Link and Mario are shown to have combined forces, with the natural power of lightning watching their backs.

Nintendo Backpack: StunningNintendo Backpack: Stunning

Upon closer inspection, with another nod to artistic license, Link appears absolutely cherubic here.  I guess there was a decision to tie his character more closely to Mario's already rotund physique.

Nintendo Backpack Detail: AdorableNintendo Backpack Detail: Adorable

The final item is definitely the most telling and dated, the Nintendo Cereal System.  Produced by  Ralston Cereals in 1988, the complete nutrition system featured two themed cereals in one fantastic package.  Some packages contained Nintendo trading cards with various mascots doing their thing.  This box here, which was completely intact before we eviscerated it in the name of library science, included a Link iron-on image and a chance to win a Nintendo Game-and-Watch.

Nintendo Cereal Box Cover: Includes Many Essential VitaminsNintendo Cereal Box Cover: Includes Many Essential Vitamins

Nintendo Cereal Box Detail: Two Great Flavors!Nintendo Cereal Box Detail: Two Great Flavors!

Now although I feel the difference between the "flavors" Berry and Fruity is probably completely semantic, this item presented a challenge to preservation. How exactly do you save a themed cereal for posterity?  In the end, after we had thrown out the actual cereal, which was quite stale I assure you (yes it was tasted), we realized that taking pictures of the contents may have been the best decision but that we'd simply have to live with the box and the Link iron-on as the necessary physical proof.  The back of the box also perfectly represented the definitive gamer (demographically speaking) of the late 1980s.

Nintendo Cereal Box Back: Wow, Braces.Nintendo Cereal Box Back: Wow, Braces.

Now that we know what Nintendo Aces do when they can't get their fix on the go, I leave you with a final, debate solving look at the innards of Nintendo's two most popular characters.  I'm glad to see that they employ copious usage of trans-fats and are exceedingly "healthy", guess I know why Koopa and Ganon really want to get at these heros, they must taste fantastic.

Nintendo Cereal Box Ingredients: Riboflavin!Nintendo Cereal Box Ingredients: Riboflavin!


I cannot believe they made

I cannot believe they made nintendo cereal! I am so mad i didn't know about this back in the day. This reminds me of days I stayed up way too late playing Tecmo Bowl or Mario Bros.
Mike Taylor
Indianapolis real estate

nintendo video

nintendo video games
I can't believe that nintendo has cereal. I am aware of those picnic items but with cereal wow!... Where can I purchased that cereal? Maybe I should try one.

Nice examples of the

Nice examples of the different ways Nintendo does their marketing. We do this same stuff at Arizona SEO

I can't believe that I have

I can't believe that I have never heard of that nintendo cereal, even though if it was out in 88 I was only 10, loving the mario and link together on the back pack :) oh ya. In regards to that comment about your writing style, I think it is just fine keep up the good work.

Nathan M.

Funny how nintendo allowed so

Funny how nintendo allowed so much artistic licensing with the character. Quite possibly on of the icons of the brand, Mario definitely looks evil on the plate...and, both the plate and the table cloth have the rope! This was a real trip back to the 80's. Even the kid with braces and the old school video game system. What fun! Sharon

Note the difference between Mario and Zelda's nutrition

Mario's nutritional information can boast NATURAL FLAVORING over the Zelda-themed cereal! -=PakoPako=-

Look, i think they are both

Look, i think they are both great, but at the end of the day, mario is always going to loose to Zelda in every way,

and thats just the way it is,

Anthony, Boot Camp Vancouver

Cereal video game kid

Isn't that Tom Paris from ST: Voyager?


I actually have a nintendo power folder that is identical to the backpack above, I don't believe I ever got the bag but it is identical and I found it in spectacular condition while cleaning the house. Great stuff!

Video Game Memorabilia Museum

Well, I'm pretty committed to this cause! I love the bit about realia. I mean, how DO you preserve things like the Nintendo Ice Cream Sandwiches, and the various candies coming out today? Heh.

It's a bit nutty...

Under 'Zelda Ingredients', does that say 'rapeseed'? I don't know if I'm too keen on that on my cereal...