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Nintendium is an Internet myth which refers to a chemical element supposedly discovered by the Japanese video game company Nintendo and used in all of Nintendo’s console systems. The fictional substance can be seen as a tongue-in-cheek observation about the reputed durability of Nintendo video game consoles, similar to customer reviews of the Indestructible Nokia 3310 and Huge Like XBox.
The myth of Nintendium originated in 2005 with Nintendo’s acquisition of a Game Boy machine that was recovered from a bombarded barrack during the Gulf War. Although its plastic body was heavily damaged, the hardware seemed to be perfectly functional when it was placed on permanent display with the classic puzzle game Tetris at the Nintendo Center located in New York City.
On October 3rd, 2006, YouTuber PlaidNinja uploaded a video clip of the Game Boy on display. As of June 2012, the video has generated more than 598,000 views and 2,000 comments. While it is unclear who coined the term “Nintendium” or where the myth began, but its earliest known mention can be found in a console-related discussion thread posted via PurePwnage forum on October 1st, 2006.
The first known definition of the term “Nintendium” was submitted to Urban Dictionary by user Zixaphir Modnar on November 22nd, 2006. According to the entry, Nintendium is described as “the hardest, most durable material known to mankind, discovered by Nintendo for usage in their console, the Nintendo Entertainment System.” The folklore also says that the manufacturing process of the substance was perfected sometime prior to the invention of the portable Game Boy by Nintendo hardware designer Gunpie Yokoi.
Since the birth of the Nintendo 64 (IE, N64), Nintendium has become harder to produce or find, as the quality of the Nintendium used in the Nintendo DS (IE, NDS) and Wii (IE, Nintendo Wii?) have been reasonably weaker than their predecessors, though the WiiMote has been known to resist bullets, fly straight through Television Screens, and cause injuries when thrown, and is considered to be encased in the purest, most refined Nintendium seen since Gunpie Yokoi left Nintendo and died.
Shortly after the submission of the Urban Dictionary entry in November 2006, the mysterious substance was discussed in the comments of numerous video game blog and forum posts, such as this Joystyiq article about the durability of XBox console titled “When Water and Xbox Collide” in late December 2006.
White Rose Duelist wrote: If this was a Nintendo Product, it would have shrugged off the water. Everything they make seems to be invincible (or at least more than a match for a CRT). A Sony console would probably explode before the jet got turned on.
4ham wrote : Won’t work WRD. As you can clearly see in the picture the water cut right components. They use high pressure water cutters to etch and cut solid steel, I’m sure any nintendo product, well anything in general would be sliced. BTW the only Nintendo product made from actual Nintendium is the original gameboy. Nothing before or after it has shown that kind of resilience.
The concept of “Nintendium” continued to spread through words of mouth in the following years, most notably on videogame-related forums such as GameSpot and 4chan’s /v/ (videogame) board. Numerous discussion threads containing the word “Nintendium” have been archived from 4chan, with the earliest instance dating to August 30th, 2007. The first Yahoo Q&A thread addressing the term was submitted by user Nicolaj S. on February 16th, 2008. Web comic series Roget’s House of Mystery posted a comic about Nintendium on August 10th, 2008.