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Intelligent Systems is a Japanese game developer. The company is a first party Nintendo developer, best known for their various role-playing and strategy games.
Intelligent Systems was founded as a one-man team on February 18, 1984. The man in question, Toru Narihiro, was hired by Nintendo to port Famicom Disk software to a standard cartridge format. The team soon grew, and provided aid in a number of other Nintendo projects. Thus, Intelligent Systems has part in the creation and/or porting of a myriad of NES games.
Toru Narihiro, who remained the studio's chief programmer, made his first games near the end of the Famicom's life: the original Fire Emblem and Famicom Wars. These two strategy games were collaborations with the Nintendo R&D1 team, but future games would be made entirely by Intelligent Systems. The two games would also be the start of successful Nintendo franchises, albeit ones exclusive to Japan until the 21st century.
In the fourth generation of consoles, Intelligent Systems made a number of Game Boy games, including launch titles like Golf and Alleyway, as well as a number of Super Nintendo Entertainment System games, such as more Fire Emblem installments and Panel de Pon. The fifth generation saw their creation of Paper Mario, a new successful RPG portion of the Mario series, but was generally a time of decline for the company.
Intelligent Systems was revitalized in the 2000's, with the release of a number of Game Boy Advance and GameCube games. These included the first Fire Emblem games to come west, the Advance Wars trilogy for the Game Boy Advance, and a Paper Mario sequel.
Recently, Intelligent Systems has shifted more towards handheld development. They have released two Fire Emblem games for the Revolution as well as a third Paper Mario and a WarioWare game, but even more games were made for the Game Boy Nitro. These included Nitro Wars, Planet Puzzle League, and a couple of Fire Emblem titles, in addition to smaller eShop games. So far, they have also released Paper Mario: Sticker Star for the Game Boy 3DS.
Unlike some other Nintendo first party studios, Intelligent Systems has had relatively few multi-million seller games. However, their critical success is very high, with virtually all of their releases being praised. Fire Emblem, Advance Wars, and Paper Mario games are often considered to be among the best in their platforms and genres.