Here’s a Great Sermon Illustration

Here’s a great sermon illustration that you could use in your preaching.  After you read, would you leave a comment and share your feedback.  Is this helpful for you?  Do you think you would use it?  Would you save it for later?

Title: How a failed video game led to the most successful game franchise in history
Tags: failure, second chance, leadership, mistakes

In 1980, a Japanese company called Nintendo came out with an arcade came called Radar Scope. If you’ve ever seen a game called Space Invaders, it looked a lot like that. It was a shoot-em-up, one button, one joystick video game.

It quickly became Nintendo’s biggest game of the year in Japan and Nintendo looked to expand into America. Hiroshi Yamauchi, who took over the company from his grandfather in 1949 set up his son-in-law to run Nintendo of America.

Yamauchi decided to go all in on Radar Scope and started manufacturing thousands of cabinets and shipping them from Japan to a warehouse in New Jersey. They were able to pre-sell about 1,000 of them, but 2,000 more remained in that New Jersey warehouse collecting dust. Nobody was biting…nobody was buying.

When they realized that Radar Scope wasn’t going to sell anymore, they began promising a new smash hit.

So here was Hinoru Arakawa with 2,000 useless video game consoles and a promise to deliver a smash hit that nobody had developed yet. He announced an internal competition and received several ideas from a young employee with no video game experience.

He took a basic story – a guy trying to rescue a girl from an evil villain. And the villain would be a giant gorilla. They made the decision to take these 2,000 Radar Scope video games and convert them to a new game.

At the time, conversion kits were commonly used to update older games to get a few more quarters out of the kids. It’s the equivalent of reheating yesterdays leftovers.

They took the Radar Scope cabinet and turned the monitor sideways, so the game would play from the bottom of the screen to the top of the screen. They created a story…a common plumber saves a girl from an evil villain. The little plumber with the mission of rescuing the girl was known as “jumpman” and was given the name Mario, a suggestion from the owner of the warehouse where these 2,000 video game cabinets were being retooled. The evil villain holding the girl hostage would be a giant gorilla. The game would be called King King.

They removed the old game board and put a new one in. They connected the wiring harness, slid out the old plastic art and slid in new art panels. It took two months, but all 2,000 video games were converted.

The hero from King Kong would go on to star in several other video games, including Super Mario Brothers…Nintendo’s biggest selling video game ever. Mario has starred in more than 200 titles.

If Radar Scope had been more popular, Donkey Kong probably wouldn’t have been invented. But a leader named Arakawa and his team at Nintendo took a failure and turned it into a successful game, and in the process, created the most successful video game character of all time.


1. Second Chances. 
“God, my God, I yelled for help and you put me together. God, you pulled me out of the grave, gave me another chance at life when I was down-and-out.” – Psalm 30:2 (The Message)

2. God isn’t through with you. “…for God’s gifts and his call are irrevocable.” – Romans 11:29

3. Failure isn’t fatal. “My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength
of my heart and my portion forever.”
Psalm 73:26 (NASB)

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