RIP Hiroshi Yamauchi – former president of Nintendo

Posted: 2013/09/19 in Arcade room, Modern gaming, Retrogaming
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Today is a sad day for geeks and gamers. Let’s all remember Hiroshi Yamauchi.
Hiroshi Yamauchi has been the third president of Nintendo, stepping in during 1949 to succeed his grandfather.

Of course, Nintendo wasn’t a video game company at the time. They were a game company. As in, cards. Hanafuda cards. During his reign, the small unknown card company evolved into one of the biggest electronic entertainment corporation. Lots of people will remember him, or what he did, for that sole purpose.

Hiroshi Yamauchi picture courtesy of Kotaku

Hiroshi Yamauchi – and Nintendo – started being interested early on in the electronic games era. Yamauchi decided to expand to the United States (the current Nintendo of America) to benefit from that distinctive market. Which led to the company’s first real hit: Donkey Kong in 1981. It was played. It was played a lot. And it was the introduction of one of the most recognized videogame characters of all: Mario.

It was also under his management that the NES was born. At a time where video games were all but instinct (Thanks, E.T.)  the Nintendo Entertainment System was a fresh renewal that brought the whole industry back to life. He was confident the product would sell, and without that direction who knows what the game industry would be today.

He left presidency of Nintendo in 2002 to become chairmen of the board of director, leaving the role to current president Satoru Iwata. He left the chairman position in 2005 “confident the company was in good hands” – and refused his (rather big) retirement pension.

He died Sept 19th aged 85 of complications to pneumonia.

He was a man of vision, a man of decision, that modeled a major videogame company, and helped form the whole industry. (side note: he was also owner of Seattle’s baseball team, the Mariners)

May he be remembered well.


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