Today marks a sad day indeed as Nintendo’s former president Hiroshi Yamuchi has passed away aged 85, Nikkei reports.
After his grandfather suffered a stroke Yamauchi-san stepped in as Nintendo’s president back in 1949, a role he held until 31st May 2002 when he passed the role to Satoru Iwata.
It was still a traditional card company when he had taken over, although his decision to diversify soon lead it into the electronics industry and to stride into the increasingly popular arcade market across North America. When his son-in-law couldn’t find success with games such as Radar Scope, Space Fever and Sheriff, he turned to the young Shigeru Miyamoto who dutifully delivered Donkey Kong in 1981. The rest, as they say, became history.
Hardware development teams created the portable Game & Watch and later produced the Famicom, which we obviously know as the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES). His leadership grew the console’s success through predicting what consumers would want in terms of the software that was being produced, with the company subsequently releasing the Super Famicom, Nintendo 64, and GameCube under his watchful guidance.
Whilst he has been readily attributed as being one of the richest men in Japan due to being Nintendo’s largest shareholder, he donated much of the 7.5 billion yen that he earned through Nintendo’s success with the Wii and Nintendo DS to build a new cancer treatment center in Kyoto.
His efforts contributed to the sheer influence that Nintendo’s output have had on countless people across the world. Rest in peace, Yamauchi-san.