Thursday, September 19, 2013

RIP Hiroshi Yamauchi, Visionary President of Nintendo Co. Ltd.

Today is a sad day for all of us Nintendo fans.  We lost the former president of Nintendo Co, Ltd., Hiroshi Yamauchi.  He reigned over Nintendo from 1949 (!!!) to 2003.  In that time, Yamauchi-san oversaw the transition of Nintendo from a playing card manufacturer to a toy manufacturer to an arcade game manufacturer and finally to the video gaming powerhouse that Nintendo is today.

It is Yamauchi-san that we must thank for his incredible gifts to the world: Mario. Luigi. The Legend of Zelda.  Donkey Kong.  Pikmin.  None of these incredible things would be possible without Yamauchi. There WOULD be no video games that people malign as driving people to violence if it wasn't for Hiroshi Yamauchi's incredible vision of a console called the Family Computer, or Famicom for short (it was called the Nintendo Entertainment System outside of Japan) where video game makers had to license their games for each system.

On a historical sidenote, at the time the Famicom was introduced in Japan, the Video Game Crash of 1983 happened.  It was largely due to the console manufacturers at that time (such as Atari) who just put any old video game they wanted to on these consoles and the sales just dropped through the floor because there was no such thing as quality control at that time.

The gaming systems that Yamauchi-san oversaw at least the launches for were: The Famicom (NES outside of Japan), Super Famicom (SNES outside of Japan), Nintendo 64, GameCube, Game & Watch, Game Boy, Game Boy Color, and Game Boy Advance.  I included the handhelds here because nobody that I saw covering the death of Yamauchi-san today covered the fact that he oversaw the booming success of the Game Boy.

Yamauchi-san ought to be appreciated by all of us gamers.  I do not believe that all of us who are gamers today WOULD be gamers without the legendary Hiroshi Yamauchi helming the systems that many of us grew up with.  Thank you Yamauchi-san.  Rest well.