Hiroshi Yamauchi Passes Away at 85

The pioneer responsible for the Nintendo we know dies due to pneumonia.

By Lukas Velunta. Posted 09/19/2013 03:55 4 Comments     ShareThis

Hiroshi Yamauchi, the third president of Nintendo and its second-largest shareholder, has passed away at 85, while being confined at a Kyoto hospital for pneumonia. Mr. Yamauchi transformed Nintendo from a company that made trading cards into the multinational corporation that arguably saved the video game industry.

When Mr. Yamauchi, grandson of Nintendo founder Fusajiro Yamauchi, became president of the company in 1949, it was a business that produced Hanafuda cards. The younger Yamauchi diversified the company, venturing into transportation, hospitality, food, and toys, which eventually led to the video games that we know and love today. Mr. Yamauchi was responsible for Nintendo from its earliest days as an arcade cabinet maker, to Donkey Kong, and the Family Computer,  up to the Game Boy Advance and GameCube.

Although he was succeeded by Satoru Iwata in 2002, Mr. Yamauchi remained on the board of directors until 2005, until stepping down in 2008.

Source: Nikkei

4 Responses to “Hiroshi Yamauchi Passes Away at 85”

  • 1014 points
    xeacons says...

    A moment of silence for the loss of the master. Requiescat in pace.

    Thumb up 1
  • 78 points
    ElectricOutcast says...

    Got a bit of a question to ask: earlier on my twitter I made a statement that I was hoping that Yamauchi and Gunpei Yokoi are probably in the afterlife and reconciling with each other hopefully because from what I heard both Yokoi and Yamauchi didn’t part ways amicably after the failure of the Virtual Boy.

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    • 249 points
      Kyle England says...

      Well, the Virtual Boy was one big fiasco. Apparently, Yokoi hadn’t planned on releasing it in the form that eventually came out. Nintendo sped up development on the VB to get it out the door so they could finish up the Nintendo 64. Due to its unfortunate technical failings and lack of compelling software, the Virtual Boy was quite a flop.

      Yokoi wasn’t necessarily fired from Nintendo, but as is customary in Japanese business, he accepted responsibility for the Virtual Boy’s failure and resigned. Several people from his development team also went with Yokoi to develop the Bandai Wonderswan.

      Who knows, Yokoi might have worked with Nintendo again at some point, but his life was suddenly cut short. I can only imagine Yamauchi and Yokoi would have reconciled at some point given that they were associates and friends for 30 years.

      At least Mr. Yamauchi was able to lead a full life and retire to turn Nintendo over to the next generation of executives. My only question is what will become of the shares he had with Nintendo? I assume he would have had that worked out with his estate.

      It’s sad, because now as the founders of gaming grow old and die, we might see several other iconic developers pass away in our lifetime :( But we will always have their amazing games to remember them by!

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  • 984 points
    Robert Marrujo says...

    Yamauchi’s legacy is truly amazing, both in terms of the scope of his vision and his sheer ability to cultivate talent. There is simply no way to dismiss the importance of Nintendo to the videogame industry and its role in the medium’s evolution over the years. The NES and Game Boy literally revolutionized how we play games, and for that every generation of gamers should be grateful for what this man brought to the table. A real loss.

    Thumb up 0

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