Sunday, September 22, 2013

A Visionary lives on...

This past thursday the gaming world lost the man that once saved it. On September 19th Hiroshi Yamauchi passed away at age 85. Yamauchi was 22 in 1949 when he reluctantly dropped out of university to take over as president of his grandfathers hanadfuda playing card company Nintendo. The staff at Nintendo resented the young CEO and worried about the security of the company in his inexperienced hands. In 1960 he struck big when he licensed a popular American company's characters for use on the new line of western market  play cards he was breaking into, the company was Disney and the venture put Yamauchi and Nintendo in the black. Shorty after Nintendo went IPO and the company did see some loses on strange ventures but by the 70's Nintendo was back making a solid dent in the market with board games and was branching out to electronic games & Arcade games. Young assembly line engineer Gunpey Yokoi brought an idea to Yamauchi that steered Nintendo on to its current path and philosophy. The Game & Watch series was created very inexpensively and Nintendo was leading the way in handheld electronic gaming. By the early 1980's the western home computer video game market had ended in a "Crash" but Yamauchi was about to attempt something daring in Japan. The Nintendo Family Computer or Famicom was released in July 1983 and shipments sold out every week. Yamauchi had started a trending philosophy with the Gunpei's Game & Watch and the Famicom of not worrying about what the other companies were doing or saying but just executing things Nintendo's own way. This Philosophy has paid off for nintendo 99% of the time even though the competition and press have tried to say differently over the years. Nintendo still follows Yamauchi's example and continues the work of this "True Visionary" a title that is not easily laid upon a person.

Yamauchi has given us the genius work of Gunpei Yokoi - Game& Watch, Metroid, Kid Icarus, Gameboy, the Cross shaped Directional pad. The former President also put Gunpei in charge of a top priority game Donkey Kong where he was given the chance to teach a young Shigeru Miyamoto about game programing/creating. Miyamoto's talents were brought before Yamauchi and were allowed to thrive and bringing us- Super Mario Bros series, Zelda, Star Fox, Pikmin, Metroid Prime trilogy, the 3D control engineering on Mario 64 that serves as the basis for all 3D environment games and what many consider to be "the greatest game of all time" The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time

In 2002 Yamauchi stepped down as President and sat on the Board of Directors till 2005  when completely retired and watched Nintendo continue his lead of excellence and innovation that has severed them since he took over 60 years ago.

Go out and honor this great mans accomplishments and gifts by not just playing a video game today but by supporting the company that made it possible to still play games. 

Hiroshi Yamauchi
You will be remembered.

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