Hiroshi Yamauchi was the president of Nintendo from 1949 to 2002, and might be the person most responsible for bringing gaming into mainstream culture. He shepherded the company when it was a small business selling playing cards, and, through ingenious marketing, turned hobbyist idols like Zelda, Mario, and a swath of others, into cultural touchstones. He died today at 85.
Remember a time before Xbox's? Way back when there was a company called Sega? And when the only serious computer was a Commodore64? If you remember this you remember the beginning of the computer game era - you remember Nintendo fondly, you remember the Nintendo Power Glove (20 years before it's time!), you remember the first Super Mario Brothers. You remember arguing which was better Sega or Nintendo.
People like Apple as a company but man - look at Nintendo. Seriously for me it is one of the most awesome companies ever - largely thanks to Hiroshi Yamauchi.
Why do i love Nintendo, the company Yamauchi build, here are some of the reasons:
- Made millions of kids happy;
- Broke new ground repeatedly in hardware - (consoles, gloves, dance mats, handheld consoles, Wii), in design, in characters, and of course in gaming - Super Mario Brothers is just one example;
- Was/is always the underdog - survived and often beat Sega, Sony, Commodore, Atari, Microsoft, and many others;
- Chose not to make or allow violent (rated M+ games) - they made their business on "wholesome fun" - no Grand Theft Auto, no Wolfenstein, no blood, no sex, just good ole fun games and great characters.
- Made games that girls and mums and dads played (look at Wii).
- Transitioned from Board games to Computer games, started in 1949.
A nice company that treated it's customers right and made games that people love.
Thank you Hiroshi Yamauchi, RIP...