Influential Member of the Nintendo Family Passes at 85

At the ripe, old age of 85, Hiroshi Yamauchi passed in his home country, Japan, of medical complications due to pneumonia. When it comes to arcade machines, the Nintendo name has long been known as a pioneer in the gaming industry. From 1949 until 2002, Yamauchi served as President of Nintendo.

Originally, Nintendo marketed and produced various lines of playing cards. It was not until Hiroshi Yamauchi assumed power that Nintendo built a partnership with Disney. It was Nintendo’s association with Disney that helped lead the company to positioning itself as an international brand.

Soon after Nintendo began developing toys, it transitioned into the gaming market. Most of its earlier products were geared toward home entertainment. Yamauchi acquired talent from other leading electronics companies and established new departments to handle game and toy development. From the late 1950s until the late 1970s, Nintendo had a few scattered hits that were popular with consumers.

Once Nintendo began developing arcade games, the company started to see real success. Space Fever was one of Nintendo’s standout games, but ultimately, it was the iconic Donkey Kong that would make Nintendo a household name. Once Yamauchi started to understand how lucrative the arcade and home gaming console markets could be, he invested more resources into gaming development.

Nintendo’s first gaming system, the NES, debuted domestically in 1983. Two years later, it came out in the United States. The home entertainment system was instantly successful, largely because of its innovative design and wide variety of available titles. Nintendo followed up with even more gaming systems, including the Super NES, the Game Boy and the Wii.

When Yamauchi finally stepped down in 2002, Nintendo was a well-established power house in the gaming industry. From arcade machines to independent titles, no discussion on the history and future of video games would be complete if Nintendo was not mentioned. Few people have maintained control of a successful gaming company for as long as Yamauchi did, especially considering the fact that the steered the business into the gaming sector in the first place. Although Nintendo faced many obstacles in the last 20 years, it was Yamauchi’s keen insight that helped it to continue to flourish.