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Topic: 2005 Interview with Hiroshi Yamauchi - Great Read!!!

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1. Posted:

RIP once again Yamauchi-San!!! You changed the video game world and your leadership and vision made Nintendo what it is today.
This article he talks about Microsoft, Sony, Capcom, Square, Miyamoto, Iwata. Reading this article you will see why Nintendo was so successful with him as the captain of the ship. Actually he said one thing about Iwata that have been saying about him too that he needs to be more aggressive and have more of an edge. I really like Iwata but sometimes I think he is too nice. Enjoy the interview!

FROM "WIRED" MAGAZINE — FEBRUARY 2005 *

************************************************** **********

Once the most powerful man in the whole gaming industry, Hiroshi Yamauchi enjoys now his retirement in the Japanese countryside.
But gardening has not softened the man who ruled a multi-billion dollar industry with an iron fist.
Feared as much as revered, the 77-year-old gives up, for once, his ice-cold stance in this exclusive interview.

"WIRED" Magazine: It's been some time since your retirement and still many people don't believe it...
Hiroshi Yamauchi: I don't quite believe it myself (laughs) but I'm afraid it's true, and even if I pay young Satoru [Iwata, Nintendo's current CEO] a visit from time to time, I spend most of my mornings watching daytime TV ... (laughs)
Oh, and gardening.
It's hard work but very rewarding, and I enjoy it very much.
So much so in fact that, I told young Shigeru [Miyamoto, Nintendo's main creative talent] to make a game about it.
And he did, but it wasn't quite what I expected.
It still sold well, though. So to answer your question, yes, I'm retired

Iwata is in charge.
Yes, he is.
He is such a bright kid.
He lacks the edge I had at his age but he is still young, and learns fast.
I always give him advice on almost everything, I even helped him redecorate his office, he's a bit useless in that sense (laughs).
But he knows both about the business and creative sides of Nintendo.
He designed Kirby [a Nintendo character], and even if it now looks a bit dated and, let's be honest, homosexual, it still is a popular character with children and adults alike.
He will take Nintendo into the twenty first century.

But you still have a rather important part to play in Nintendo's policy making process.
Well, it's my company.
I made it.
If it wasn't for me Nintendo would still be in the card making business. High quality cards, mind you, superior to the western ones just like every Japanese product is superior to its Western equivalent.
Maybe it's because of the Japanese business mentality.

How would you define it?
The Japanese business mentality?
Japanese businessmen are tigers, whereas Western businessmen are like Yogi Bear, fat and complacent.
They are happy stealing picnic baskets (laughs).
You see, the Japanese business mentality is a direct extrapolation of the general Japanese mentality.
Before World War 2, we were in a blind alley because of the Americans; we couldn't trade, we couldn't buy fuel and what did we do?
We attacked them! We said we were not going to play by their rules.
We recognized the danger and faced it bravely.
We lost, but what a way to lose!
They needed to harness the power of the atom to defeat us.
We lost everything and rose again from the radioactive ashes of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
We could have done like the Italians and subjugate ourselves, we could have done like the French and surrender, but we bounced back!
We are Japanese! While the post-war generation of American had everything fed to them on silver spoons and watched "I Love Lucy", we were fighting and scratching our way back to the top, the righteous place of the Japanese people.
There's this old American saying that applies to Japan: there's no such thing as a free lunch.
Well, there obviously is in America, otherwise, they wouldn't be so goddamn fat (laughs).
And now that generation of Americans is the one ruling the country, they are the business leaders.
They think that everything will work out for them just because it's them! They don't need intelligence, or hard work, or even luck, they think everything will go their way because they are Americans!
I mean, just look at their president.
And they show contempt towards other cultures, even those superior to their own like the Japanese.
I could see this for the hundredth time recently when Microsoft made an offer to buy Nintendo.

Would you care to elaborate?
Economically, it was a very tempting offer.
I won't say how much they offered for how many shares, but in all my years in the industry, I had never heard of a quantity remotely like that one.
And I've been in the industry all my life.
It was going to set the Nikkei[The Japanese Stock Exchage Service - Ed.] aflame!
["Microsoft" Exec]Steve Ballmer himself came to Kyoto.
The Americans were confident we would accept as we were not in our strongest position ever.
GameCube had not done as well as we expected (but well enough, we have no losses) and the shadow of PSP lurked in the horizon.
If there ever was a time to make a deal, it was then.
They were so smug, you could see the contempt in their face.
Some of the Board Members were ready to sell.
But I saw right through the Americans.
Agreeing to the deal would not have been just a business matter, it would have been a defeat comparable to the World War 2.
Well, I saw that horrible could when I was younger and said "Never again."
I still hold executive power and blocked the deal. I gave a short speech right then in the meeting room about Japanese values and identity, but the translator barely passed a part of it.
I saw some American laughing.
They were not taking us seriously.
I got angry and was a bit rude, and I regret it now.

What did you say?
I said, well, I'd rather not repeat it. Alright, I told them to lick my balls. The translators looked shocked and obviously decided to offer a loose, not offensive translation.
This made me angry.
I wanted to offend them, to show them something about Japanese Pride. Please, write Pride with a capital "P" when you transcribe this, thank you. Pride.
So I saw that the translators were unreliable and was going to kick them out when I notice Ballmer smiling and mouthing the word "yellow" to his assistant.
They thought this was a joke.
They were probably saying, look at the old tiny yellow man, he's angry now.
Well, that did it.
I stood on my chair and put my hands around my mouth to amplify my voice, see, and said, in English, slowly and forming the words very carefully — HEY, BALLMER, WHY DON'T YOU SUCK MY TINY YELLOW BALLS?

And that was the end of the negotiations?
Yes.
The Americans left disgusted and making a ruckus, they were so scandalised, see, it was almost as if I had shown a nipple.
A tiny yellow nipple (laughs).
A Japanese company would have taken that as a minor setback, a challenge.
And that mentality, along with our flexible banking system and closely protected market is what allowed us to take America by storm during that glorious decade, the eighties.
I mean, we bought their goddamn country!
Rockefeller Centre, Pebble Beach, Downtown L.A., all their landmarks, you name it, we bought it!
Just like we took over the videogame industry.
Yellow power, eh?
And they tried to bounce back but they were not strong enough.
Just not strong enough.
I mean, look at Atari.
Look at the Jaguar! (laughs).
And look at Microsoft.
They will fail miserably, you cannot break even when you lose money with every single machine you sell.
Xbox and Xbox 2 will destroy the company, mark my words.

What about Sony?
Sony is different.
Sony is Japanese, like us.
They have the same mentality, in principle.
In principle, because they have been corrupted by the Western ethos. They don't care about loyalty, or about advancing the industry, they only care about profit.
They are always hungry, like Americans! (laughs).
And the sad thing is that they appear to be successful.
They are completely devoid of originality or courage, they only go where other companies have gone before.
The one bold step they ever took was releasing the PlayStation, which they did after a rejection on our part.
Look at the PSP [Sony's new handheld device], for instance.
So they want to break into the handheld market.
They didn't create it, or improve it, they just want a piece of the action now that the real money is there.
And they release the PSP.
And what is its biggest asset?
It has a larger screen.
How do you control the games?
With the Dual Shock's [Playstation's controller] stick.
How original.

So you are not a fan of the PSP?
The PSP is probably the worst concept for a handheld device I've ever seen.
And I should know, I released the Virtual Boy [Nintendo's failed Virtual Reality system] (laughs).
First of all, look at the game media.
They come in discs for God's sake!
Discs load.
A kid will get in the bus on his way to school and insert a disc on the machine.
By the time the game has loaded the boy has arrived to his school.
If he wants to play during recess he will have to leave the game loading during class.
And that's not what handheld gaming is about.
Handheld gaming is about gaming on the go, about instant thrills.
And that's why a handheld console must be small and light, it has to be carried everywhere.
Look at the size and weight of the PSP, you could kill a man with it.
Look at its shape.
It's so threatening.
It's shaped like a giant penis.
But the main problem the PSP has is its battery life.
Most of the power is drained during the loading process.
By the time you start to enjoy yourself, the battery will run out.
And the batteries are such low quality!
They break very often and need constant replacements.
The PSP has very expensive components, which I guess can eventually work out to Sony's advantage.
I think that's how they will probably make a profit, by selling battery replacements.

What's your opinion on the software?
The same old thing we've seen a thousand times.
The best game at launch was Ridge Racer.
It's 1995 all over again! (laughs)
I'm sure the vast majority of the PSP's catalogue will consist of remakes of old PlayStation games.
For the good of the industry I would actually like to see original games on the PSP and not just remakes.

Do you think it will be a success?
I don't think so.
I reckon our Nintendo DS will sweep the floor with it.
What do they have?
They have Square Enix.
They will probably release a traditional RPG [role playing game].
Children are bored of RPG's.
Kids don't want to have long conversations with NPC's [non-playable characters] or random battles with enemies.
They want Pokemon.
They want interaction.
They want communication.
They want screens in which you can write and send messages to your friends and in which you can actually touch the game characters.
The DS opens new possibilities in the gaming, it makes it more accessible, more social.
The DS will make the world a better place.
Sony cannot see that because long ago Sony lost track of the values that make the Japanese game industry the best in the world.

Which are?
Loyalty.
Innovation.
Boldness.
Sure, little by little, Western values creep into our society.
We have lost partners along the way, like Square, and recently Capcom. We felt their betrayal very deeply.
Poor Shigery was disconsolate, he was personally let down by Mikami [Shinji Mikami, Capcom executive] after reaching a gentleman's agreement with him.
They shook hands and gave their word, in my day, that was enough to seal any deal.
Mikami is a double faced bastard, that's what he is.
What kind of man breaks his word?
So we know what it is like to lose allies.
They were lured by the money and the glittering lights.
Well, those lights are the lights of the train coming straight ahead at you. We are that train, and we will run over anyone in our way.

So Nintendo will no longer have a cordial relationship with Capcom?
Let's say we may forgive, but never forget.
Frankly, I couldn’t care less about Mikami, but I feel sorry for Shigery, he's so sensitive.
He's an artist, and as such, he's very easily affected by external developments, and I fear once again he needs my help and guidance to keep him on track.
Like when he was designing Jumpman [Nintendo character Mario], he wasn't going through a particularly happy period of his life, and that led to carelessness and abandon.
For instance, he didn't want to give Jumpman a moustache because he thought it made Jumpman look like Hitler.
But I told him, Jumpman is Italian, Italians are hairy, he needs a moustache, and so what if some idiots think he looks like Hitler?
Let's take the risk.
He who dares, wins, then and now, in business and in life.

But the current economic climate in Japan favors caution and playing it safe.
You mean the recession?
The near collapse of our banking system?
The weakness of the Yen?
Do you think in all my years in the business the wind has never blown against me?
We have many enterprises in our hands.
We have the DS.
We have Revolution [Nintendo's next generation system] and we have our new Film Production division.
Some of the stuff those boys are doing is amazing.
Revolutionary.
The Americans won't be able to compete, and it will be yet another market that we will snatch away from them.
What Godzilla started we will finish (laughs).

What are your predictions for the next hardware generation?
From a technological point of view, all machines will be pretty evenly matched up.
So what will make the difference will be the software, and Nintendo is the best software house in the world.
Revolution will be the perfect platform to demonstrate that.
The name is no coincidence.
It will be revolutionary.
The technology, the software libraries, the control method.
And it will interact with the DS in ways never thought possible.
From a financial point of view, the next two years won't be very profitable for everyone, but as soon as there's an installed user base for the new consoles, the next generation will prove to be the most profitable one. Not everybody will get to that point.
Certainly not Sega (laughs).
They were a worthy rival but look where they are now, fighting for the scraps of the sports game market, they cannot even compete with a bunch of Canadians.
I mean look at their logo, it's a leaf! (laughs)
And Sega is in this position because they had neither vision nor courage during the last hardware generation.
Winning the console wars will take boldness.
It will take a huge gamble.
But I've always told the heads of my software and hardware groups — no guts, no glory.

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the_shpydar

2. Posted:

Yamauchi-san was so fracking awesome.

There are so many great quotes in that interview, I can't decide if my favorite is the MS/Ballmer story or the one of him telling Shiggy that Italians are hairy. :D

The Shpydarloggery
She-Ra is awesome. If you believe otherwise, you are clearly wrong. Also, Lindsey Stirling. Because violin awesomeness.
Current E.T. count: 21 Copies. 2 Sealed, 6 CIB, 3 Boxed, 10 Loose.

3DS Friend Code: 2578-3211-9319 | Nintendo Network ID: theShpydar

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Happy_Mask

3. Posted:

Yamauchi wrote:

So you are not a fan of the PSP?
The PSP is probably the worst concept for a handheld device I've ever seen.
And I should know, I released the Virtual Boy [Nintendo's failed Virtual Reality system] (laughs).
First of all, look at the game media.
They come in discs for God's sake!
Discs load.
A kid will get in the bus on his way to school and insert a disc on the machine.
By the time the game has loaded the boy has arrived to his school.
If he wants to play during recess he will have to leave the game loading during class.
And that's not what handheld gaming is about.
Handheld gaming is about gaming on the go, about instant thrills.
And that's why a handheld console must be small and light, it has to be carried everywhere.
Look at the size and weight of the PSP, you could kill a man with it.
Look at its shape.
It's so threatening.
It's shaped like a giant penis.
But the main problem the PSP has is its battery life.
Most of the power is drained during the loading process.
By the time you start to enjoy yourself, the battery will run out.
And the batteries are such low quality!
They break very often and need constant replacements.
The PSP has very expensive components, which I guess can eventually work out to Sony's advantage.
I think that's how they will probably make a profit, by selling battery replacements.

This is flipping hilarious. I still love the old guy's personality, he was awesome. :D

[16:08] LordJumpMad Hides his gut with a griddle
[16:08] Reala: what ljm does for cash is ljm's business
[16:08] LordJumpMad: Gotta look good my my next game u_u

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faint

4. Posted:

Did I read this correctly? Did he state that he was the only reason the shareholders didn't sell to Microsoft?

friend code: 0103-9004-2456

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SMEXIZELDAMAN

5. Posted:

Wow, he seems like an elitist jerk :O

Edited on by SMEXIZELDAMAN

Lord Head Admin of SonyLife
♥♥♥Videogames are lame♥♥♥

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Happy_Mask

6. Posted:

SMEXIZELDAMAN wrote:

Wow, he seems like an elitist jerk :O

I think it's mostly because he's the one saying it that it's funny, if it was anyone else it would be far less amusing.

[16:08] LordJumpMad Hides his gut with a griddle
[16:08] Reala: what ljm does for cash is ljm's business
[16:08] LordJumpMad: Gotta look good my my next game u_u

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BadKitty

7. Posted:

Untitled

Meow~
BadKittysDomain!
[13:12] LordJumpMad stick his thong out at eme
[17:24] LordJumpMad: I will never male you happy >:[
[21:11] LordJumpMad: You insluted my words >:[
[16:32] turtlelink: gdi emmy. You're probly the best person I've battled on Nlife so far u_u

3DS Friend Code: 3952-7082-7558 | Twitter: Emeralds110

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Squashy

8. Posted:

This is a great place to make my first ever Nintendo Life post I think!

Reading this shows me why Yamauchi-San has such a fearsome reputation, it's amazing to hear somebody from Nintendo speak in the way that he does in this interview. Can you ever imagine anybody else from Ninty saying the PSP looks like a giant penis!? Shocking and hilarious, I love the guy!

Squashy