News Article

Feature: Hiroshi Yamauchi - The Man Who Made Nintendo

Posted by Damien McFerran

We pay tribute to the former Nintendo president, who died today

Earlier today, we reported on the sad news that former Nintendo president Hiroshi Yamauchi had passed away at the age of 85. For many younger Nintendo fans, the name might not mean anything — Yamauchi's time in charge lasted from 1949 to 2002, and Nintendo's recent glory years have been presided over by his successor and current Nintendo president Satoru Iwata.

Those who have been introduced to the company via its wildly successful DS and Wii consoles won't be familiar with the man who took his grandfather's playing card company and transformed it into one of the world's most recognisable brands, restoring battered confidence in the ailing video games industry in the process. To say that Yamauchi is the most important person in Nintendo's 124 year history is no overstatement or exaggeration; this ruthless yet savvy businessman was behind all of the company's key moves during the '80s and '90s and was instrumental in the creation of the domestic video game market as we know it today. The most remarkable thing is that Yamauchi was famously disinterested in games — he rarely played them and prefered to entertain himself with the more civilised Japanese board game, Go.

It's often said that to be truly successful in business you need to first experience adversity, and that is certainly true of Yamauchi. Forced to quit his university studies and take the reins at Nintendo when his grandfather suffered a stroke and was unable to run the company, Yamauchi's early years at the firm were testing. He didn't make things easy for himself, however; before accepting the position he had his grandfather remove all other family members from the staff — presumably to make his power absolute — and was faced with an aggrieved workforce which believed him to be ill-suited and too inexperienced to assume rule. Yamauchi responded in his typically bold style and fired the ringleaders who convinced other staff to go on strike, thereby restoring order.

Early in his career, Yamauchi displayed his keen eye for business. Under his command, Nintendo became the first Japanese company to produce Western-style plastic playing cards and in 1959 signed a deal with Disney to create themed decks intended for family use. This venture was such a success that Nintendo soon dominated the playing card industry in Japan, a move which ironically resulted in Yamauchi becoming dissatisfied with the company's singular stance. When he visited the biggest manufacturer of playing cards in the US he was struck by the fact that the company operated out of a small office; it was a depressing illustration of just how small the market was in global terms. Upon his return to Japan, he decided that Nintendo's future lay elsewhere and not in the industry it now controlled.

Like all seasoned businessmen, Yamauchi has had more than one encounter with failure, and his first occurred when he tried to diversify Nintendo's business interests. The infamous "Love Hotel" chain — where amorous couples could rent rooms by the hour — is possibly the best known of these ventures, but Yamauchi also dabbled in bowling alleys and taxi firms. These all proved to be disastrous, bringing the company to its knees. Nintendo — and Yamauchi himself — would be saved by the genius of Gunpei Yokoi, a lowly engineer who created gizmos during his spare time for his own personal entertainment. On a routine walk around the factory Yamauchi is said to have spotted Yokoi fooling around with his latest invention, a retractable claw which could be used to grab nearby objects. Seeing the potential of the product as a child's plaything, Yamauchi marketed it as the "Ultra Hand". Launched on the Japanese market in the sixties, it sold over a million units and convinced the Nintendo president that the company should move into creating toys.

Yokoi would become instrumental in Nintendo's success during this period, creating a wide range of unique toys which made good use of his degree in engineering. However, these triumphs were minor in comparison to the next phase of Nintendo's history — a phase instigated by the Nintendo president. During the late '70s Yamauchi been watching developments in the US with interest, noting that cheap, mass-produced electronic devices were slowly becoming commonplace in the home. One such application of this technology was video game consoles, and although he wasn't a fan of gaming himself, Yamauchi could see that this new medium was going to be incredibly popular. Nintendo released the Color TV Game 6 in 1977 and started to produce its own coin-op titles. These found favour in Japan but gained little attention in North America, and it wasn't until Shigeru Miyamoto's Donkey Kong that the firm had its first Western success.

Nintendo's next product would come to define the company and created a legacy which endures to this very day. The Family Computer — or Famicom for short — launched in 1983 and became the must-have product for Japanese men, women and children alike. It wasn't all plain sailing, however — when it was discovered that an early batch of the consoles had a manufacturing defect, Yamauchi displayed the business acumen which would typify his career — he ordered a complete recall of every console at Nintendo's cost, claiming that to ignore the problem would damage the company's reputation. The procedure was expensive and many other firms would have simply chosen to ignore the issue, but Yamauchi knew how important it was to maintain the company's reputation with the general public.

It is said that during the Famicom era, Yamauchi hand-picked titles for the format and had an incredible degree of hands-on control over the system's library — a remarkable situation when you consider his complete lack of experience and dislike for video games in general. He was able to spot which titles would sell and which ones wouldn't, and this intuition — along with strong-arm tactics which forbade Famicom developers from releasing their games on rival platforms — allowed Nintendo to effectively own the home console market in Japan. Although Nintendo was king of the hill in its homeland, Yamauchi knew that the bigger prize lay on the other side of the Pacific Ocean. Against all odds — and the advice of many experts in the US toy industry — Nintendo launched the Famicom as the Nintendo Entertainment System in 1985. Again, without Yamauchi's vision and drive this momentous event would simply never have taken place; he was utterly convinced that the console could be a success, despite the fact that the North American market was still reeling from the video game crash of 1983 and that toy stores had a very dim view of gaming systems. Nintendo — and Yamauchi — persevered, and the rest is history.

The commercial breakthrough of the NES allowed Nintendo to gain a valuable foothold in what was the most lucrative market on the planet. Nintendo of America — operated by Yamauchi's son-in-law Minoru Arakawa and Howard Lincoln — was simply the only game in town if you were an American kid in the late '80s and early '90s, and the console gave the industry some of the most iconic games of all time, including Super Mario Bros. 3, The Legend of Zelda and Mega Man. Rivals Atari and Sega struggled to compete thanks to Nintendo's depth of third-party support. Firms such as Capcom, Konami, Square, Taito, Namco and Enix all put their weight behind the console and were handsomely rewarded with bumper sales as a result.

The SNES followed, and although the system faced stiffer competition from Sega's Mega Drive / Genesis, it was still the most popular system of its time in terms of worldwide sales. During this period, Yamauchi's foresight proved invaluable once again; he could see the benefit of working with 3D visuals and fostered Nintendo's relationship with UK studio Argonaut — a partnership which would create the Super FX chip and give the company vital experience in the realm of 3D. Speaking exclusively to Nintendo Life, Argonaut founder Jez San gives a fascinating insight into what it was like negotiating with the great man. "I met with him at the start of Argonaut's relationship with Nintendo," he says. "I used to hear stories from my friend Henk Rogers about what a formidable and intelligent Go player Mr Yamauchi was. Even before I met him, I expected he'd be the most powerful — not to mention scary — man I'd ever met. I was right. On the day of our first encounter I was taken into his meeting room and they sat me down in the centre of the room on a chair, on my own. The others stood to the side. The room was very hot, and I was soon sweltering. I wasn't used to the humidity in Kyoto, but I was fully suited and this room felt much more than 30 degrees — I suspect it was deliberate ploy to intimidate the new 'Gaijin'.

"He entered the room like some kind of Mafia or Yakuza boss, and said — via his daughter Yoko, who was acting as translator — that they wanted to learn how to make 3D games and wanted to sign up Argonaut to do three such games for Nintendo. At the same time we would hold classes and teach Nintendo's developers how to make 3D games. He only asked one question: 'How much do you want?' It was at this point I know I could ask practically any amount, so I thought of the biggest number I could possibly think of, which was 'One Million Dollars' (without little finger in mouth, Dr. Evil-style) but then I got greedy and doubled it. I told him $2 million and instantly he said 'Yes, OK'. And that was it. the meeting was over.

"I knew straight afterwards that he would've said yes no matter what I asked for. I'm sure if I had said $10 million or $20 million, he probably would've agreed. I was almost kicking myself with the 'low' figure I had asked for, despite it being more money than I'd ever seen in my life! Later that day I got back to my hotel and got a call from my brother in England, who pointed out that $2 million had just turned up in my bank account! In the west, everything is a long-winded legal negotiation and games contracts are milestone-based with most of the value being held up until you've finished making the games and dangled as a carrot to get it done. In Mr Yamauchi's case, it was all done on trust and honour, and barely even a handshake. Nintendo had sent the full value of the deal before we'd even signed the contract. That certainly made me want to deliver on our promises and give Nintendo all of our attention."

From business deals to selecting products, Yamauchi's hold on the company was absolute. He had input into almost everything Nintendo did, and would often have the final say on the various products the company released - right down to the finest detail. "He named my debut game, X for the Game Boy," recalls Dylan Cuthbert, another former Argonaut developer who worked on the SNES title Star Fox and eventually joined Nintendo himself. "He suddenly called Yoshio Sakamoto in the early hours of the morning — at home I think — and said, 'You are going to call it X', and that was that."

Yamauchi presided over what many continue to view as Nintendo's golden era, but the release of the Virtual Boy in 1995 was his first real stumble. The brainchild of Gunpei Yokoi, the console was a commercial failure and had little in the way of software support. Rumours persist that Gunpei wasn't ready to release the machine, but Yamauchi was convinced it would succeed on the name alone and instructed him to hurry it to market in order to plug the gap between the SNES and Nintendo's next console — the Nintendo 64 — which was some way off. It is here that Yamauchi displayed his less appealing side; according to reports, Yokoi was treated like an outcast within the company because of the Virtual Boy's failure. He would leave Nintendo not long afterwards to work with Bandai on the WonderSwan handheld — a rival for the Game Boy. One of Nintendo's most important employees, Yokoi was tragically killed in a road traffic accident in 1997.

By the time the Nintendo 64 hit store shelves, Nintendo's grip on the industry it had helped create was slipping. Yamauchi would later admit that he instructed Nintendo's hardware engineers to make the console difficult to program for, with the aim being to attract developers of only the finest talent. This reasoning was based on the understanding that Nintendo was still the biggest draw in town and that it would be inundated with studios keen to work on the new platform — but by the mid-'90s, Sony's PlayStation was the market leader and Nintendo no longer held the same kind of control over developers and publishers that it did during the NES and SNES eras. By sticking with expensive cartridges — which allowed Nintendo to exercise the same draconian licensing tactics it used so successfully in the 8 and 16-bit days — the company pushed away many of its most loyal partners, including Capcom and Square.

The GameCube would be Yamauchi's final throw of the dice as Nintendo president. Designed as a games console first and foremost — an edict which came from the president himself, who was skeptical of Sony and Microsoft's attempts to create an all-in-one media device for the living room — the system was attractive, had a fantastic controller and (possibly most importantly of all) was cheaper than its rivals despite offering the same kind of power. While it wasn't the commercial hit that Nintendo expected, the GameCube is cited by many as the quintessential games console — the compact and playful design (complete with carry handle) combined with some amazing first-party software have earned the system the adoration of a generation of players. It's a fitting tribute to Yamauchi, who always saw Nintendo as a maker of toys first and foremost.

After stepping down in 2002, Yamauchi remained on Nintendo's board of directors until 2005. Despite his apparent greed and desire to earn as much money as possible during his years with the company, he refused to take the retirement pension offered to him, insisting that Nintendo could make better use of the funds. In his later years he was generous with his vast wealth, helping to build a cancer treatment center in 2010. During his tumultuous career Yamauchi gained his fair share of detractors and ruffled a few feathers with his business practices, but his impact on the industry is almost immeasurable. Without Nintendo, video gaming would not be in the position it is in today, and without Yamauchi, there would simply be no Nintendo — at least not in the form we know and love today.

Ultra Hand, TV Game 6 and Popeye cards image credit:

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User Comments (96)



odd69 said:

Rest in peace and thank you, my childhood would have never been as good if it wasn't for this man.



SuperPeach said:

Thanks to him I have my favorite console of all time, the GameCube. None of the other consoles have had that same level of quality in games since then. Thank you Yamauchi, you are what made my childhood awesome.



Shambo said:

Very interesting article indeed, I could almost feel the anxiety of having to ask an amount of money in those circumstances... This man looks very stern, obviously ruled with an iron fist and used it to ground-pound this company out of the ground, and slam the roads flat and gates open to what Nintendo is today. Nothing less than my favourite gaming hard- and software company. In a way, it even is the only true gaming hardware company, as the other two big ones lost focus somewhere.
Very ironic, given this man's dislike for video games. But it were his game developers that later took over the company, so it makes sense.
If you see Mr. Miyamoto and Mr. Iwata at E3, you wouldn't think in terms of Yakuza anymore
The only Yakuza I think of then is 1&2 HD, which sadly didn't make it to Europe...



Relias said:

You dear sir.. became legendary.. by making Legends.. that will live forever in the hearts and souls of people around the world.. you helped save a industry that had crashed.. and very few people had interest in.. you sir are the one every gamer rather new or old.. rather a Nintendo fan or not.. needs to pay tribute to.. without you.. it is most likely the Video Game Industry in this day and age as it is.. would not be here.. we love you.. we hope you have a peaceful rest.. God knows you have earned that.. and maybe.. just maybe.. we can all meet you in the Nintendo Haven in Heaven one day.. God bless you and your family.. who our best.. and well wishes go to..



Tender_Cutlet said:

Can I just take a moment to share with other grieving members of the Ninty fraternity that If you wish to show the due degree of respect to Mr.Yamauchi, please bear in mind when attempting to honour him with the japanese suffix "San" to appreciate that it is used to acknowledge a peer and respect those of equal age and standing. The correct title for a Gentleman of far senior years and distinguished master in his field art is "Sensei". Shared with the greatest respect to all at this sad time.



Ryno said:

Yamauchi-san also bought the Seattle Mariners before they were about to move to Tampa Bay. In addition to building Nitnendo thank you for keeping the Mariners in Seattle.



Mommar said:

It's weird. Without him there would be no Nintendo. But based off of his later treatment of business partners he likely also thrust Nintendo into the third place spot it is now.



Jazzer94 said:

The Nintendo he was in charge of was the Nintendo I fell in love with farewell Yamauchi-sensei.



Freeon-Leon said:

Without this man the world would be so differently. Thanks Yamauchi-san.

Very good article Damien, it was a pleasure to read.



theblackdragon said:

@Capt_Charlie: With all due respect, if he were teaching me something or i was begging something from him, I might use 'sensei'. If I wanted to venerate him as some sort of god (as some here seem to be doing, which is whatev') I might use '-sama'. However, as a fellow human being on this earth who will someday join him (as well as the rest of you) in death, the term I chose today is '-san', and I'm going to stand by that. I'm not trying to honor him via a suffix, I'm merely acknowledging his status of personhood, if that makes any sense. I may as well have called him 'Mr. Yamauchi', the meaning would be the same.



DerpSandwich said:

This guy was a stubborn jerk. Heck of a businessman though, and he was in charge during some of the best years Nintendo has had. Rest in peace, Mr. Yamauchi, and thank you.



ferrers405 said:

Very good article, indirectly reminds me of childhood, great memories, i have to say - Thank You Nintendo former president - rest in peace.



edhe said:


What about -kun (if it's all the same, I'll skip the Japanese honorifics. I'm not Japanese after all.)

Great write up. I learned a few things reading this article.



ecco6t9 said:

He was the Japanese Steve Jobs and Steve could be called the American Yamauchi.



russellohh said:

Read up on Miyamoto's first interview with him, if you can. A fantastic look at the early days of the gaming side of the company, and a profound look into Miyamoto's mind.



RR529 said:

@edhe, -kun is used when referring to a male that you're personally close to. (very close friend, etc.)

Anyhow, I respect & thank the man for what he's done, and hope he's able to rest in peace.



Zael said:

Very good article, I want only to add one thing. It is true that nintendo license was a problem for third parties, but it is also true that nintendo had the risk of the console business and the costs for the console production, risks that software house didn't have.
Moreover, third parties paid high license costs but they gained many money the same (during nes and snes era)
Cartridges were a problem on n64 but I think that third parties betrayed nintendo in some way. Games like tekken or soul blade, resident evil or ff tactics, ridge racer could have entered in a n64 cartridge, I think that namco and square boycotted nintendo.
The n64 didn't have the cd but was much more powerful, i think that if all the third parties companies had decided to support the 64 as main console the the 64 would have been a great succes also without the cd
Today games like ff13 3 or sf4 or dead or alive could run on wii u but they aren't interested in porting them
The hardware is important but also with a great hardware probably they would not support nintendo well
This is why I have started to see nintendo as a console where play nintendo games only (and yes also games from first and second parties anc collaboration).
And I hope nintendo will return at top like in Yamauchi's times
Iwata has the capacity to do so, I hope he will make some changement to reboot the wii u



idork99 said:

Excellent article!...the only way to honor such an important person in our history. I especially love the Jez San story! It truly creates a vivid picture of the respect his intimidating presence demanded.

My deepest thoughts and prayers go to his family and friends. And thank you for all that you have done in creating the industry that I love.



AcesHigh said:

Excellent article! Thank you for sharing! It was a great trip down memory lane while serving as a great tribute to one of the industry's most relevant people



Guest1000000000 said:

You'll be remembered by us "Nintendo" gamers as the person who made "Nintendo" successful.

You ("Hiroshi Yamauchi") are AWESOME!!!!



thatguyEZ said:

Awesome article, along with some awesome nostalgia mixed in. He'll definitely be missed. <3



NintyMan said:

Yamauchi was quite a stark contrast to the light-hearted and friendly Iwata he appointed to succeed him. Determined, shrewd, and intimidating, he ruled his company like a tough shogun and always put the interests of his company first. Despite having an odd disinterest in them, Yamauchi was brilliant at marketing video games. He probably saw them as nothing more than glorified toys, really.

He and Miyamoto would also butt heads now and then. His business sense didn't work too well with the developers' creativity and the businessman's focus on quality for maximizing profit. Yamauchi wanted good games to make good money, which makes obvious sense, but his zeal for that idea would be like cracking the whip over the game developers. Which brings me back to Iwata. Yamauchi should get credit for appointing him, because he understood that Nintendo needed a president who would understand the developers better and make a better team effort with them so better games can be made and the company can make better profits as a result. Yamauchi had great respect because he demanded great respect. Today Iwata has great respect because he has very friendly relationships with the developers because he too was a developer himself.

Even though the disinterest he had for the the products his company made doesn't make sense, at least Yamauchi understood that Nintendo should be a company purely for video games, and so by appointing Iwata, a game developer, he wanted to make sure that Nintendo would stay that way. And even with Nintendo now using video game consoles for other media, they will still be a video game company at heart. Yamauchi was a man who made video gaming what it is, and all Western gamers should acknowledge him for that.

What an influence on something you don't even care for.



ledreppe said:

Being a lifelong Ninty fan, I can't help but feel myself well up on this sad day. I have so many happy memories of playing my NES and SNES when I was young. Little did I know of the boss of Nintendo at that time, I can at least now appreciate the greatness of the man that gave me so many magical memories back then. And that I get all nostalgic with today when I play games like Mario and so on on my Wii U all these years later.

Peace to you Yamauchi-Sensei, God must be welcoming you to heavrn for the sheer joy and happiness your leadership gave to so many.



Caryslan said:

It's amazing how far reaching Yamauchi's impact to gaming really is. Not only did he lead Nintendo, employ some of the greatest minds in the history of gaming, and lend his support to some of the best-selling systems of all time, he helped influnce gaming even outside of Nintendo.

His success helped revive the market in the US, led Sega to pull out all the stops to compete with Nintendo, and helped to some degree with Sony creating the Playstation.

Thus, not only should Nintendo fans offer a moment of silence for him, but so should Sony fans as well. In fact, no matter which platform you love modern gaming owes a debt to Yamauchi and the path that he and others helped create.

He deserves to be named alongside Ralph Baer and Nolan Bushnell as one of the fathers of video games. His leadership of Nintendo helped mold a thriving market, and this was from a man who never touched a video game in his life.

RIP Mr. Yamauchi, you helped mold a medium that millions enjoy today. My prayers will be there for you and your family.

Thank You....



BestBuck15 said:

Very sad news. I liked Nintendo way more when he was in charge. Nintendo would be nothing, only for this great man.



Znerd said:

Cant Really say more than whats already been said. Just thank you Hiroshi Yamauchi For giving me Heroes that arent Athlets and the best part about my life Nintendo



Giygas_95 said:

Rest in peace, sir. I grew up with an SNES and a Gamecube, and I must say thank you for all those memories.

I really hope Nintendo does something as a tribute to this man.



Ernest_The_Crab said:

@Falco He's also the one that destroyed 3rd party relationships and forced the current Nintendo to make amends. That's not exactly good.

He obviously has reasons to be respected, however that is not one of them.



triforcepower73 said:

So sad that I haven't seen anything about this amazing person's passing on any non-gaming sites, yet Steve Jobs' death was everywhere. And I get that he affected more people through his brands, but still. People carry on playing their angry birds or candy crush, not knowing that the guy who is one of the sole reasons those exist died today.



Giygas_95 said:

@triforcepower73 I actually just saw a Yahoo article about him, but it emphasized the fact that he owned the Seattle Mariners rather than the fact that he was an extremely influential Nintendo president.



marck13 said:

Thank you Yamauchi San and thank you guys for this very well written article.



Caryslan said:

@Falco How is he a troll? He's simply stating something that is common knowledge. Everyone knows Mr. Yamauchi's stance on third-parties, which bascially boiled down to "You play by Nintendo's rules or you can go take a hike." There was a famous spat between Namco and Nintendo over this very thing, and when Square left for the Playstation, he said of people who like RPGs "People who play RPGs are depressed gamers who like to sit alone in their dark rooms and play slow games"

I'm not bashing the man and I have all the respect in the world for him, but he did have something of a difficult stance when it came to third-parties. It was very difficult for him to open the Famicom to third-parties, and to him, Nintendo's status as the market leader and profit mattered above all else, even the relationships with third-parties.

Again, I respect the man and I'm not bashing him. He had his own management style, and it did get results that were successful.

Calling another member a "brain-dead troll" is going a bit far. If I can suggest something, go down to your local bookstore and look for a book named "Game Over" by David Sheff. It has a great look into how Nintendo operated during the NES and SNES era.



Jake_homs said:

Thank you for a wonderful article! I'm glad to have learned about Mr. Yamauchi and the history of Nintendo. It's articles like these which keep me coming back to NintendoLife. Thank you again, and RIP Yamauchi San.



Caryslan said:

@Falco I have shown respect if you noticed the comment I left in this post. But you are right, we should all be showing respect. You and I both have respected him for what he did, I admitted that much.

But calling another member a "brain-dead troll" has no place in these comments either.

I will end this here, since this is not the time or place for for a debate. I do agree with you on that. But keep in mind, I have tons of respect for him. Modern gaming would not be the same without him and Nintendo.



NintyMan said:

Fun fact: Hiroshi Yamauchi met Walt Disney for that 1959 Disney toy deal. It was the meeting of two great minds.



kereke12 said:

R.I.P. Mr.Yamauchi you made my childhood great. May he rest in peace...A very iconic man will be missed. Very Good article



Ren said:

R.I.P. to him, the end of an era in lots of ways. I wish Nintendo could have him back now, they need someone who knows business over there.



MontMartre said:

What a celebration! It's sad to have lost such an empowering figure. But just look at all the comments! All of them written by people of all ages sitting at their computer and reminiscing on all those wonderful childhood memories brought to us by this man! It truly is a testament to to everything the joys that this guy gave us all!



SCAR said:

He did a good job. Really, the Wii wouldn't have existed without this guy either, because it was mainly built around the GCN, but I don't think this guy may have known the specifics of the hardware they created, per se.

He chose a common place for business, and that's the most effective decision of all. It's good that he knew Mr. Iwata and Miyamoto were the some of the best suited contributors to Nintendo and left them in charge.




Nico07 said:

Great article and tribute to the legend that is Yamauchi. His business forsight helped build a generation of gaming that we enjoy today, and his presence will be missed. Iwata I believe had done great things for Nintendo as well and I think will keep Nintendo going in the right direction.



capitalism said:

RIP Yamauchi, you seriously made my childhood more awesome and filled it with memories I will never forget. You are the reason I'm a Nintendo fan till this day and I respect your conservative, iron fist approach to business. You will be missed.



Dpishere said:

RIP Yamauchi-san, thanks for all the great memories! I don't think anyone will forget about your incredible contributions to the gaming industry.



PuzzleMaster7 said:

Even though he was before my time, Mr. Yamauchi not only influenced the entire gaming industry for the better but also brought a lot of joy to over millions of lives throughout the decades.
R.I.P. Yamauchi-san



biglee said:

What a great article/biography of a successful businessman who luckily (for all of us) set his sights on making money by creating amazing video games. RIP Mr. Yamauchi and thank you for all the fond childhood (and adult) memories you've helped me to create. Long live Nintendo!



BAGBOY said:

The super famicom, the best console ever made and this man was behind it the whole time. I came here to pay my respects to such an amazing man and wish him well wherever he is, from the deepest of my childhood and teenage memories I just want to say thank you and good night.



WinterWarm said:

I'd like to first say how I appreciate the posters in this article for not being disrespectful or changing this into a debate.

I want to express my thanks to Mr. Yamauchi, he was a literal giant in his business.

I wasn't even aware Nintendo existed when he resigned from CEO.

And that's what so admirable about him, I'm not saying this out of nostalgia, I'm saying it because his actions will forever be alive in a way, they literally changed the world.

Any man can inspire those around him with his actions, but only the best can continue to inspire people after they've passed.

So rest in peace, Mr. Yamauchi, because you will always be the best.



Kage_88 said:

Genuinely shocked and saddened upon hearing about the passing of Hiroshi Yamauchi.

This article succinctly sums-up the man's achievements - which simply cannot be overstated. I know this from hours upon hours of research for my Honours degree. And I know this because he was responsible for some of the happiest moments of my childhood.

Rest in Peace Hiroshi Yamauchi - you definitely earned it. Oh, and tell the gods of luck I said "thanks".



elstif said:

RIP Yamauchi, you´ll be missed

Great article, it is interesting to know how he recall the famicon beacuse it had a problems and wanted to keep the integrity of the brand and the costumers happy.
Nintendo´s systems have always been quality products

It is disappointing to see that some of this has changed, I own all Nintendo consoles since the NES and they are all still working like the first day. Well not all, I bought the wii on releade date (Dec 2006) and it stopped working on 2011 and it is becuse it had big design problems but they never recall it.
Interesting to see how the first Nintendo console not being high quality and dying on users was after Yamauchi left the directors board...



Artwark said:

I will never forget you Hiroshi Yamauchi. rest in peace my friend. Even if many people don't know you, that doesn't change the fact that you are still the greatest businessman in video game history.



Zombie_Barioth said:

That wan't a design flaw, that was likely an update via Wiiconnect24 that caused just that. Nintendo did offer to have them repaired/replaced.

What a great article, for a many who didn't personally care for the products his company produced he certainly played a huge role in many peoples' childhoods. Like him or not hes certainly worthy of respect, may his legacy live on.

Rest in peace, yamauchi-san.



elstif said:

I know it is off-topic but it was, here is the physical problem:

The result is a dead GPU:

This only happened to the first model units, apparently they changed the design internally for later models. Mine was way out of warranty when this make the unit fail. Nintendo ask me for 65€ + shipping for the repair at the time

Point being that they knew these units problem but they never acknowledge it and never recall them, they let us keep the units with a dead sentence. That´s what we early wii buyers got in return for our loyalty this time...



HolyDiver said:

@Damo Excellent article. To be honest I don't read too many of these feature articles, but I really enjoyed reading this one. Maybe in part or all because of how fascinating it is to learn about the history of Yamauchi and Nintendo. Thank you.



Shiryu said:

I too wish to pay respects to Hiroshi Yamauchi. I wish to dedicate my next album coming out next Friday in this memory.


"Famicom Memoria XXX" is a celebration of 30 years of the Nintendo Famicom. 45 remixes/covers of 45 iconic NES games. Free download or high quality WAV digital pruchase from

I will drop a line on NL news submission next week.



Kirk said:

You know, when I pop my clogs I can only wish I will have done as much to be proud of in my life and leave as big and impacting a legacy as this guy has...



jayclayx said:

This is a reminder that nobody is forever and talking specifically in Nintendo, Shigeru Miyamoto may be the last guru at Nintendo and they must think carefully his succession to remain the essence Yamauchi were able to create in the company, so many great memories I have back in the days with the nes, snes, 64 and somehow in the gamecube, he always persecuted innovation not only on gameplay like nowadays but nintendo consoles were the most powerful in graphics term, it was a very magic synergy between power and fun, RIP Mister Yamauchi San.



VeeFlamesNL said:

May God Almighty watch over his soul...
He was an iconic figure... I'm just glad he left the company in good hands...



Zombie_Barioth said:

Wow, that never even came up when I searched it. I have a launch model too so its probably a very small batch that has that issue. Could be they assumed the issue would occure early on, so people would just return them. Kinda funny how all 3 consoles had the same issue.

Supposedly hes been training the younger staff, so hes apparently passing on his wisdom. Sounds like hes teaching them how to make good games, not to be another Miyamoto which is good.



scrubbyscum999 said:

While ruthless, without him there is a good chance there would be no Nintendo, and at the very least not like we know now. RIP, this man gets my props.



Urbanhispanic said:


Wow, what an excellent article. Keep up the good work.

I, myself, knew a lot about Nintendo but even I learned a few more nuggets of info about them. This is why I will stick with Nintendo until the day I leave this world.



Kirk said:

Hiroshi Yamauchi was to Nintendo what Steve Jobs was to Apple.



Peach64 said:

Very good article! I've also read that he wanted to really push online with the Gamecube but Iwata was against it. Even at the end, he knew what was going to become popular. On the flip side, his bullying tactics in the 8 and 16 bit days are a big reason why Nintendo now struggles to attract 3rd parties. They were huge jerks, and as soon as an alternative came along in the form of Sony, a lot of people couldn't wait to get away from Nintendo.

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