Nintendo's Hiroshi Yamauchi Dies Aged 85

Nintendo's Hiroshi Yamauchi Dies Aged 85

At the time of his death he was the 12th richest man in Japan, and Nintendo's second largest shareholder.

Hiroshi Yamauchi, the man who made Nintendo what it is today and Satoru Iwata's immediate predecessor, has died. He was 85 at the time of his death, and passed in hospital after a bout of pneumonia. A Nintendo spokesman said that the company was mourning for the "loss of the former Nintendo president Mr Hiroshi Yamauchi, who sadly passed away this morning." Industry leaders were saddened by the news, many echoing Ian Livingstone of Games Workshop's plaudit, that Yamauchi was "a true visionary."

Yamauchi was the man who took Nintendo from next to nothing to riches. His grandfather, after suffering a stroke, brought him in when he was only 22, to run the company. Yamauchi insisted on being the only family member working at Nintendo - it meant firing his cousin - and he rode out a strike early in his career by firing long-time employees who questioned his authority. Clearly, even at 22, he had what it took to be the boss, but it would need something altogether different to transform a lowly playing card manufacturer into a major player, particularly since - as Yamauchi soon realized - playing cards were never going to be big business. By the 1960s Nintendo was a toy maker, and soon after that it moved into electronic gaming. Arcades were becoming the next big thing, and Nintendo's Donkey Kong became classic arcade's biggest star. That paved the way for the Nintendo we know today, and Yamauchi was the man in charge throughout.

When he stepped down in 2002, he'd seen it all, from playing cards to GameCubes, arcades, Super Mario and Shigeru Miyamoto. He was Nintendo, and Nintendo was Yamauchi. While he remained on the Board of Directors until 2005, that was his last link with the company he'd built. At the time of his death, he was Nintendo's second largest shareholder, and Japan's 12th richest man.

Source: BBC


RIP to a true legend of gaming. One of the men who made video games the huge success that they are today. Who knows where we'd be without him.

That's quite a life story, fancy firing your own cousin and getting away with, that's some balls. It would be sad, but eighty five and twelfth richest guy in Japan, that's a damn good run!

One of the greatest names in gaming ever is gone, I'm off to dig out my N64. Black Wii U's all round?

While he hated playing video games, he still kept on going with making them, and really putting effort in it trying to make them good by combining the right people.

That deserves some respect.


Wasn't he also responsible for those Nintendo-owned love hotels too?

Such a sad day for gamers everywhere - even those who don't share my love for Nintendo.

Who knows where gaming would be if Ninty hadn't resurrected the industry with the NES?

Rest In Peace, Yamauchi-San.

The man was certainly unique.

He wasn't particularly fond of video games, but he knew what would sell, and what wouldn't.

Miyamoto would give him the general gist of a game he was thinking of working on, and right away, Yamauchi could determine whether it would be something that would succeed.

He didn't like them, but he made sure they were the best they could be.


Wherever you are, know that we truly appreciate everything you've done for this medium. My condolences to his family and to Nintendo for this loss.

Wasn't he also responsible for those Nintendo-owned love hotels too?

Yup, as well as a taxi company, a brand of instant rice and some other ventures, all of which failed.

Still, he's also the guy who personally hired Shigeru Miyamoto and discovered Gunpei Yokoi on his factory floor tinkering away on a hobby project.

The man had an uncanny eye for great talent, kind of like a Japanese Steve Jobs[1].

[1] Or maybe Jobs was the American Yamauchi

one of if not the most important figure in gaming. Miyamoto is now the last of the three key figures of Nintendo's birth as a game company still alive (the 3rd was Gunpei Yokoi if anyone is wondering). May he rest in peace.

85 is a good run, sounds like he was quite a ruthless boss but there is no denying how successful he was. Even though he as at rest his achievements will live on for a long time, probably even after Nintendos long gone too.

85 years is a good run.

RIP dude.

Thanks for bringing back gaming to North America.

He had an awesome life and did great things!
Thank you for your amazing eye for business and using it to make such an amazing company with amazing games!
RIP, Mr. Yamauchi.

Hiroshi Yamauchi was a visionary. He brought some of the brightest talents in Japan together to change the gaming landscape completely. And he was a man with no patience for the banal. None of his successors will ever be the same. At least he lived a long and fulfilling life, working his way up from the bottom to creating one of the most successful Japanese companies of all time.

RIP Yamauchi San

Well, then. I hope this guy had a good life. See you later.

That's a true business man right there, he wanted his company to succeed and didn't take no for an answer, I'm glad he made a company that will hopefully last a long time


You never seem to know the stories of these people until they pass away, which is sad. They should be celebrated before they die. He may not have been the most pleasant man to work for or anything but you can't deny gaming wouldn't be what it is today without his decision to pursue digital entertainment or go bust.

This guy was amazing. That's all that needs to be said.

Shine on, you magnificent bastard. You brought us here.


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