Did you have a Nintendo back in the 1980s and ‘90s? Did you go to someone’s house and play their NES? I did. We have one man to thank for that.
Nintendo founder Hiroshi Yamauchi died in his native Japan early this morning of pneumonia complications. He was 85 years old. But did you know Nintendo has been around since the 1940s? No, not as an electronic gaming company, but as a card game maker. Mr. Yamauchi inherited it after his grandfather’s death in 1949. By the late 1970s, he saw the rise of the home video game, and put his innovative skills to work. By the mid-80s, Nintendo was the world leader in home gaming, and names like Donkey Kong, Super Mario Brothers, and Zelda became household names. In the early ‘90s, Yamiuchi followed that with Game Boy and games like Tetris Super Nintendo and games like Final Fight, Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat. Yamauchi retired in 2002. In recent years, Xbox and Playstation have knocked Nintendo off the home gaming throne.
But nobody can deny the impact Hiroshi Yamachi’s Nintendo Entertainment System has had on our pop culture and psyche. Even today the Nintendo Wii is having moderate success. The more I learn about Mr. Yamauchi, the more I respect his ability to have success and keep a low profile about it. Okay, maybe it was a different time when he ran Nintendo, but I never saw him at a press conference displaying Nintendo’s new product. In fact, I don’t remember him being in the public eye much at all. But yet he created an empire, and according to Forbes, his worth is over $7 billion. So he did a lot of things right. What’s your favorite Nintendo memory?