Former Nintendo president Hiroshi Yamauchi, who joined the company in 1949 and is widely credited for turning Nintendo into a leading video game developer, has died at age 85.
Hiroshi, the grandson of Nintendo’s founder, was the head of Nintendo from 1949 to 2002, a time period during which he oversaw the releases of Game Boy, Nintendo 64, and GameCube.
But his biggest legacy may be the release of the Nintendo Entertainment System, which led to classic video games like Super Mario, Zelda, and Donkey Kong, and really redefined video gaming throughout the world.
“The entire Nintendo group will carry on the spirit of Mr. Yamauchi by honouring, in our approach to entertainment, the sense of value he has taught us — that there is merit in doing what is different — and at the same time, by changing Nintendo in accordance with changing times,” says Satoru Iwata, Nintendo’s CEO and president.
When Hiroshi chose to leave the company in 2002, he even refused to accept his retirement pension reportedly worth $9 to $14 million dollars, saying that Nintendo could put the money to better use.
Hiroshi was pivotal in the transition of Nintendo from a trading card based company to a global video gaming super power and of course, Pokémon.
In all, he ran Nintendo for 53 years and remained the second-largest shareholder until his death on 19 September 2013.