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Thursday, September 19, 2013

Hiroshi Yamauchi: In Memorium

Hiroshi Yamauchi, aged 85, passed away today. As a gamer, and someone who is fascinated with the art, business, and history of the medium, this is big news for me. Yamauchi was the president of Nintendo during its reconstruction into a video game developer and console designer- he made choices that brought Nintendo, and video gaming as a whole, out of a chaotic crash that occurred from 1983-85. He used some shrewd business tactics in order to create a stronghold of solidity that would cause Nintendo to become a household name, to never allow Sega and their attempts to secure dominance over them, through the Super Nintendo era.

He made a bad choice with Sony, I'll admit. He pushed for the creation of a console that, though powerful and revolutionary, was limited because of a reliance on cartridges and deliberately tough to develop for in order to weed out weak developers. A choice, perhaps, a bit too grounded in the business tactics of the NES and SNES, where finding the truly quality game developers was a necessity, as opposed to the 90s when the industry was once again beginning to blossom. He instead tried to turn the GameCube into a machine that would be easy to develop for and accessible to all.

He made great strides, and he made great mistakes.

But without him, Nintendo wouldn't have become what it is today. There would be no Wii Sports, no Super Mario Galaxy, no N64, no SNES. Yamauchi turned the tables on a dying industry and restored a level of quality to video games. He may not have been a fan of Role-Playing Games, but without him, Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door wouldn't have existed. Nor would Xenoblade. He made a medium that I love, that I respect, and that I enjoy the wonderfully strange one that it has become today. To that, I thank him. I thank him, and every single person who worked towards the creation of the Nintendo Entertainment System, and all the consoles beyond that. You brought joy and laughter and happiness to me, and many of those I know. Though you may not know him, dear reader, he's partially responsible for all 145 articles I've written on this site. And that makes him a man worthy of my respect.

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