Nintendo’s Hiroshi Yamauchi Passes Away at 85

Those who are part of the Nintendo family, as well as fans of the iconic gaming company, are carrying around heavy hearts today after learning of the passing of Hiroshi Yamauchi, the third president of the family run business and perhaps most influential Nintendo figure of all time. It was under his leadership that Nintendo made a successful transition from a playing card company to a console and video game firm. In other words, he shaped Nintendo as you now know it.

Nintendo actually started off selling playing cards when it was founded in 1889. It was still heavily involved in that business when Yamauchi took over from his grandfather in 1949, and during his more than 50 years sitting in the driver's seat, he transitioned Nintendo into one of the world's biggest video game hardware and software companies.

Hiroshi Yamauchi oversaw every Nintendo console launch up through the GameCube.

There are several things Yamauchi can be remembered for. One of those is discovering Shigeru Miyamoto, the designer of Donkey Kong. He can also be remembered for holding firm in his belief that there could still be big money to be made in video games after the industry crashed in 1983.

The Famicom (Nintendo Entertainment System, or NES in the U.S.) was developed during Yamauchi's 52-year tenure, as were several other consoles up through the GameCube. By the time he had handed the reins over to Satoru Iwata, Yamauchi had become one of the richest men in the world.

Yamauchi was 85 years old when he passed away.