Nintendo’s former president Hiroshi Yamauchi has died of pneumonia at age 85. Mr. Yamauchi ran Nintendo for 53 years, taking it from the slightly seedy makers of trading cards and love hotel investors, into the company that would bring us the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), SNES, N64 and the GameCube.
Mr. Yamauchi retired over a decade ago when Satoru Iwata took over. Yet nearly ever decision he made from the 1980s until his retirement was critical is making Nintendo a household name. From the creation of the Mario character from Super Mario Bros. to the splitting up of development teams to work on separate projects in competition to each other, his decisions have lasting effect. His ideas became a template that helped Nintendo built its success and later companies would model themselves after.
Hiroshi Yamauchi was notoriously strict and held to the high standards he set for the company. He helped build video gaming as we know it today. His funeral will take place on Sunday.