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Game Over: Former Nintendo President Hiroshi Yamauchi Dies at 85

The man who oversaw Nintendo's transformation into a video game company died today

smithsonian.com

Photo: Tim Notari

Hiroshi Yamauchi didn’t invent video games. He wasn’t the man responsible for first putting video games in the home—not in the specific sense of the word “first,” anyway. But Hiroshi Yamauchi was, with all likelihood, the man that first brought video games into your home.

Yamauchi took over as president of Nintendo in 1949, back when Nintendo was still “Nintendo Playing Card.” It was under his oversight that “middle-aged guy” became Jumpman, and, finally, Mario. Through five decades of work, Yamauchi turned Nintendo from a playing card manufacturer into a cultural icon and an economic juggernaut, and himself into, at one point, Japan’s richest manIn 2002 Yamauchi left Nintendo, and today he died, of pneumoniaat 85 in a Tokyo hospital.

The BBC:

Rob Crossley, associate editor of Computer and Video Games magazine, told the BBC: “You cannot overestimate the influence the man had on the games industry.”

“He spearheaded Nintendo as they moved into the arcade business, with hits such as Donkey Kong.

“This man was the president of Nintendo during the NES, the SNES, the N64 and the Gamecube – the first two were transformative pieces of electronic entertainment.”

More from Smithsonian.com:

Playing Video Games At Home Turns 40
Video Games Are Officially Art, According to the MoMA

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About Colin Schultz
Colin Schultz

Colin Schultz is a freelance science writer and editor based in Toronto, Canada. He blogs for Smart News and contributes to the American Geophysical Union. He has a B.Sc. in physical science and philosophy, and a M.A. in journalism.

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