The former president of Nintendo revolutionized the video game industry by introducing the world to Super Mario died Thursday morning of pneumonia at a hospital in Japan. Yamauchi introduced America to Nintendo Entertainment System in 1985. Hiroshi Yamauchi ran the firm from 1949 until 2002; Mr. Yamauchi was the second highest shareholder at the time of his death.
During, Mr. Yamauchi time as president of Nintendo he took over a small-time collectable trading card company and built it into one of the most recognizable and successful video games brands today. Mr. Yamauchi took over Nintendo after his grandfather suffered a stroke. After several years developing the firm’s existing trading card business, Mr. Yamauchi turned to electronic entertainment. He utilized the work of legendary games designer Shigeru Miyamoto, who had made Donkey Kong, as a way of breaking into the US arcade game market. Mr. Miyamoto’s later work was pivotal in the success of Nintendo’s home entertainment systems with games such as Super Mario, Legend of Zelda and Starfox became commercial smashes and household names. Mr. Yamauchi left his position as president in 2002, taking a place on the firm’s board of directors. In 2005, Hiroshi left the company entirely.Hiroshi Yamauchi will be remembered for transforming a run-of the-mill trading card company into an entertainment empire in video games. Mr. Yamauchi understood the social value of play, and economic potential of electronic gaming. In addition, Hiroshi Yamauchi steered Nintendo on its own path and was undaunted by the actions of his competitors. Hiroshi Yamauchi was a true visionary.