Nikkei has reported that Hiroshi Yamauchi has passed away. Known for his no-nonsense style of business at Nintendo, he turned the company around from making just playing cards and other gambling games to creating videogames. He demanded perfection in the videogames his company made.
He was responsible for many of the gears that set in motion what made Nintendo a household name to this day. He brought on Gunpei Yokoi, who went on to create the Game & Watch and Game Boy line of handhelds. He tasked Minoru Arakawa, his son-in-law, to handle the North American branch of Nintendo and to sell arcade units in the region. When that didn’t work well, he looked to Shigeru Miyamoto, who made the arcade hit Donkey Kong. Come the NES days, he realized that artists are just as important to making games as technicians were. If a game was to be made on the NES, he got the final say on its appearance on the console. Many credit the NES, and the presence of Super Mario Bros. on the system, for saving the North Amercian videogame market after the Great Videogame Crash of 1983.