Former Nintendo president Hiroshi Yamauchi, 1927-2013 ⊟
Yamauchi took over his grandfather’s hanafuda card company at the age of 22, driving its transformation into a thriving toy maker and then a video game powerhouse. During those transitions, he fostered inimitable talents at Nintendo like Game Boy creator Gunpei Yokoi, famed designer Shigeru Miyamoto, and the firm’s current president Satoru Iwata.
Just as important, he instilled principles in the company that endure there today a decade after his retirement, emphasizing compelling software over powerful hardware, and pushing his employees to create unique experiences.
"What did Hiroshi Yamauchi care about? He couldn’t stand making the same kind of toy the other guy was making, so whatever you showed him, you knew he was going to ask, ‘How is this different from what everybody else is doing?’ The worst way to answer was to tell him, ‘It’s not different, it’s just a little better.’ He’d be furious. He was very clear on just how foolish that attitude was for a toy company."
- Iwata (excerpt from Osamu Onoue’s Nintendo Magic; image via Bagemu)
Yamauchi passed away today due to complications from pneumonia, just a year after his wife Michiko died. He is survived by his two daughters, Yoko and Fujiko, and his son Katsuhito.