Many gamers might remember the name Hiroshi Yamauchi, but for anyone that doesn’t, he’s an important figure in the world of video games. He was the third president of Nintendo (remember, Nintendo was founded in the late 1800s) and ran the company from 1949 until the early 2000s, and was the man in charge when the Big N started making video games in the first place.
In some ways, he was a heartless bastard; he didn’t so much as control Nintendo as he ruled it, supposedly even firing his older cousin to be the only one of the family working there. He was the man who made mandatory that any game on the NES had to be processed by Nintendo, insisting that only Nintendo itself could make the cartridges and would designate carts to companies (and only five games a year).
He was the man who gave the green light on new projects, hired on the great engineer Gunpei Yokoi (head of R&D1, the team behind the Game Boy, Virtual Boy,Metroid and Kid Icarus among other projects), and most importantly let Shigeru Miyamoto do his thing. He led Nintendo from the time they made kid’s toys through the Gamecube era, and—really—they owe a lot of their success to his leadership… as firm as grasp and ruthless a businessman as he could be at times.
Rest in peace, Mr. Yamauchi. You were responsible for some awesome, awesome stuff, and we wouldn’t have this business as it is without you.