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Hiroshi Yamauchi Dead at 85

Outspoken, no-nonsense former leader of Nintendo has passed away.

Hiroshi Yamauchi, the visionary who transitioned Nintendo from a card maker to a video game giant, has died at 85-years-old, the Associated Press reports.

Yamauchi reportedly died of pneumonia. He is survived by his wife and three children.

You might be too young to remember Yamauchi, but the Nintendo we grew up with would not exist without him. He was the president of Nintendo from 1949 until 2002.

The company said it “is in mourning today from the sad loss of the former Nintendo president Mr Hiroshi Yamauchi, who sadly passed away this morning.”

A funeral will be held at Nintendo this weekend.

Thanks for everything, Mr. Yamauchi.

Patrick Klepek on Google+
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Posted by Animasta

uh, you switched the numbers at the title of the story @patrickklepek

(well it's either 58 or 85)

Edited by hidys

85 not 58 in title. This man saved video games in America from almost complete annihilation. He will be missed.

Posted by patrickklepek

Gosh, you guys are fast.

Posted by K9

Pretty sure its 85. The guy took part in WW II.

Posted by Flappy

Wow...I'm real sorry to hear about this.

Thank you for your contributions and RIP.

Posted by bigevil1987

It's going to be weird when we reach the point of losing more and more of gaming's pioneers.

Edited by Ricerx

Bummer City

Posted by TooWalrus

Hm. That's too bad, but god damn did he do a lot with his life.

Edited by CaLe


Edited by MariachiMacabre

Well that sucks...

Posted by Morningstar

Rest in peace, God speed and thanks for all the games.

Posted by Hailinel

Truly a bummer. Video games wouldn't be what they are today without him. My condolences to his family and everyone at Nintendo. Rest in peace.

Edited by mrfluke


Edited by MetalMoog

Too bad he couldn't come back and save Nintendo now. RiP Yamauchi and Nintendo.

Edited by probablytuna

He left behind a pretty amazing legacy, I sure hope Nintendo stays strong and continues to build on that amidst the mounting problems it's been facing for the past year or so.

Posted by The_Nubster

One of video gaming's greatest architects. RIP Mr. Yamauchi.

Edited by MAJID

RIP to an absolute Titan of the gaming and business world

Posted by Thoseposers

The more i read about him the more i feel like he's the Steve Jobs of Japan

Posted by bitcloud
Posted by MeatSim

This is a big loss, but his legacy won't be forgotten.

Posted by leinad44

RIP man

Posted by bilbomarks

I don't mean to be insensitive, but does anyone else think he looks like an older, asian Owen Wilson?

Posted by GnaTSoL

This guy was just as important to the rise of Nintendo as Miyamoto. Everyone should treat it as such and hold both in revere.

Posted by Dalai

Man, where would we all be without him? Where would video games be without Mr. Yamauchi? Nintendo is why video games have gone mainstream and is as big as it is today, and Mr. Yamauchi played a big part in that, perhaps the biggest part.

Rest in peace.

Edited by RuthLoose

Total baller to the end. 1949-2002 is an unprecedented amount of time to serve at one company in such a high position. His presence is undoubtedly important in shaping the video game industry for generations to come.

Trivia: The Famicom's red color was a tribute to his favorite color scarf.

"Originally, the inexpensive steel body we planned to use was too fragile," explained Uemura about the Family Computer, "so we changed it to a highly durable plastic." But what about the red color? In 2010, Japanese site IT Media reported that the red plastic was cheaper than other colors, which was apparently why Nintendo selected it.

That's not true, said Uemura. "The reason why we used the dark red was simply due to an order from the company's president," Uemura continued, referring to former Nintendo honcho Hiroshi Yamauchi. "Our President often wore a scarf that was a similar dark red color, with the reason being this was a color he liked." -

Posted by StriderNo9

What would the industry look like if he didn't step in and build Nintendo to what it is.

Posted by RichyHahn4

I remember seeing his name in the credits in my games as a kid...R.I.P.

Edited by believer258

1949 until 2002

Whoa. He must have made his way into the company as CEO early. Is my math wrong or did he become CEO at 21?

Posted by Hailinel

@believer258: Yeah. The previous CEO, his grandfather, I think (?), apparently had a stroke and he stepped in charge.

Posted by BisonHero

"Yamauchi was the president of Nintendo Co. Ltd. during the years when it shifted from being a trading card company to a video game company."

I think the wiki summary is incorrect. Nintendo was a playing card company, not a trading card company, right? Someone care to fix that?

Posted by Hailinel

@bisonhero: Yeah. The company started as a hanafuda card maker. Not sure they ever produced trading cards.

Edited by DeF

I think it's save to say that we wouldn't be HERE today if it weren't for him and the way he transformed gaming into what we know today.


"We will continue to treasure the values Yamauchi taught us — that what makes you unique lies at the core of entertainment. And we at Nintendo will continue to change the company flexibly to adapt to the times, as Yamauchi did, to carry on his spirit," Iwata said in a statement.

Edited by King9999

1949 until 2002

Whoa. He must have made his way into the company as CEO early. Is my math wrong or did he become CEO at 21?

His first and only role at Nintendo was president and CEO. So yeah, you're correct.

Edited by King9999

Thanks for the childhood memories, and for helping me to forge my path in life. I wish I could have met you so that I could be terrified by your presence, like so many others have experienced working under you. Nobody will ever match what you have done for the industry, and nobody will have the balls that you had to become as successful as you did. That "take no shit from anyone" attitude commanded respect. RIP.

Not only did he save video games, he also saved baseball for Seattle. That was his way of giving back to the city since Nintendo of America was established there.

Posted by MormonWarrior

Wow he lived an interesting and very full life. What a neat man. He certainly affected my life through his influence with Nintendo. And being the president for over fifty years? That's insanity! You'd never hear of something like that in the US.

P.S. It's not a tragedy when somebody who's lived a full, long life passes away from natural causes, people. Most of you seem to realize this and are simply honoring him, so that's good. He already retired from Nintendo back in 2002 so there's no difference there either. When my great-grandmother died at 93, it wasn't a tragedy. Family gathered together to remember her and honor her memory, but pretty much nobody was horribly distraught about it. This is a good time to look back and honor this influential leader in the games industry. I can't see myself thinking death is a "bummer" at such an advanced age. I'd probably welcome it. My great-grandparents certainly did.

Posted by Drakir

@k9: So thats makes him a 13 years old when Pearl harbor was attacked. Dont think he served. :)

Posted by Gamer_152

This is sad to see, I have a lot of respect for the guy.

Edited by King9999

You all should read the book Game Over: Press Start to Continue by David Sheff. Provides a great insight into how Yamauchi's mind worked, as well as why he was feared/respected by everyone.

Edited by L33T_HAXOR

RIP Hiroshi Yamauchi

Such an amazing life story and legacy. A true visionary.

Edited by porjos
Edited by Adrian79

I owe almost every happy childhood memory I have to this man, (well him and Shigeru Miyamoto of course).RIP Hiroshi Yamauchi.

Edited by JamesJeux007

I wasn't following video games coverage at the time so I don't know anything about the guy, but if you look at the games Nintendo put out during the time he was President and how they changed the gaming industry forever, I'd say he did good.

Here's to you, Yamauchi.

Posted by metalsnakezero

Nintendo wouldn't be here without him. R.I.P

Posted by RecSpec

Really saddened by this news. I'd probably be writing blogs about books and stuff and be working some dead end job if he didn't do what he did for the industry. RIP.

Posted by SaturdayNightSpecials

I'm honestly kind of shocked that he wasn't dead already

Posted by JJOR64

Without this man turning Nintendo into a video game company, I wouldn't be on this very site.

Posted by Brake

@king9999 said:

You all should read the book Game Over: Press Start to Continue by David Sheff.

Just what I was gonna say. Yamauchi was an effin baller. RIP sir and thanks for everything!

Posted by kishinfoulux

@gnatsol said:

This guy was just as important to the rise of Nintendo as Miyamoto. Everyone should treat it as such and hold both in revere.

Indeed. RIP to a true industry legend. Most of us wouldn't be here, without him. Shame he probably won't get much coverage in general media.

Posted by Vigorousjammer

Definitely a visionary, a legend. 85 years is a long time, so it's good to hear he at least lived a long, worthwhile life. Still, he will be missed. RIP

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