For those that haven't heard, Hiroshi Yamauchi passed away. While few may recognize the name, almost all of us owe the entirety of our geekiness to him. Yamauchi was the Nintendo president that first made the push to turn Nintendo in to a video game company, and without him our world would be very different.
The article I linked is a great read because it shows how Nintendo became what it is today. Had he not taken bold steps when he became Nintendo's third president, the company would still be making... playing cards. Not even cool ones, just your standard decks of poker cards.
When Atari first made Pong, it was Yamauchi who made his company throw its hat in to the ring. From there, as we all know from our childhoods, Nintendo was the reigning king of the consoles throughout most of Yamauchi's presidency, up until he retired during Gamecube's early days.
Think about it though. Without Nintendo we wouldn't have Mario, Legend of Zelda, Pokemon, Metroid, Donkey Kong, Kirby... and without the overwhelming success of consoles (due largely to Nintendo), we wouldn't have Playstation or Xbox either. Would PC gaming even have the presence it does today? Would arcades have existed?
It's a butterfly effect, really. Yamauchi saw that the company wouldn't survive on making playing cards, so he signed a deal with Disney to make cards for kids. After learning that kids were their target audience, he capitalized on Atari's success and developed the Nintendo Entertainment System. If he hadn't become president, if he hadn't tried to save the company, and if he hadn't taken a risk in a totally unknown market, we may have nothing.
Don't get me wrong, this isn't some faux eulogy for a guy whose name I didn't really know before today. Instead it's a realization of the impact he's had on the lives of me and almost everyone I know. Nintendo's original system may not have been everyone's first gaming experience, but it is largely responsible for every aspect of our gaming culture today. For that, I say thank you to Mr. Yamauchi.
See you tomorrow!
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