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RIP Hiroshi Yamauchi & Nintendo's House of Cards

Hiroshi Yamauchi passed away today at the age of 85. He inherited his grandfather’s playing card company, Nintendo, at the age of 22 in 1949.

Yamauchi dropped out of college and nearly bankrupted the company pursuing ventures in taxi services, hourly rental hotel rooms, and instant rice before setting his sights on toys. An extendable arm designed by Gunpei Yokoi gained Yamauchi's favor, and Yokoi went on to design hardware and games for Nintendo, including the Game & Watch, Game Boy, Kid Icarus, and Metroid. He led Nintendo’s charge into the digital age through 2002, when he stepped down. He later left Nintendo’s board of directors in 2005, by which time the Wii and DS game systems were well on their way.

Over the course of Yamauchi’s 53 years of leadership, Nintendo thrived on multiple products and franchises, much of which was a result of hiring toy designer and dream weaver Shigeru Miyamoto, creator of the Donkey Kong, Super Mario, Legend of Zelda, and Pikmin series. Nintendo’s games entertained massive audiences on both handheld and home consoles, ushering staggering growth for the video game industry that has yet to slow down to this day.


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