Hiroshi Yamauchi, a longtime president of Nintendo (1949-2002) and the predecessor to current boss Satoru Iwata, has passed away today at the age of 85, Nikkei reports.Formerly the richest man in Japan, Yamauchi also owned Seattle's Major League Baseball team, the Mariners (though he famously never attended a game).A champion of the efforts to develop home consoles like the NES, Yamauchi abandoned his university studies to take up the position when his grandfather suffered a stroke. He led the company through it's great transition from a maker of children's toys and card games to its position today as one of the world's great video game studios and platform holders.Yamauchi passed away in a Kyoto hospital, where he had been suffering from pneumonia.
Responsible for turning what was a small toy business into a video game giant, he made Nintendo what it is, and made my childhood what it was. Had his flaws, but was shrewd like no other. Brought Miyamoto on board, and believed in him, resulting in all the hits and memorable characters we've come to know and love.
Respect forever. RIP 山内さん.