Hiroshi Yamauchi was a giant that many gamers may not know. He wasn't a rock star like Goichi Suda or Hideo Kojima, but if he wasn't in the position he was in we may not have a video game industry to celebrate today. If not for his guiding presence, Nintendo may still just be a small playing card company or may not exist at all. This man laid the groundwork for the rise of the most known brand in gaming history. Under his watch, playing video games became "playing Nintendo", and even staunch haters of Nintendo's current direction have to admit that the contributions of Hiroshi Yamauchi have helped lead to the wide reaching appeal of gaming culture.
Yamauchi became president of his grandfather's company, The Nintendo Playing Card Co. in 1949, a few years after the end of World War II. Under Yamauchi's watch, Nintendo rose from a simple playing card company into the monolith that revived gaming. From the Nintendo Love Tester, to their line of Pong clones, to the predecessor of the Game Boy, Game & Watch, Nintendo was able to gradually reinvent itself into a household name.This moves led to the release of the ill fated Radar Scope, which in it's failure, led to the creation of Donkey Kong. Then the steamroller that is Nintendo began throughout the 80s. All of the company's greatest moments were achieved with Hiroshi Yamauchi at the helm.
Hiroshi Yamauchi took a small company and turned them into a juggernaut the likes of which no one expected. As Nintendo weather's it's current storm, current President Satoru Iwata would do well to learn from his predecessor and do what is necessary to get folks believing in the house of Mario again. Thank you, Hiroshi Yamauchi. You gave millions of gamers around the world a gateway to experience new worlds, face new challenges, and rescue princesses from new castles.