Yamauchi died of complications of pneumonia in a hospital in central Japan. The company added that a funeral would be held on Sunday.
Yamauchi led Nintendo from 1949 to 2002, after taking over the company at the young age of 22. He took over the company after his grandfather suffered a stroke. At the time, it was a small-time collectible trading card company. The Yamauchi family had been makers of karuta cards, a Japanese playing-card game based on flowers, since 1889.
Robert Crossley, associate editor of Computer and Video Games magazine, said:
You cannot overestimate the influence the man had on the games industry. He spearheaded Nintendo as they moved into the arcade business, with hits such as Donkey Kong.
This man was the president of Nintendo during the NES, the SNES, the N64 and the Gamecube -- the first two were transformative pieces of electronic entertainment.
In 1988, The New York Times wrote:
Many Nintendo best sellers, like Super Mario Bros. 2, are based on wildly preposterous premises, this particular one being two mustachioed Italian janitors who endure various trials, such as dodging hammer-swinging turtles and lava balls and man-eating plants, in order to save a Mushroom Princess.
No matter. Kids can’t get enough of the games.
Yamauchi had retired before the Nintendo Wii was introduced (2006). Its successor, the Wii U, has not met sales expectations.