Former Nintendo President Hiroshi Yamauchi died Thursday, September 19, 2013 at the age of 85 from pneumonia. Yamauchi inherited Nintendo in 1949 at the tender age of 21. The company was founded by his great-grandfather in 1889. This made him the third generation head of the family owned business. The company at the time was producing card games that were popular with yakuza gangsters.
However Hiroshi Yamauchi was ambitious. He reached beyond Japan's borders and began signing licensing deals with company's like Disney. He soon saw the potential in video games and began to restructure the company.
Under his leadership they made classic games like Donkey Kong, where the infamous Mario first appeared. They launched home consoles such as the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES), Nintendo 64 and the GameCube. He was also a driving force behind the handheld video game player, the Game Boy.
Hiroshi Yamauchi stepped down as president in 2002, but remained a major shareholder. At the time of his death Yamauchi served as an adviser to the company. Last year he ranked 13th on Forbes Japan's list. His estimated net worth was $2.1 billion.
Nintendo may have slipped in recent years but under his watch, the company was a powerhouse. He may have inherited his family's business but his vision and drive turned it multi-billion dollar enterprise.