Former president of Nintendo passes away leaving legacy

Minh Mac | Collegian Nintendo was built from a small playing card company into a multiple dollar corporation. The Nintendo 64 was released 17 years ago in North America.

Unless one was really up on tech news, you might not recognize the name Hiroshi Yamauchi on first reference. But most would instantly recognize his work.

Yamauchi was the former president of Nintendo Co, responsible for turning a trading card company into the electronics juggernaut we all know today. He was known for being heavy handed by personally selecting which games would be published and which wouldn’t be, but it ultimately worked to the benefit of Nintendo. His sticking point was to not only make the best console at the best price, but one that was easy to program.

Even after stepping down from the board of directors in 2002, he still had an active roll in Nintendo. His last contribution may be in your pocket, the Nintendo DS. This was based on his idea when he asked his engineers, “What if we had two screens?”

While Shigeru Miyamoto and Gunpei Yokoi deserve credit for the great games and the predecessor to the DS, the heralded Game Boy, it was Yamauchi that built the company that they would create for.

One of the best visual examples to see what he has done with Nintendo is on the walls of Game Hounds Video Games and Gifts, located at 1620 Fort Riley Blvd. In the store, you can find a stand for Sony and a stand for Microsoft. However, the walls are all Nintendo until you get to the current console games section.

Rusty Schroll, the owner of Game Hounds, said the walls are decorated that way because of the high quality of games Nintendo keeps putting out – the standard that Yamauchi insisted upon.

“I think Nintendo has some of the most iconic characters in games,” Schroll said. “Names that non-players would recognize. The original Nintendo was so important in the history of those franchises as it was the console that launched most of the popular franchises that are still relevant today.”

As Game Hounds sells used games, Nintendo products are one of their mainstays.

“Anything Nintendo puts out is golden, high quality,” Schroll said. ” We normally recommend it for families, more casual gamers and for gamers just starting out. A nice thing about some of those older 2D games and the new HD televisions is that they still look good on them. If you put most of the 3D games onto one of those flat screens the blocky figures become huge.”

To almost emphasize his point, the television in the store ran a commercial for the old game “Vagrant Story.” While being informed, it was a great game by the commercial for its PlayStation Vita release, you could plainly see what Schroll was referring to.

However, Nintendo’s greatness may go beyond quality of graphics.

“Nintendo games have bang for your buck,” said Terry Standridge, Manhattan resident. “Today, games are six to eight hours long. Some Nintendo games will take you days to weeks of playing to beat. You can have days of use from them, and they also have replay value. I beat all three ‘Gears of War’ in a day.”

And that was not the only difference Nintendo has had over other consoles.

“My mother hated the PlayStation, but she would play Mario on the N64,” Standridge said. “Nintendo is iconic and family oriented. The whole family can play Mario together rather than you hacking zombies by yourself.”

That sentiment was echoed by another, even though he doesn’t play Nintendo anymore.

“Nintendo to me means nostalgia,” Johnny Wilson, graduate student in grain science, said. “I grew up on the N64. After that the graphics wars started and Nintendo became largely irrelevant since it doesn’t compete in that area.”

What Wilson is referring to is known as the Console Wars. When the industry started it was mostly just Atari. Then, Nintendo took over in the ’80s, and Sega started to produce consoles and games as well. Sony and Microsoft came into the picture in the ’90s and Sega became software only. It’s called the Console Wars because the market is controlled by Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft, the three that still make the hardware for their own software. All three compete for the best graphics, lowest prices and most sales.

“Most of the games I played back then were just the big multi-player games, ‘Goldeneye,’ ‘Super Smash Brothers,'” Wilson said. “There was something magic about four people gathered around a television. I think it was physically being there with your friends. It was being able to punch them in the shoulder for being a jerk in game, rather than yelling homophobic slurs through a headset to random people you don’t know.”