Hiroshi Yamauchi, Nintendo president, dies

Nintendo FamicomThe president of Nintendo through the latter half of the 20th century, Hiroshi Yamauchi, dies at the age of 85. Having dropped out of college to assume control of Nintendo from his ailiing grandfather in 1949, Yamauchi transformed the company from a maker of playing cards into a power player in the electronic game market, even though Nintendo’s first video game product was a licensed version of the American-made Magnavox Odyssey. Twice, Yamauchi boldly decided to break into the American video game market with no guarantee of success: once with the arcade game Donkey Kong, and again with the launch of the Nintendo Entertainment System, even after a Stateside licensing deal with Atari fell through at the last minute, depriving the NES of Atari’s existing marketing and distribution channels.