He was born as a Yamauchi, grandson of the second president of Nintendo. Who's company was known across Japan as a card gaming business. His father walked out on him and so did his mother due to the shame of the marridge. So young Hiroshi was forced to live a strict life under the rule of his grandparents.
World War 2 came to Japan Young Hiroshi was just a teenager at the time and wanted to enlist. But the Yamauchi grandparents were smart not to allow him. Considering the way it ended, it was perhaps for the best.
Hiroshi then focused on his schooling at university To study law in an ever changing Japan under US occupation But his career as a lawyer was cut short due to his Grandfather taking ill So young Hiroshi Yamauchi became the 3rd President and CEO of Nintendo.
He became a businessman early in his 20s And he asserted his authority at Nintendo He fired anyone who was a threat to his family The pent up anger from his childhood now had power in his early adulthood.
The US style laws became a threat to Nintendo's card game business That was one battle Hiroshi Yamauchi knew not to fight against So instead he became a entrepreneur And tried to find new ways of keeping Nintendo in business
From instant noodles to a taxi service To hot steamy Love Hotels that catered to loving couples Hiroshi put Nintendo's name onto almost anything anything to preserve Nintendo's long history during tough and difficult times.
Then came a day, when he peeked into an office to inspect his employees One of them called Gunpei Yokoi was playing around with a pet project Yamauchi saw how his employee played with the thing with a steern look on his face And he said with a clear voice. "Make that into a game and sell it."
That pet project that Yokoi was playing with became the Ultra Hand. And then Nintendo started to make Toys for the kids of Japan By the time of the 1970s and a new age of electronics was just being born Hiroshi sold most of Nintendo's assets and invested into Electronic Toy Development.
In a time of PONG arcades and electronic calculators Yamauchi saw a market to be dominated However he had no idea how to get in until one day his employee Gunpei Yokoi took an eventful train ride
Yokoi saw a Japanese Business man who was looking bored while sitting next to him then suddenly the man took out his electronic calculator he seemed to enjoy it, perhaps he was typing 5318008
Yokoi saw how much fun this japanese businessman was having just playing around with a simple electronic calculator Yokoi told Yamauchi what he saw on that train ride And Yamauchi told him to make a electronic game that was a size of a calculator.
And so the Game and Watch was born And in 1980s it became the first big hit for Nintendo The Game and Watch would become big in the decade and then follow on To produce the Gameboy that would go on to dominate the next decade in the 90s
However there was another thing that happened during that time in the 70s A friend of Yamauchi had a son who had just finished his arts degree at university So on a dinner out with his friend, Yamauchi was introduced to a young man called Shigeru Miyamoto. the friend begged Yamauchi-san to give his son a job at Nintendo.
So then Hiroshi Yamauchi told young Miyamoto to paint the arcade cabinets everything from Sheriff to Radarscope And when it was time for Yamauchi to expand Nintendo into the United States He placed his bets in the arcade ring of North America.
The arcades failed in the American market Even Radarscope that was a success in Japan Nintendo of America division was loosing money And a man called Mario demanded the rent
Yamauchi then told young Miyamoto to come up with a different game to sell One that would attract the north american arcade gamers So with the help of Gunpei Yokoi who handled the arcade technology Miyamoto thought of a story from one of his manga ideas.
It was a simple story, of a gorilla being mistreated by a man so the gorilla stole the man's girlfriend and the game took place as the man tried to save his girlfriend from the gorilla
It was called Donkey Kong released in 1981 And they called the man Mario in the game It was the first arcade game to have a story unexpectedly, Nintendo hit another success.
But with success came attention from bigger companies One such company was Universal Studios The movie company claimed copyright violation against Donkey Kong All because the name sounded like King Kong
But just when most smaller companies would have bowed to big american businesses Hiroshi Yamauchi stood firm He hired lawyers like Howard Lincon Who claimed that Universal did not really own King Kong because of default
Nintendo Won and they were allowed to keep their money It was the first ever Videogame lawsuit win against another medium Nintendo was building up a warchest of cash for Yamauchi-san's next big idea.
In 1983, Japan was introduced to the Nintendo Famicom A Console Game system that was like a computer for families But when the release for the North American market was on the cards The industry in America was in the middle of a massive market crash.
Nintendo first thought of trying to market their console with Atari It was going to be a win for both companies However Atari saw a game of Donkey Kong being played on the Coleco Vision And therefore Atari refused to sign with Nintendo
So Nintendo went at the market alone But the crash was still in full force They showcased the Famicom at technology events But nobody there ever saw any interest in the console at all
So with the help of Gunpei Yokoi, Yamauchi-san told him to design a toy To be sold along with the console The name of that toy was ROB the Robot Stands for Robotic Operation Buddy
That ROB was what gave the toy retailers the confidence to take in Nintendo's new console Plus with the redesign for the North American market Came the NES, Nintendo Entertainment System.
The NES sold well within its first year in 1986 But more was to come for Nintendo With some games from Miyamoto's creative mind came Super Mario Bros the platform game that changed it all
The NES Mario game sold massive copies in christmas 1986 And again with more games in 1987 with Legend of Zelda Years and years with more games and more magic The money came in to revive the North American Videogame Market
But with success came competition in the 90s With SEGA having a blue Hedgehog against Nintendo's plumber And SONY with their CD technology And Microsoft with their online gaming ambitions
Hiroshi Yamauchi was getting too old to keep up He had to chose a successor but this time not from his own family So he decided to trust his company to a person who had CEO experience from a company that Nintendo had helped to survive in the 90s The CEO of HAL Laboratories called Satoru Iwata
Satoru Iwata was joined by Shigeru Miyamoto To become the team that would take Nintendo into a new centuary They came up with the Nintendo DS and the Nintendo Wii Using ideas and philosophies that were originally formed by Hiroshi Yamauchi and Gunpei Yokoi
Nintendo had their success in Videogames all over again But like before the market was changing with Apple's iPhone in the mix Plus with Google's Android technology for games to be played on phones Nintendo are facing a new battle on both console and handheld fronts by SONY and Microsoft
Hiroshi Yamauchi is a legend in his own right The success of Nintendo and their continued survival is thanks to him And no matter how hard the market is for Nintendo Ignore them at your own peril for they have survived tougher markets in the past.
Tribute to Hiroshi Yamauchi who survived to live 85 years
I should also mention about Minoru Arakawa who is Yamauchi's son in law.
He was the one who headded Nintendo of America and Yamauchi told him to make Nintendo sell arcades in USA.
Arakawa is also the one who hired Howard Lincon as well as John Kirby to help with the Donkey Kong case against Universal when they faced a law suit.
However when writing the poem, I thought I was going into too much detail and kinda left that part out of the poem and just put in that Yamauchi hired Lincon that was not really the case, but considering that Arakawa was his son in law, and that Yamauchi was not too impressed with Universal trying to sue them at the time, I guess that is where their fighting spirit came from to never give up when facing a tough battle that they believed that they had a right to stand and fight for their ownership of the Donkey Kong name.
So yes, while writing this, I did take a few bits of info out of it but I tried my best to include all the information about Yamauchi in it.
also forgotten to include that when the card game business was facing troubled waters, Nintendo made a deal with Disney to include Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck on their card game covers in Japan and market it for younger audiences. That was back in the 60s and that is another market that allowed Nintendo to survive during that tough decade for them.
Also the love hotels I mentioned in a few lines are true, they were not made up.
also for the guy who was playing with his calculator on the train, the number 5318008 when turned upside-down on the calculator it spells boobies.
Just thought I could include a humours moment for those who were taking notice.
If I was making this poem again, I would have included all this information but still, there is allot to talk about when it comes to Hiroshi Yamauchi, so it was a big effort for me to write this when I was tired at the time.
I also put in a comment just tonight at the top of the comments about some minor adjustments to the poem if I was ever to re-write it again,
including some information about Minoru Arakawa who was Hiroshi's son-in-law who was head of Nintendo of America during the time when they first tried to market arcades into the American market.
He deserves a special mention in the poem but because I was tired at the time of writing as well as Arakawa's involvement with Howard Lincon and even John Kirby in the Donkey Kong case against Universal Studios, I did leave out some information there.
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