How I’m Dealing With Hiroshi Yamauchi’s Death

It’s five in the morning. I’ve just finished up an especially long stretch of getting stoned and playing Minecraft, and I’m checking Facebook one last time before bed. After all, never know when yet another Grumpy Cat meme might show up. That’s when I stumble across something that makes me wish I’d simply gone straight to sleep.

Hiroshi Yamauchi has passed away. This was the man who turned Nintendo from a playing card company into the video game company its known as today.

Hiroshi Yamauchi

When I hear this news, I rush immediately to open my word processor. A remix of some Castlevania music begins playing as I consider what to say to honor a man who made my childhood what it was in a very literal sense. Is there anything that can measure up? Would a biased, fanboyish eulogy such as I would muster even be appropriate?

By all accounts, the man was a son of a bitch to work for. He almost bankrupted Nintendo. He quite honestly lucked out on the when he saw Gumpei Yokoi playing with the Ultra Hand extendable claw toy they would ship for the holidays that year. But does any of that matter? Looking back on history, every major event can be chalked up to luck, in some way or another. Already, the other failures of Yamauchi have begun to fade from memory. In another twenty years, we’ll speak of his decision as we do all great decisions. It will be called fortuitous, the hand of fate itself reached down and poked the great and wise businessman on the shoulder. Perhaps it used sign language to say “Hey, dummy! This is the one!”

In the end, I decide to just write this stream-of-consciousness article. Because ultimately, that’s what video games have brought into my life: the ability to stop thinking quite so hard about any one thing and enjoy what’s in front of me. The ability to take my mind off the hook for a few minutes, hours, days, and slip into another world where I can allow instinct to guide me. Without Yamauchi, video games as we know them may not even exist. And now, Hiroshi Yamauchi no longer exists himself.

And if that doesn’t make you at least a little bit sad, I don’t know what to say.

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