Hiroshi Yamauchi Dies At 85, Expanded Nintendo

In 1949, Hiroshi Yamauchi left school to take over Nintendo after his grandfather died. He made it a dominate force in the game industry. He retired as president in 2002. He died on Thursday in Japan.

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RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And today's Last Word In Business is the tale of another man who did the right thing. Hiroshi Yamauchi was attending university when he got bad news. His grandfather had suffered a stroke, and could no longer run the family firm.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

So in 1949, Yamauchi left school and took the reins of that company - Nintendo. Back then, the company made a popular card game. Yamauchi expanded the business, adding board games and toy guns. And then, in 1981, Nintendo struck gold.

(SOUNDBITE OF NOISES FROM VIDEO GAME, "DONKEY KONG")

MONTAGNE: Fans of the video game "Donkey Kong" will remember those sounds. The barrel-throwing monkeys' runaway success led to other popular games and devices, like this blockbuster.

(SOUNDBITE OF NOISES FROM VIDEO GAME, "SUPER MARIO BROTHERS")

INSKEEP: Yeah. In 1985, Nintendo introduced "Super Mario Brothers," and a home entertainment system that would dominate the American market. Hit after hit followed - "The Legend of Zelda," "Game Boy," "Super NES."

MONTAGNE: Hiroshi Yamauchi retired from Nintendo in 2002. He died yesterday, at the age of 85. Despite the astounding success Nintendo brought him, he confessed he didn't really like to play video games.

And that's the business news on MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.

INSKEEP: And I'm Steve Inskeep.

(SOUNDBITE OF NOISES FROM VIDEO GAME, "SUPER MARIO BROTHERS")

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