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Monday, September 23, 2013

Yamauchi Is Dead

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - So will you.

To be honest, I didn't want to write an article about the death of former Nintendo president Hiroshi Yamauchi. Besides Elizabeth Brett, I don't like this subject. (Not that I liked that EA killed her or anything.) But KoopaTV's other contributors didn't want to either. And someone had to do something. KoopaTV can take after Herman Cain's Best of Cain (formerly CainTV) all we want in selectively ignoring some stories and overemphasizing others to fit our agenda, but since we're obviously supposed to be a Nintendo-focused publication...
...Well, there's really not much to be said about Yamauchi that hasn't already been said. So let's try something different.
For one, check out this Forbes article written back in 2000. People don't like to bash recently deceased people and prefer to remember the good parts. That's how people actually thought about Yamauchi around the end of his term as Nintendo's president. They literally were writing,
A lot of Nintendo fans probably think Yamauchi should have retired before now. In Seattle, on the other hand, Mariner fans hope he’s just getting started.
In other words, Yamauchi was more notable and important as the owner of the Seattle Mariners than as Nintendo's president. You know, "Nintendoomed" and all. Although with the market share of the Nintendo 64 and the GameCube, maybe there was a little merit here.
Even though Yamauchi's decision to make Nintendo's hardware dedicated gaming consoles probably directly contributed to Nintendo's reduced home console market share, I've always defended those decisions at the time they were made and also in hindsight. Detractors will call him "stubborn", and I'll call Yamauchi "principled". (I'm projecting myself, here.) The game-only philosophy lead to Nintendo's best first-party releases in its history.

No Netflix or Hulu apps to be found. Good.


Edgy!

So what else is there to talk about? Yamauchi was a shrewd guy. Let's check out some of his quotes.
"I have been saying this for some time, but customers are not interested in grand games with higher-quality graphics and sound and epic stories. Only people who do not know the videogame business would advocate the release of next-generation machines when people are not interested in cutting-edge technologies."
Well, look at the Wii versus the PS3 and 360. I did write that it was good that the Wii was a standard definition system. IGN can call it the most wildest quote ever, but the "Revolution" (which is still a better name than Wii) being announced the same year as Yamauchi's quote doesn't disprove Yamauchi, given how non-cutting edge the Wii was. ...Although you can totally hear the difference between, say, the GBA speakers and DS speakers. Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Red Rescue Team has a different and inferior soundtrack for a reason compared to its DS counterpart, Blue Rescue Team. And as a customer, that is something I care about. I'm still fine with GameCube-era graphical capabilities, though.
[People who play RPGs are] 'depressed gamers who like to sit alone in their dark rooms and play slow games.'"
This was back in 1999 before those bastard Western RPGs were really a big thing. ...But yeah, this is probably true! And I like (Japanese) RPGs. That said, this is probably true for fans of most game genres, minus the "slow" part. For your information, I keep my room well-lit. Except this.



(Don't watch that.)
"The DS represents a critical moment for Nintendo's success over the next two years. If it succeeds, we rise to the heavens, if it fails, we sink into hell."
"Leave luck to Heaven" indeed. And we all know how the DS did! Good thing no one said the same thing about the Wii U, right?
"There are many people in the industry that know nothing about games. In particular, a large American company is trying to do engulf software houses with money, but I don't believe that will go well. It looks like they'll sell their game system next year, but we'll see the answer to that the following year."
This is referring to Microsoft before they launched the Xbox. And yes, Microsoft did do this. And you could argue that the Xbox out-performed the GameCube, but Nintendo didn't have to do that "engulfing" thing for their profit. (Meanwhile, Xbox never had one of those.) Meanwhile, Microsoft is still doing that, and not even for game development purposes! I mean, sure, now Nintendo is bribing studios, but free Unity licenses for indies are totally different.
According to HowStuffWorks back in the day (this was written back in 2001, hence the outdated links),
"Microsoft has signed deals with more than 150 video game makers who have committed themselves to developing games for Microsoft's Xbox game console. These game developers include id Software, maker of the popular Quake series, and Eidos Interactive, which makes the Tomb Raider games featuring Lara Croft."
So let's look at Eidos Interactive. The only Xbox (and Windows)-exclusive games published from that time period were both developed from Ion Storm. And yes, Ion Storm was developing games on other systems before Microsoft came in. So we got Deux Ex: The Invisible War, Thief: Deadly Shadows, and... then the company goes out of business. Woops. Nice investing, Microsoft! Nintendo's investing in the indies now so they'll stick around for the future and be dependable Nintendo console contributing developers. (On another note, Thief: Deadly Shadows sounds like a nice name for a DS launch-era title, just saying.)
So Yamauchi is justified in the end. Rest in peace. Satoru Iwata has been around long enough to carry on your legacy without your shadowy input.
Ludwig has no idea how this article even turned out the way it did. If you'd like to talk with him over Miiverse, which wouldn't be possible under Yamauchi-era philosophies, Follow him at NNID PrinceOfKoopas! And drop your comments here, if you want.


Satoru Iwata stopped being around, unfortunately. Iwata passed away July 2015.

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