Hiroshi Yamauchi, Man Who Built The Mario Dynasty And The Nintendo Empire, Passes Away

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Tokyo: Hiroshi Yamauchi, credited with transforming Nintendo from a family-owned Japanese business into a global byword for video games, died today from pneumonia. He was 85.



Yamauchi was just 22 when he took over the family business from his ailing grandfather and he went on to head the firm for over half a century.



It was during his tenure -- in 1983 -- that Nintendo released a games console called the "Family Computer", which laid the foundations for the modern video-game industry.



Known abroad as the "Nintendo Entertainment System", the early console became an international phenomenon, with the company's global success skyrocketing on the back of the legendary Super Mario series.



A string of successful game software titles followed while the popular Game Boy hand-held console was released to popular acclaim in 1989.



For a generation of gamers, Yamauchi's Nintendo represented a golden era of mainstream gaming, dominated by classic titles like Super Mario Bros, Legend of Zelda and Metroid. In the early 90s, the company's mascot Mario, a moustachioed Italian plumber, became one of the world's most popular animated characters. A 1990 survey found he was more recognisable to American children than Mickey Mouse.



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