Hiroshi Yamauchi, the man who turned Nintendo into a gaming force to be reckoned with, has died at the age of 85. The firm, which he took over in 1949, following the death of his grandfather, made hanafuda, or “Japanese playing cards,” on a small scale: Yamauchi took it from its origins, via toy manufacture, to the electronics behemoth it eventually became. His success made him Japan’s 12th richest man and bought him a West Coast baseball team.
Most of the firm’s success has been attributed to Yamauchi’s marketing nous and brand insight. Iconic game creator, and Nintendo’s first artist, Shigeru Miyamoto, was Yamauchi’s first artistic hire–from his pen came Zelda, Donkey Kong, and Super Mario Brothers. Yamauchi’s nose for what consumers wanted meant only that he would decide which games were to be released. For a brief look at Yamauchi’s milestones, eat a mushroom and then check out the slideshow above.