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 passed away. The cause of death doesn’t matter so much, though upon realizing it was pneumonia, the first thought that went through my mind was “That’s two, pneumonia. How many more stabs you gonna give my childhood before you’re done?” Hiroshi Yamauchi, you see, was the man who turned Nintendo from a playing card company into a toy company.
When I hear this, I rush immediately to open my word processor. Entertainingly, a remix of some Castlevania music begins playing on my music player as I consider what to say. See, I know that this is news, and I’m probably the only GeekParty journalist up right now. Which means that I need to get this written, filled with images, and ready to go first thing in the morning. At the same time, it’s difficult to know what to say. What do you say to honor the 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 Yokoi playing with the extendable claw. 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 on a stream of thought article. Because ultimately, that’s what video games have brought me in my life. The ability to stop thinking quite so hard about any one thing, and enjoy what was 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. There would be no GeekParty, no Alcoholic Luigi. Even I, the actual person behind the Luigi costume, might not exist.
And now, Hiroshi Yamauchi, the man who literally made my existence possible, no longer exists himself. These are deep thoughts for someone who’s smoked as many bowls as I have, so perhaps I’ll set them aside. Fifteen or twenty minutes of Pokémon ought to do it.