Masayuki Uemura, the project engineer who influenced the iconic Famicom (NES) and Super Famicom (SNES) consoles, passed away on December 6th at the age of 78. Ritsumeikan University, where Uemura was employed as a professor after retiring from Nintendo, announced his passing.
Uemura’s impact on the gaming industry is massive. NES released in 1983 and was remarkable for the way it revitalized the home video game market, after the crash of the Atari. Of course, the NES exploded in popularity, leading to Nintendo’s second smash hit–the Super NES–in 1990.
Speaking to Famitsu (translated by Polygon), Umeura recounted the process of development behind the NES. “One day, Hiroshi Yamauchi (then-Nintendo president) called me in and said ‘Make me something that lets you play arcade games on your TV at home,” he said. “Donkey Kong was a huge hit in the arcades by then, and I suppose he wanted to get our name into homes as well.”
In an interview with Kotaku, Uemura revealed what life was like after the NES was a major hit. “Well, my salary went up. That’s a fact. So I was getting paid more, but the flip side was my job got a lot harder. President Yamauchi’s attitude played a big part in this, but my feeling was one of ‘seize the day.’ Just go for it,” he said.
Uemura retired from the company in 2004 and left to teach game design at Ritsumeikan University. He contributed to an important part of gaming history, as well as allowed for many great experiences to be had by all of us.