Leave Luck to Heaven: Yamauchi’s Lasting Message



10 days ago, the world lost a very influential man: Hiroshi Yamauchi.  Who is that, you might ask?  Well, he was the man who took his family’s simple card company into the multinational multibillion dollar company.  He was the man who spearheaded the revitalization of the game-console industry in North America after the 1983 crash.  He was the man behind [the man behind] many franchises that have touched the hearts of most children of the 90’s.  He was the former president of Nintendo.

Yamauchi had one philosophy that would integrally shape Nintendo’s success: the quality of the game is more important than the quality of the hardware.  This mentality proved successful in many instances.  For example, the Gameboy. It was not the only hand-held device on the market.  There was also the Sega Gamegear and the Atari Lynx.  The Gameboy was the least powerful of the three, lacking color and backlight, and having a lower processing speed.  Yet the Gameboy proved to be the most popular console for years on end.  Why is that?  They didn’t focus on the high power or the splash of the day.  They focused on their content: the games.

This is arguably true in all other facets of life.  The content should be more important than the medium.  Granted, how the message is presented has importance, [as stated in “Approach: How the Ends Do Not Justify the Means”] but ultimately, if we lose sight of the message, then all is lost.

Yet how easy do we lose focus on that goal?  So many focus more on having their product reaching more people that they lose sight of the message.  In [at least] the West, there seems to be a formula for what a “good movie” entails: “bad-ass” action, sex, and some comedy.  Yet we see people who oversaturate that idea where it may be a box-office hit, but people are left unsatisfied as they leave the theatre.  Take Transformers.  Many people loved it while I felt it lacked any substance whatsoever.  But it had Megan Fox, epic fight scenes, and Shia LaBeouf’s wittiness… so… that made up for it… right?  Wrong.  All these things are supplemental.  In the end, the core of the movie was weak, thus everything fell apart—especially the ending.

Oversaturation isn’t limited to this generation.  In 1976, director Elia Kazan released his final movie: The Last Tycoon.  It had many big names such as Robert De Niro and Tony Curtis.  Both the producer and director made Oscar-winning films.  The movie is based on the unfinished story by the classic American author F. Scott Fitzgerald.  On paper before its release, this film had everything to make it a success, but in the end, it was terrible.  IMDB gave it a 6.3/10.  Rotten Tomatoes gave it a 41% rating.

As for Mr. Yamauchi, despite stepping down as president in 2002 and his recent passing away, his ideals are still met with Nintendo, even to the point where their audience has dwindled.  Nintendo is no longer the “leading” company in gaming as Microsoft and Sony have taken the scene.  The latter two companies have focused on powerhouse hardware, allowing third-party companies to make bigger and better games.  Meanwhile, only recently has Nintendo made a console that runs on high definition television with their Wii U.

People have suggested all sorts of advice to Nintendo, one being they should follow the pack: ditch the multiplayer approach, create state-of-the-art graphics cards, focus on online-gaming, etc.  I tip my hat to Nintendo for not conforming.  Even though their games would probably reach a wider audience if they did, their message would become mere a mere tale left in the annals of gaming history.  Because of their integrity to stick with the company’s character, those who have stayed with Nintendo are zealous fans.

That’s the kind of response we want from a message being sent out. Zeal over numbers.  So throw away your checklists, your glitter, and your veils. This generation has been trained to know the difference between smoke and mirrors, and raw honesty.  If the artist is willing to stand up and speak plainly about what they’re trying to share to others, even if only a handful of ears listen, they will listen with a full heart.  For in the end, it is better to have three people understand you well, than have a billion barely comprehend your idea.  In the end, the message is of utmost importance—let it speak for itself.  In the end, Yamauchi’s words of wisdom speaks true, not just for Nintendo but globally: the content should always be king over the medium.

About Jonathan Seligman

Jon is the Co-Founder and Executive Editor of NWYT. While his main profession is in education/music/history, he has a deep passion for philosophy, theology, ice cream, and everything else that life has to offer. See All of Jon’s Posts

Share Your Thoughts