Masayuki Uemura, the architect behind some of Nintendo’s most iconic home consoles, passed away on December 6th at the age of 78.
Uemura joined Nintendo as an engineer in 1972. At the time, Nintendo was considering entering the realm of electronic entertainment, and it was with Uemura’s leadership of Nintendo R&D2 that the Japanese company was able to not just break into the market, but dominate it in just over a decade.
In 1981, Uemura began working on the Famicom, the Japanese counterpart to the Nintendo Entertainment System. The two consoles combined would sell more than 61 million units, and become icons in the video game world.
Uemura would again oversee the design of Nintendo’s next home continue, the Super Famicom/Super NES, as well as the Japan exclusive Famicom Disk System, the Super Famicom Satellaview, and the NES Zapper peripheral.
Uemura was not only a designer of hardware, but also a producer for the Japanese game developer; he aided in bringing the titles Ice Climber, Clu Clu Land, Soccer, Baseball, and Golf to life, all published by Nintendo.
In 2004, Uemura retired from Nintendo, and subsequently became a professor at Ritsumeikan University in Kyoto, Japan.
Masahiro Sakurai, fellow employee at Nintendo and the creator of Kirby and Super Smash Bros., lamented on Twitter that the “NES is the game console that I was most influenced by. Without this, it wouldn’t be there.”
What are your favorite memories about the NES and Super NES? Did you receive either as a Christmas gift in the ’80s or ’90s? We would love to hear your stories!