Masayuki Uemura, engineer famous for designing the first Nintendo console

Masayuki Uemura, a Japanese engineer who died at the age of 78, will be remembered for his role in shaping the modern gaming industry.

When a young Uemura was told by his notoriously tough Nintendo boss Hiroshi Yamauchi to design a games machine with interchangeable game cartridges that would have no competition for three years, he rose to the challenge. Working late, though aided by Nintendo’s free udon noodles for after-hours work, Uemura became the main architect of the Japanese game console Famicom (short for family computer), launched in 1983.

According to him, 14 million Famicoms have been sold in Japan alone. The western version of the product was called the Nintendo Entertainment System NES. According to Nintendo’s life, the two devices have sold more than 60 million units together.

The first iteration was by no means perfect, but it would help establish Nintendo in the industry for the next decade. Previously, the company was known to produce Japanese hanafuda playing cards. In 1990, the Super Famicom, the successor to the game, hit the market.

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Uemura’s design legacy is evident in today’s modern Nintendo Switch, which released in 2017. Despite his accomplishments, many who interviewed the Brilliant Spirit commented on how humble he was. .

In an interview with Eurogamer magazine in 2020, he said, “You know, it’s only when someone like you walks in and asks a lot of questions that makes me think maybe I was a part of a big thing.”

Uemura was born in Tokyo during World War II. His family left the capital for Kyoto to escape Allied bombing. Her father first worked as a kimono dealer, then ran a record store. By Uemura’s own admission, he came from humble beginnings but was intrigued by design from an early age. “When I was in elementary school, a fundamental memory I had was making a radio out of these components, so I dreamed of becoming an engineer,” he later explained.

He studied electronic engineering at the Chiba Institute of Technology and after graduation he started working at Sharp Electronics. It was seconded to Nintendo as the companies considered entering the electronic game market. Eventually he became a full time worker at Nintendo. Before creating the Famicom, he helped the company design complex electronic light gun toys.

In 2004, he left Nintendo and took up a teaching position as director of the Center for Game Studies at Ritsumeikan University in Kyoto.

Talk to American player in 2015 he said, “If the thing you make isn’t selling well, you’re in trouble… and if it sells too well, you’re in trouble too. 100% of people will never like it.

Masayuki Uemura, engineer, born June 20, 1943, died December 9, 2021


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