Who is Gunpei Yokoi? You have to ask? Game & Watch, R.O.B., the D-pad, Kid Icarus, Fire Emblem and Metroid. The Game Boy. The Virtual Boy. I own them all (high five!) and now you know who invented them. The late, great Gunpei.
Today the Escapist’s Lara Cringer digs deep into Gunpei’s past. Gunpei, a man responsible for much of what makes Nintendo Nintendo today, yet is still a pretty mysterious fellow (a mysterious dead fellow, which may add to the allure).
Ten years after his death, Gunpei Yokoi has been reduced to legend: condensed, marginalized and re-packaged as a Nintendo creation myth instead of a man. You’d think there’d be entire encyclopedias profiling this Japanese Doc Brown, the prolific inventor who engineered the D-Pad, Game and Watch, R.O.B., Game Boy, Virtual Boy, a dozen or so children’s toys and the Super Mario Land, Fire Emblem, Kid Icarus and Metroid franchises. Not so. Instead, most official Nintendo histories gloss over Yokoi’s contributions, and many books and websites – if they’re even translated into English – echo the same rudimentary, unsubstantiated stories.
Kind of sad, but it’s a fascinating look back at one of the pillars of Nintendo development.