“A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get it’s pants on.”
– Winston Churchill
After taking inspiration from a Razorfist video on Michael Jackson, I decided to write this article. Back on Disqus, I wrote an article on why I believed that former Nintendo President and CEO Hiroshi Yamauchi was never a tyrant, and I felt that I had asserted my position effectively.
I wrote that article during a time when it was hard to be a Nintendo fan online. You had Sony trolls and other creepy closet otakus crying “Censorship” about Nintendo’s localization policies, as well as thrashing their performance at E3 2015. Though most of that was because they just wanted to rag on the Wii U for the last couple years of it’s lifespan. And for a while I thought that I would not write another article like that. But then:
Some idiot Sony fanboy started spreading propaganda regarding why he believed that Yakuza would be a bad fit on Nintendo platforms, and he also defended Sega’s decision because he felt bad for how they were “illegally bullied” out of 3rd party support. Me and Travis rebutted his comments multiple times, but the Sony drone would not shut up. And this made me want to write this article.
This rant is kind of different from my previous ones. This rant is a defense of former Nintendo President and CEO Hiroshi Yamauchi, a man who is no longer alive to defend himself. And I would also like to extend my condolences to the family of Hiroshi Yamauchi, especially his children, who through no fault of their own or their father’s have had to endure an onslaught of stupidity based on laughable evidence and mostly thanks to a remorseless gaming press and gaming community (mostly Sony fanboys) with an axe to grind and will not go away. Though we are a minority, we here at VGF do know the facts and we are on your side, and godspeed to all of you.
NOW, we are on to the subject in question. The defense of the late Hiroshi Yamauchi against the “allegations” that he was a tyrant, a story which every lying asshat in the gaming community believes is accurate. I’m also doing this because, though it’s been a while and I should get over it, I want to, well, get back as some of the ex-Playeressence crow who regularly eat up this anti-Nintendo propaganda as fact, like Devon, awang782 and especially Jon Turner and JaxonH. Isn’t that right, you two?
You know what, why don’t you two stick to what you do best instead: Concern trolling, pedestrian opinions, and eDrama. Stop spreading this defamatory dogshit propaganda. The man is DEAD. And if nobody else is going to speak up in his defense, then I’ll erect my middle finger and do it myself.
Yamauchi-era Nintendo and 3rd Party publishers
Of course, Jaxon and JTurner make the allegations that Nintendo hated 3rd parties during the 3rd and 4th gens, and that they prohibited them from developing on other consoles even into the 16-bit era. They also like to boast about how Nintendo’s restrictive licensing program back during the NES days prevented 3rd parties from raking in cash. However, in his 2001 book The Ultimate History of Video Games, author Steven L. Kent has revealed this to be bullshit squared.
To quote the book:
“When Nintendo of America first began marketing the console, the only licensees making games for the system were Japanese companies. These companies reaped tremendous benefits during the first year that the NES was out. The first three games that Capcom released for the system – 1942, Ghosts ‘N Goblins, and Commando – all sold over one million copies. By 1987, several U.S. firms recognized the value of doing business with Nintendo and signed licensing agreements” (p.351).
And to top it off, from the same book, this is what Howard Lincoln had to say:
“There were a lot of myths that were built up over the years about how Nintendo was arrogant and Nintendo had a restrictive licensing program and all of that. But from our point of view, these guys were making a ton of money.
Atari Games got all upset because they felt that they weren’t getting enough games, so they illegally reverse engineered the NES and copied our security chip. We got in a lot of litigation with them, so this stuff was kind of cumulative.
When we set up this third-party licensing program back in 1986, we came up with a program by which we identified ways that we could control the quality of software that was going to reach the market. We said two things. We said ‘If you want to be a third-party licensee, you have to agree that you will only publish five games a year on our system, and you have to agree that the games will be exclusive to the NES for a period of two years.’ From our point of view, those clauses worked as a quality control mechanism. (p. 351)”
Yeah, kind of funny how Nintendo’s licensing program under Yamauchi was so tyrannical, yet 3rd parties were still making PLENTY of money off the NES. Sure, it may have been strict, but it was necessary for the time. They HAD to be strict, especially when you consider what happened with Atari, and how they ILLEGALLY reverse engineered the NES and copied their security chip.
Also, Howard’s quote also dispels the notion that Nintendo was making sure that the games 3rd parties were putting out were good. They NEVER had that kind of control. They only let them publish 5 games a year, sure, but that time frame allowed them to make better games and besides, Konami and other 3rd parties found loopholes in the system and put out more games than the limit. If they were monitoring a developer because of a game’s actual quality it would have been over for them. Seriously, just look at how many terrible games came out on the NES. It wasn’t really about quality. Just because Yamauchi had strict policies didn’t mean that 3rd parties couldn’t put out bad games anymore. Soak it in, morons. You were lied to.
Plus, in October 1990, Nintendo allowed 3rd parties to manufacture their own carts and publish games on competitors’ consoles.
“In about, I think it was 1989 or 1990, we made a business decision that we did not need the exclusivity clause. Now, it’s true that we were in litigation with Atari Corp. We were in litigation with Tengen and the FTC was moseying around; but we made a decision that we would no longer require the exclusivity clause. We would no longer enforce it and we would not put it into any new agreements. Those clauses, from our point of view and from our lawyers point of view, were perfectly legal under the antitrust laws. It was determined to be that way by a jury and by multiple courts, including a court of appeals, in the various litigations that we had. (p.390)”
– Howard Lincoln
The SNES CD Fiasco
Now this one’s going to be short and sweet. This is another false story that almost everyone in the gaming community believes is accurate. It has been said that Yamauchi made a mistake by backing out of the SNES CD deal that Sony offered them, which is ultimately lead to the creation of the PlayStation brand, which has dominated the gaming landscape ever since. There is one thing I’ll agree on – Yes, Yamauchi unlocked Pandora’s Box by backing out of the SNES CD deal, and I believe that even he thought so as well. However, backing out the deal was the right thing to do.
As you can tell from the bias tone of the article, Sony had actually tried to gain the rights to publishing profits, as well as the rights to all of Nintendo’s IPs as well. Yamauchi found out, was rightfully pissed off and backed out of the deal immediately.
As if I needed another reason to hate the shit out of Sony.
Square was ALWAYS anti-Nintendo
No, Square did not dump Nintendo because of the N64’s carts. They were going to leave regardless of what format Nintendo used. The truth is, Nintendo and Square’s relationship during the 3rd and 4th gens was always strained.
Now, I’m not one for rumors, but after digging through a NeoGAF discussion board about the Nintendo-Square split, and some stories that our users shared with us, there is a story floating around that Square was upset with Nintendo during the NES days when Nintendo wouldn’t let Square use larger carts that Enix was using for Dragon Quest games, despite the fact that Dragon Quest was a much bigger seller in Japan at the time. It was so big that Nintendo told Enix not to release it on a weekday because students would skip school to wait in line to purchase a copy: http://www.nintendolife.com/news/2018/03/that_japanese_dragon_quest_law_is_actually_an_urban_myth
Plus, during the 4th gen, there was the issue with Secret of Mana and the SNES CD add-on.
Square was developing Secret of Mana for the SNES CD before the platform was 100% confirmed, and when it was canned, they got pissed when they had to fit the game onto a cart.
When Square moved over to Sony, there was a rumor floating around that Yamauchi told Square to “never come back”, according to Square developer Hiroshi Kawai. However, Hironobu Sakaguchi and Yoshihiro Maruyama, the former vice-president of Square USA has revealed Kawai’s statement to be bullshit cubed:
Sure, Yamauchi was disappointed, but he in no way told them to never come back.
And for this last one here, strap yourselves in. I’m about to blow your mind, bitches. In 2001, Square’s then president, Nao Suzuki, publicly apologized to Nintendo, as revealed in Chris Kohler’s book Power-Up. From page 113 of the book:
So yes, Square themselves took all the blame in the split from Nintendo, and admitted that it was only because of them that their relationship fell apart. They were openly and actively hostile towards Nintendo publicly and had meetings with other 3rd parties, notably Enix, to convince them to shift their N64 projects to the PS1. Dragon Quest VII was the big one that Square admitted to, but there were no doubt more they got moved over and we don’t know about it yet.
Square did not become anti-Nintendo, they were against them from day fucking one.
Other baseless stories that I found no sources on
I also got a few angry comments from some Sony fanboys back in the day that Sunsoft sued Nintendo to use their Batman license on Sega platforms, and another story that Yamauchi burned bridges with Falcom near the start of the 5th generation. Yet I did not find one single source for either of those claims. And to the fanboys who responded to me, you now have one job: Either back up your claims with legitimate sources, or detract your defamatory comments now.
So, there’s your full debunking of the nasty rumors surrounding Hiroshi Yamauchi and his time at Nintendo. The ones which every lying asshat in the gaming community believes is accurate. Not so much anymore, eh? And if you still buy that garbage then I’ve got a nice suspension bridge in northern Michigan that I’d like to sell ya.
And one last parting shot for Jon Turner. Hey, Johnny boy.
You want to know what’s really interesting? FUCKING RESEARCH.
But, seriously, did Yamauchi do something wrong? Yes, he did.