It's a sad day for Nintendo fans. Hiroshi Yamauchi, the former president of the company, passed away at 85 earlier this morning.

Yamauchi played a huge role in getting the company into the video game generation. He first joined in 1949, back when it was a playing card company. However, by the time the early 80s rolled around, he helped convert it into one of the more popular brands in the video game realm, starting with the arcade release of Shigeru Miyamoto's Donkey Kong in 1981 and eventually leading to the release of the Nintendo Entertainment System, which successfully resurrected the video game industry in 1985.

When he retired from the company following the release of the Wii, he ended up being Japan's richest man, with a net worth estimated at $7.8 billion. Obviously, though, gamers will remember how he guided Nintendo to prominence with a number of top-tier game and system releases.

Rest in peace, Yamauchi-san. You'll be in our thoughts as we play through The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker HD this week. 

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