In 1981, Nintendo released Donkey Kong to arcades on both sides of the Pacific, solidifying not only the company’s video entertainment division, but what would soon become the platforming genre. Though the brainchild of Shigeru Miyamoto, its success both in its design and in the corporate structure was guided by a man whose impact on the company’s early days could not be underplayed: Gunpei Yokoi (横井 軍平, 1941-1997).
Yokoi’s legacy extends surprisingly far back. Before Super Metroid. Before the Game Boy. Before Donkey Kong. Even before Game & Watch, and before Nintendo was in video games at all. No, his involvement all started with a simple extending arm.