Masayuki Uemura, creator of the NES and SNES, has passed away

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Masayuki Uemura, known for his work as the lead architect on Nintendo’s early home consoles the Nintendo Entertainment System and Super Nintendo Entertainment System, has passed away at the age of 78. The Ritsumeikan Center for Game Studies at Ritsumeikan University, where Uemura taught until his passing, announced that the former engineer and professor died on Dec. 6. 

Uemura joined Nintendo in 1971 and was soon appointed director of the hardware research and development team known as R&D2 by president Hiroshi Yamauchi. There, he led the development of Nintendo’s very first console, the Color TV-Game.

In 1981, Uemura was famously tasked with creating “something that lets you play arcade games on your TV at home.” He would become the lead architect of the Famicom, known as the NES outside of Japan, which established Nintendo’s global footing in the video game industry and is still one of the bestselling consoles of all time.

The NES is where Super Mario Bros., The Legend of Zelda, and Metroid all got their starts. Bringing the power of an entire arcade cabinet home paved the way for Nintendo’s most famous titles to find success and for the industry to begin developing new kinds of games that could be played over longer periods of time. 

Just five years after the console’s successful launch in 1983, Uemura began work on what would become the Super Famicom, or SNES. By the time he retired in 2004, he had produced such games for the NES as Ice Climbers and Clu Clu Land, as well as sports titles Soccer, Baseball, and Golf

While he held onto an advisor seat at Nintendo’s Research and Engineering Department, Uemura worked as a professor at Ritsumeikan University’s Center for Game Studies in Kyoto.

Industry professionals around the world, from Smash Bros. and Kirby creator Masahiro Sakurai to Xbox director Chris Charla and the many, many, gamers who found more than entertainment from his creations, have taken to mourning Uemura online.