The man came up with all manner of creations in R&D1, including Metroid, Kid Icarus, and Game & Watch. Before Miyamoto got his own department, R&D4, they worked together to produce games such as Donkey Kong and Super Mario Bros.
The precursor to the Zapper and ROB the Robot? Yokoi’s department.
He is credited with the creation of the Game Boy line of systems, as well as many of the early games on them, including the Super Mario Land series, Dr. Mario, and Metroid II: The Return of Samus.
He also came up with another piece of hardware: The Virtual Boy. As we all know, that is perhaps considered Nintendo’s greatest shortcoming, despite the cult-status the piece enjoys today by collectors and gamers.
Yokoi was crushed by the machine’s failure, and it left many at Nintendo questioning his abilities. He became something of an outcast at Nintendo, being given meaningless projects to more or less leave him spinning his wheels.
He resigned in 1996, mere days after the Game Boy Pocket was released.
After leaving Nintendo, he began Koto Laboratory, which was responsible for Bandai’s Wonderswan. Sadly, he never got to see the product through.
On October 4th, 1997, he was riding to work with a businessman from Nintendo when they saw an automobile accident. They pulled over to check on the vehicles, that was when another car struck. Yokoi was taken to the hospital, where he was later pronounced dead.
And Yokoi’s killer was never found.
What does this have to do with anything?
The man gave a lot to his company, and in the fashion of Japanese business, it only took one failure to virtually negate it all, eventually leading to the man’s end. It really is unfortunate, as one might wonder what the man might produce today were he still alive.
I guess something reminded me of the whole tragedy.