Nintendo's former president once said game devs/pubs should copy each other's ideas

A very different Yamauchi

Former Nintendo president Hiroshi Yamauchi is very well known for ruling Nintendo with an iron fist, and doing all he could to stop out the competition. His methods of operation and opinions on games were quite divisive, and don't really fit in with the Nintendo of today. That's what makes this comment from a classic interview so interesting.

All the way back in 1979, Mr. Yamauchi was interviewed by TV station NHK. He was asked about how the game industry should move forward, which is when he responded with a very un-Yamauchi answer.

There’s no such thing as patenting a way of playing. Look, if someone has the inclination and the time, they can copy anything. There’s no way around that. So we should abandon that way of thinking, and everyone should release their software openly, for the growth of the amusement industry as a whole. That way, even if, say, Space Invaders declines in popularity, then computer games will continue to flourish. We need to abandon this idea of secrecy, and consider pooling all of our resources in order to grow the industry. That’s the ideal.

Obviously Yamauchi reversed this feelings once Nintendo had big-name hits like Mario and Donkey Kong under their belt. The company got a taste of big gaming success, and Yamauchi was determined to hang onto it!

Categories: Interviews


That was in the late 70s when almost all Nintendo did was copy other game developers' ideas, for some context.

Mon May 25 20 02:14am
Rating: 1

Such as? Because most of their games are original even from that time especially radar scope.

Balloon fighter is a good start.

Mon May 25 20 02:25pm
(Updated 1 time)

A large number of space invader clones, breakout clones, and galga cloned https://tiredoldhack.com/2017/09/16/the-complete-history-of-nintendo-arcade-games/

Plus pong, and breakout clones if you count color TV games

Also... Radar Scope wasn't original for its time. It was a clone with a gimmick, that's still a clone.

Interestingly no pac man clone, that game came BEFORE Pac Man

I'd argue that every company back then were also not being original. And in Nintendo's case, they realized that they can't do much in arcades so they moved over to consoles.

Yes every company copied each other back then, we were specifically talking about Nintendo.

This comment was made by Yamauchi when they (and everyone else) mostly copied others, and was certainly not made by him when they were making their own games on their own hardware.

I always wished other controller-makers would just copy the Nintendo D-pad when I was a kid. It turns out that was one thing Nintendo didn't want to share.

Mon May 25 20 02:16am
Rating: 2

If Hiroshi Yamauchi saw how Sony blatantly copies Nintendo for nearly everything, he'd take back those words imo.

I actually think he's right. And the law basically agrees, which is why you can't patent gameplay and the like.

I don't know that seems like a very "Yamauchi" sort of statement to me. He said a lot of whacky things over the years and just reading the headline I knew exactly who the article was going to be about even without reading.

There's definately no way in hell Iwata would have ever said something like that at basically any point. He was generally (always?) very considered in his remarks.

Obviously you don’t become Japan’s richest man following that mantra. You change course and set sail for money island with your legal guns at the ready!


Today's VIP

helljumper5252's avatar
Joined: August 2016

Social Services

Want to join this discussion?

You should like, totally log in or sign up!