NES & SNES Designer Masayuki Uemura Has Died Aged 78

Masayuki Uemura, the designer behind the creation of the NES and SNES, has passed away at the age of 78. The iconic Uemura was the head of Nintendo’s R&D2 department, and personally helped lead the team that created two of Nintendo’s most iconic consoles. 

The news arrived that Uemura passed away earlier this week on December 6th. Nintendo has not yet provided an official statement, but news seems to have originated from the Japanese documentary channel SailToArchipel.

Uemura joined Nintendo in 1971, after previously working for Sharp Corporation. The developer originally created arcade titles, but was then moved onto leading the R&D2 department. He served as lead architect on the Nintendo Entertainment system and the  Super Nintendo Entertainment systems. Both consoles would go on to shape the video game industry as we know it today. Cementing the developer as a key visionary for the medium. 

The developer also worked on software while at Nintendo, picking up credits for his work on titles like Ice Climber, Clu Clu Land, Gold, Baseball and Soccer. After several decades of working for Nintendo, Uemura retired in 2004 – although he did stay on as an advisor. Still passionate about video games, he became a professor at Ritsumeikan University where he imparted his knowledge by teaching students. 

Uemura visited the UK last year, providing a rare interview to Nintendo Life about the development of the NES. When asked which accomplishment he was most proud of, Uemura simply stated: “I am proud of the fact that I was assigned to be in charge of the birth and development of a games console.

Developers and key figures in the industry are already paying their respects to Uemura, including Super Smash Bros’ creator Masahiro Sakurai who stated: “It has been announced that Masayuki Uemura, the creator of the Family Computer, has passed away. I pray for your soul… NES is the game console that I was most influenced by. Without this, it wouldn’t be there.