Gunpei Yokoi, a video game designer at Nintendo, brought to the world marvelous inventions such as the Game Boy and Virtual Boy.
Many people speculated Yokoi resigned from Nintendo due to the failure of the Virtual Boy, the last project he worked on at Nintendo. After his resignation, Yokoi founded Koto, a company that worked on the WonderSwan handheld.
Before Yokoi’s death in a tragic car accident, he discussed about his resignation on Japanese magazine Bungeishunju. The article was recently republished by Livedoor.
After over thirty years, I left Nintendo. After graduating from university, I was at Nintendo the entire time working on playthings, but at the 55-year-old juncture, I thought about working at a job that would allow me even more freedom with my ideas.
The day before I retired [from Nintendo], The Nikkei did a big feature on me. In reality, I did not resign to ‘take responsibility for the Virtual Boy’s failure.’ Since before that, I was thinking that when I turned 55, I wanted to become independent.
To put it another way, I came up with a lifetime of ideas and continued making playthings. To continue tweaking Nintendo’s corporate philosophy of ‘niche-type playthings’—that’s the only reason I resigned.
What do you think, now knowing that Yokoi resigned because he wanted to become independent? Let us know in the comments.