If you had to name a handful of employees at Nintendo, there are several that would come to mind: Reggie, Miyamoto, Iwata, Sakurai, and Koji Kondo are just a few. You might never have heard, however, of Genyo Takeda. I know I haven’t! Takeda certainly preferred to remain out of the spotlight during his tenure at Nintendo, but his manifold achievements at Nintendo were awarded last week at the D.I.C.E. Awards for having won his 2017 Lifetime Achievement award.
In his later years at Nintendo, Takeda was one of Nintendo’s general managers and “Technology Fellows” alongside Miyamoto and others. Straight out of college from Shizuoka University, he joined Nintendo back in 1972, and he worked at Nintendo for 45 years until his retirement last year. Takeda had his hands in many of Nintendo’s many aims. He was, one might call him, Nintendo’s very first video game designer, and he was pivotal in changing Nintendo’s focus from consumer electronics to video games in the mid to late ’70s. In fact, Takeda even served as a mentor for Shigeru Miyamoto himself back in 1974, just two years after joining the company!
The accolades of Takeda are wide and far. His first game was EVR Race, a multiplayer horse-race betting arcade console, which you probably wouldn’t even know about unless you grew up in Japan in the ’70s. However, slightly more well known is his production of the arcade and NES versions of Punch-Out!! and the SNES’ Super Punch-Out!! He was also the producer, director, and scriptwriter for the NES classics Star Tropics and its sequel Zoda’s Revenge: Star Tropics II.
However, Takeda didn’t just limit himself to software, as he was instrumental in the hardware arena as well. He helped usher in brand new technology with the Nintendo 64, bringing both the analog stick to its famous controller as well as 3D graphics cards into the console’s circuitry. He also led the development of one of Nintendo’s biggest successes: the Wii. He led the creation of the many motion sensors in the Wii Remote and championed the ability for the Wii to promote accessibility.
Throughout his career, he has been at the nexus of, as he says it, “the arts, psychology-based commercialism, and technology.” An incredibly humble man, he accepted the award on behalf of all the engineers and for the behind-the-scenes workers within the game industry, asking them to continue performing the “hard fun” of making video games in order to keep their players smiling. Certainly, with all that behind him, we think he’s earned his award!