Alan Stone, the industry legend that brought Nintendo to the United States, has died of cancer at 71.
Without Alan Stone, we might still be unfamiliar with iconic titles like Donkey Kong. As a co-founder of what would eventually become Nintendo of America, Stone was instrumental in the localization of the Japanese company’s earliest forays into the video game industry. Along with Ron Judy, Stone formed Far East Video, a company “bootstrapped” to Nintendo, in order to bring its coin-op titles to Western shores. By 1982,
Along with Ron Judy, Stone formed Far East Video, a company “bootstrapped” to Nintendo, in order to bring its coin-op titles to Western shores. By 1982, Donkey Kong had moved an almost unprecedented 60,000 units to bars, hotels, restaurants, and arcades.
Stone was also President and CEO of SEGA Entertainment from 1994 to 2004, and has served on the boards of multiple electronic entertainment companies since. In an interview that highlighted his work at NanoTech, he called Nintendo and SEGA “magnificent places to work” and talked about the institution of a “third-party development system” as one of the highlights of his career.
Alan Stone was one of the pioneers of third-party game development. Because of him, numerous other companies were given the chance to develop games for the innovative hardware that Nintendo was producing. Stone kickstarted the Western video game industry into the multi-billion dollar behemoth it is today. Despite being a relatively unknown figure outside the industry, he was both directly and indirectly responsible for much of its landscape.
UDC’s Michael Green paid a heartfelt tribute to his friend:
It was with great sadness that I read that Alan Stone, one of my oldest and best friends has died.
He had bravely fought that terrible disease, yet throughout all maintained his dignity and humour. We became friends when he was running Nintendo!and we became the UK distributor. He was a businessman with the highest integrity and the finest business ethic. He went on to do a magnificent job as president of Sega USA.
He built up so many friendships over the years that have endured till today. Hilary and I had so many great times with Al and Darlene that we will always treasure. The industry has not lost a good man, it has lost a giant. We will never forget you Al, and our heartfelt condolences to Darlene.
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