Yamagami from Iwata Asks: Xenoblade Chronicles
|First game||Dr. Mario|
Originally hired as a programmer in the R&D division, his superiors realized that he had a natural talent for creating games, and allowed him to take the lead on his own smaller projects. The first of these games was Dr. Mario, a Tetris inspired game, with its own unique twist on the formula. With the great success of Dr. Mario, his bosses game Yamagami even more power, and appointed him as the "Puzzle Master", who would oversee the development of many classic Nintendo puzzle games. When Intelligent Systems pitched the idea of Panel de Pon to Nintendo, Yamagami became head of the project, and together Nintendo and IS created a new kind of puzzle game.
At this time, Yamagami was also appointed as a manager for games being developed by outside studios, in particular, he was inolved with overseeing the Fire Emblem series. However despite having more duties, he still was required to keep making his own games, and was the lead director for the Game & Watch Collection series.
In 2004, Yamagami became the head of Nintendo SPD Production Group 2, and his involvement in game development shifted to a more producer type role. As head of SPD2, he is in charge of all games being developed by Intelligent Systems, Game Freak, Monolith Soft, and other developers. He played a big part in the success of Xenoblade Chronicles, as when Tetsuya Takahashi was prepared to cut out chunks of the game to meet his deadline, Yamagami had development extended which was a drastic change from Namco's managment style.