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Written by Dustin Murphy
When I tried to type this, I almost seem to be unable to finish, rather I can’t even begin due to the pain my heart feels. Many of you may know Satoru Iwata as the CEO of Nintendo, while many of us don’t see him as that. We see him as a developer, a gamer, a member of our community that changed gaming in many, many, many amazing ways that we can never expect to see happen again. Let alone was a he a member of a developer, he treated us like friends, and even his family rather he met us or not, which was the empowerment this man had over us as gamers, but also one of our very own. When I step back and wipe the tears from my eyes as I type this up almost a week after his passing, the tears have still not stopped falling as I feel myself choke up, but it’s not just because this man was one of us. It’s because the adventure he took us on that stopped before it could truly feel like it was finished.
As you may know, Iwata-san was a visionary, a man who loved challenges, but there is a man that many of you may or may not know about in his younger years before he took to Nintendo. As a young man in his years growing up in his home town of Sapporo, Japan, Satoru-sama grew up with his father taking place in a head of his district as municipal mayor. In those years, Satoru began to find himself interested in video games and technology as he would get bored, create video games on his calculator, and would soon begin distributing those games to his friends. Over the years Iwata found himself growing even more interested in computers and would be admitted to the Tokyo Institute of Technology where he took on multiple classes so that he could major in computer sciences, which would soon lead to him taking his unpaid internship at Commodore Japan, which lead him to taking a job with HAL Laboratory. There he would find himself becoming the head engineer completing tasks with technical and software development. This is also where he would begin freelance work as a programmer for HAL Laboratory, Inc., as a game developer and would collaborate closely with Nintendo, which inevitable lead to his departure from the company and finding himself at Nintendo. However, after graduating from the university, many wouldn’t know that he came onto HAL Laboratory as a full-time employee where he would become the coordinator of software production starting in 1983, and would help build a relationship between both HAL and Nintendo in order to produce games for the Famicom home console.
Many would not know his success with games he worked on such as Balloon Fight, NES Open Tournament Golf, EarthBound, and the Kirby franchises. As the company began to go into bankruptcy, Iwata was appointed as President of HAL in 1993 where he helped readjust the companies business strategies and stabilize the company once more into a successful company, which would strengthen the ties with Nintendo.
Let alone did Iwata help save HAL, he also helped found the company Creatures Inc., which was founded in 1995 by Tsunekazu Ishihara, which would lead to the successful titles Pokémon Gold and Silver for the Game Boy Color in the fall of 1999. While he also helped do that, many would not know that Iwata helped develop the future title Pokémon Stadium, but also helped make this possible by using code from the original Red and Green titles in order to re-work the code in order for it to function, but during this period he also created the compression tools that were used for Gold and Silver when they eventually launched on the GBC. Let alone did his legacy entail the franchises Pokémon, he was also known for some of the most popular Nintendo franchises such as Kirby, Super Smash Bros., Brain Age Games, Earthbound, Balloon Fight, but also the simple fact that he had re-innovated gaming thanks to his faith in the Nintendo DS where he would bring forth the new age of gaming where graphics didn’t matter, where games were to be enjoyed, and the fact that some franchises remain just as fresh as ever with small changes and new additions. This also made him a major hit with Nintendo, but also fans.
When looking away from his achievements as a developer, a CEO, we all know that there is a quote that Iwata-san gained our hearts with;
“On my business card, I am a corporate president. In my mind, I am a game developer. But in my heart, I am a gamer.” – Satoru Iwata, Former CEO of Nintendo
This quote has become a motto that Nintendo has since followed. Thus saying is one that Iwata would demonstrate with great love when working on the projects he was apart of when working with the teams at Nintendo around the world, but what is his impact with the world?
The legacy that Iwata leaves behind is one that is huge, in an instant we lost the biggest and most sincere person that could have ever been met within the gaming industry; the moment he had said, “Please understand,” it wasn’t because he was going to say something to shut the crowds up, it was because he was being sincere, loving, and truthful to the fans of Nintendo as a whole, but not just to fans. Instead he said ut to an industry as well as the world around him. When Iwata-san was around, people knew who he was, he was one of us, and someone that loved games just as much as we did regardless of graphics, regardless of console, but he enjoyed them because they were fun, creative, and enjoyable. His death has left a large hole in the hearts of the fans who loved him because of his character, his enjoyability of games, his passion, drive, and sincerity that could be seen in the Nintendo forums known as Iwata Asks.
Iwata-san was not just another suit, he was a man who was much like any of us fans of gamers no matter the graphics of games, the console that played them, or the genre. In truth, his death has impacted the world as a whole.
With my closing thoughts, I hope you take this and know, he was not a businessman, he was one of us, he was a gamer at heart, and he loved his fans just as much as they loved him.
“Iwata, you will be missed. Your legacy, creativity, love, and passion is something that shall be looked upon and remind us just how young we are in heart, as gamers, and as an industry. Your impact has truly been felt and won’t be seen for possibly decades till those who look back on you will see what you have done for us. I must truly say, my heart has broken as I feel I have lost a personal friend due to your sincerity, passion, and love that could be felt through both Iwata Ask’s and Nintendo Direct. You will be missed, you are loved, and you will be remembered for centuries.” – Dustin Murphy, President of Blast Away the Game Review
– December 6th, 1959 to July 11th, 2015 –
About the Writer:
Dustin is our native console gamer, PlayStation and Nintendo reviewer who has an appetite for anything that crosses the boarders from across the big pond. His interest in JRPG’s, Anime, Handheld Gaming, and Pizza is insatiable. His elitist attitude gives him direction, want, and a need for the hardest difficulties in games, which is fun to watch, and hilarity at its finest. You can find him over on Twitter, Google+, and or you can find him on PSN with RaivynLyken.