July 11th, 2015 marked
the passing of Satoru Iwata, the 55-year-old President and CEO of Nintendo. It was sad news for gamers world over, who expressed their heartache, their memory, and their joy in his life.
expressed it through art. Some through eulogy. Some through animation. Some congregated at memorial shrines in his honor. Some asked for an Amiibo in his likeness. Even members of the gaming industry from rival companies expressed their grief and opened up about his legacy.
But his memory still touches those same people today, and many are coming together online once more to remember the man and the legacy he left. While it is with heavy hearts that we remember this passing, it is also with joy and celebration that we reflect on the life of a man who was revolutionary in shaping the gaming industry as we know it today. Though Iwata has departed from this planet, he still lives on in all of our hearts.
Iwata accomplished many things in his storied career, though he never forgot where he came from. He had a huge hand in game development, having contributed to numerous titles such as
EarthBound, Kirby, and Super Smash Bros. Without Iwata, Pokémon Gold and Silver would be completely different, as the Kanto region would have been absent from the final launch.
As a corporate president with HAL Laboratories, Iwata saved the company from financial destruction. As Nintendo’s president, Iwata truly shined however, leading the company by bringing the DS and the Wii, two of the gaming industry’s most well-received systems, to market. Before his untimely passing, Iwata also helped bring Nintendo into the mobile market by partnering with DeNA to create apps based on Nintendo IP.
Despite these positions, Iwata never left his gaming roots. He understood what gamers wanted. His presence in Nintendo Directs always made them more enjoyable to watch. The Iwata Asks series gave us an inside look at the development of some of our favorite games. Iwata was not only the president of Nintendo—he was a beacon for what we as gamers wanted Nintendo to be. As a future businessman, I can only hope that I’m at least a fraction as in tune with my clients’ needs as Iwata was with ours.
From Colin McIsaac, Editor-in-Chief:
“If we continue down the same path as we have in the past, people may become tired of gaming.”
— Satoru Iwata
So many of Iwata’s words are eternally powerful, but this one jumped out to me today. I see too many Nintendo fans scared of new ideas, clinging to tradition as if it any alternative would destroy what we cherish in the now. But
Pokémon games have been so similar for so long, and in a few short days, Pokémon GO made it cool to like Pokémon again. Zelda games have been treading the same path for so long, and Breath of the Wild is now one of the most widely-anticipated games of the generation.
At their best, Nintendo takes everything we love and boldly builds it anew. Their audacity can simultaneously expand the gaming population and inspire those of us who already play. Whether we realize it or not, it’s why every single one of us loves them in the first place.
“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
Please join us in the comments below to pay tribute to a man who gave us all so much. We’d love to hear your favorite Iwata moments. If you have a particular quote that means a lot to you, let us know. Share your art with us. This is a time of remembrance, so let us do just that.