Just days after writing a harsh critique of Nintendo’s current trajectory, I learned Sunday afternoon, as did most of the gaming world, that we lost a legend in Satoru Iwata. While I stand by that critique, I can’t lie and say I didn’t feel like crap. In honor of the contributions Mr. Iwata gave to the Nintendo family, I wanted to write out a few thoughts in remembrance.
Iwata started out with HAL laboratory, (creators of Kirby, Earthbound and arguably their most important contribution with the Super Smash Bro Series.) eventually becoming president in 1993. From there, he partially over saw HAL games released on the SNES and was more involved with Nintendo 64 releases, like the original Super Smash Bros, Kirby 64, Pokemon Stadium to name a few. Additionally, he was involved in the development of Pokemon Gold & Silver on the Gameboy Color. Made President of Nintendo in 2002, he was able to guide Nintendo through various industry changes and continuing to improve and innovate their values and creative spirit to new generations. There is probably no better example of this than the Wii. Oddly named, but impressively designed regardless of it’s lack of power with the other consoles, the system catered to the family and they responded with their dollars, making it the 3rd highest selling console in history. And the Wii was not lacking in quality Nintendo crafted gaming with the Super Mario Galaxy series, the final Metroid Prime entry, Zelda: Twilight Princess and Skyward Sword, and not to mention one of the best packaged games since the NES, Wii Sports.
He was a gamer at heart in every sense of the phrase. He loved games since his high school days, even doing freelance programming for the above mentioned HAL laboratories during his college years. His desire for innovation and preserving the rich history and spirit of Nintendo led to many successes. He never wanted to add gimmicks to a Nintendo console, only creative and intuitive ideas that would enhance the player experience. I could heap a bunch of complaints on the company for some of their recent failures, but I’d have to ignore the great progress and accomplishment that Iwata initiated and developed during his tenure as president. The gaming world has lost one it’s great supporters and nurturers.
Thank you Mr. Iwata
December 6, 1959 – July 11, 2015