2 Years Later: Remembering Mr. Satoru Iwata

Written by: Artur Galvao

Around two years ago the video game community lost one of its greatest individuals. Mr. Satoru Iwata was former president of Nintendo and sadly passed away on July 11, 2015, in Kyoto, Japan. Mr. Iwata described himself as such “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.” This was the telling of the man who was the president of the biggest gaming company. Satoru Iwata was born on December 6, 1959 in Sapporo, Japan. Iwata was already a gifted person, learning at a young age basic coding with an old calculator.

Shortly after graduating from Tokyo Institute of Technology, he joined HAL as a programmer and helped create major games such as Kirby’s Dream Land. In 1993, Satoru became the president of HAL Laboratory. On serval occasions Satoru Iwata would step in to save projects, either from failing or not being behind on schedule. Earthbound 2, Super Smash Brothers, Melee and Pokémon Stadium are just some the games that would not been completed if not for Iwata’s help. Iwata never took credit for these titles always claiming that it was his job. He is one the few cooperate figures that the gaming world cares for. The reason for this, is that it always felt like a mutual feeling. Apart from the great games and hardware produced by Mr. Iwata, my favorite thing he has done will always be the Iwata asks segments. For those of you that aren’t familiar with it; Iwata Asks is a series of interviews conducted Iwata himself with key creators behind the making of Nintendo games and hardware. Legendary figures such as Mario creator Shigeru Miyamoto are often involved in these in-depth discussions. More people need to learn from the leadership skills this man possessed, and these interviews show the level of care and attention he held for every project.

Unlike former president Hiroshi Yamauchi, Iwata regularly met with developers. After being appointed the new president of Nintendo, Iwata personally met with all 40 department heads and roughly 150 employees. Iwata took the reigns of Nintendo during a rocky time for the company and Nintendo required Iwata to paint a new path. During his presidency, he oversaw the company’s two out of three most successful consoles, the DS (154.02 million Units) and the Wii (101.63 million Units).

What I’ll always remember about him is the kind face he brought to gaming. It finally felt as if was one of us was running the company, like a true gamer was running the show. Mr. Iwata’s philosophy is what has shaped the modern gaming world and the way Nintendo interacts with its fans. Even with a new wave of Nintendo content and consoles, Mr. Iwata’s influence is still present. Always with a smile on his face, Mr. Iwata showed that it’s possible to smile even in the toughest of situations. It is because of that, he is one my role models and if this website ever becomes even a fraction of the company Mr. Iwata lead, then I’ll be proud of my accomplishments. I strive to walk in the footsteps of Iwata, and hope to achieve that kind of leadership Iwata held during his life. Thank you for everything you left us.

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