Onwards to Better Places by @RamImaquinario.
This week, we are presenting a commemorative piece for Mr. Satoru Iwata, who recently passed away. Mr. Iwata was born in Sapporo, Hokkaido, Japan on December 6, 1959. He would grow up to become the 4th President and CEO of Nintendo. This piece is about how his work created our cherished memories that will live on forever:
“Nintendo has always been at the forefront of imaginative and creative games, and all gamers, regardless of age, have grown up with Nintendo. Being a president or CEO is a fairly easy job, especially when they are in charge of massive successes (such as the Wii). But it is when the company is in trouble that we truly see the true grit of a person. Many simply could have resorted to drastic actions and follow market trends but the respectful thing about Mr. Iwata is that he never once wanted to devalue Nintendo or their legacy. He stood by his company through all the hate over the WiiU and the 3DS and the negativity that Nintendo was behind in those times. However, he also knew when to listen to the public. The massive strides Nintendo was making in recent months with announcing mobile games, partnering with universal studio, and creating Nintendo Skylanders truly showed his humility, and his strive to make his company better. It is a shame that he never got to see Nintendo return to being the behemoth that it truly is. Many of the things that came to define Nintendo in recent years, good and bad, all came from his many choices. We thank you, Mr. Iwata, for your many, many contributions.”
-Vincent Kenny aka @viralvinnie
“As a kid in the early 90’s in South-Africa…you were nothing if you didn’t have a NES. After Saturday morning X-Men, it was either Super Mario, giving yourself an aneurysm trying to finish the swing level of Circus Charlie, or a marathon sleepover Contra session with your best friend. NES kick-started most of our journeys into gaming. We didn’t even know it was called an NES. We just called it TV games, and blowing into that cartridge and grabbing that controller took you to another world. When it became portable, you could not imagine a road trip without kicking some butt in the Viridian Forest. The start I had with Nintendo opened me up to a life in gaming, and eventually lead me to creating the first radio show about gaming in South-Africa. What Mr. Iwata did, not just the world of gaming but for me as person, can never be undone. He was a true legend and will be sorely missed.”
-Wayne van Jaarsveld aka @DJwaynej
“In High School, I was sort of figuring out what I wanted to do with my life and back then, I wanted to be a game designer. I didn’t really know about Iwata at the time except that he was a big head up at the Nintendo of Japan and that I read about him in the Iwata Asks. (I was in high school during the Wii era). I was always fascinated about how informational those articles were and how he took the time to do them since there wasn’t any specific reason for Nintendo to do them and only hardcore fans would be interested in reading them. His team always seemed relaxed with him. I could tell he was a good leader and fostered a good environment. He was legitimately a good person and he handled being the face of Nintendo pretty well as opposed to others who remained more in the background. Without his personal touch to Nintendo, I may not have bothered learning about game design or even considered entering the field. I thought it would be too hard to become a game designer but his story of working from nothing to becoming something huge motivated me. He was as much my inspiration as Miyamoto himself. He will be missed and it feels like something is missing now. I wish I could’ve met him. I hope NIntendo’s future continues on well in his memory and the projects he had set forward come to fruition within the coming years. It’ll be a reminder of his hard work and dedication to true gaming and creativity.”
-Christopher F. Arnold aka @Kurisuellegarde
“(July 11, 2015) Today’s event of losing such a great mind and an even greater person have brought memories of my childhood to the foreground. While remembering so many great times, the man behind many of those would surface. I remember receiving my first Gameboy so clearly. I was finally able to play a game that I had waited for what seemed like ages. I spent all my birthday money on Pokémon Blue. My excitement could not be contained and before we even left the store, I had ripped the box open. During the car ride home, I didn’t take my eyes of my screen, didn’t make any sounds, just this huge grin stretched across my face as I was about to encounter the biggest decision of my life: which Pokémon would I choose. I played that game in secret under my blanket for hours past my bed time that night and many nights to come. When I returned to school, that’s all my friends and I would discuss: what stages we were at, tips on getting through the dreaded rock tunnel and how to get past that annoying Snorlax! It consumed us but in such a fun and memorable way. Even as shy as I was back then, it was the bridge that built my courage to speak to new people like asking what Pokémon they had and if they wanted to trade, etc. It was something that my parents thought was impossible. How shocked and speechless they were as they witnessed their insanely shy son approaching new people with a newfound confidence. This game took up a huge part of my childhood and every time I think back, the corners of my mouth curl up in to a smile.
As I entered my teens, hormones kicked in. I became more of a recluse, sociable in school but spending my days in my room with computer games. One game stood above the rest, The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker. I had enjoyed The Ocarina of Time so when this game came out, I begged my parents to get it for me, even committing myself to chores for a few weeks to help persuade them. Once I got it, I ran to my room and didn’t move. I remember waking up in the lookout on Outset Island, and starting an incredible journey. Staying in my room, this game gave me that outlet to explore new places. This game accompanied me throughout my teens. Instead of looking back at how bored and antisocial I was, I look back with extreme fondness and an odd bit of frustration (that game was hard!). I thank Satoru Iwata for giving me so many memories throughout my childhood. What he gave me and millions of other people is priceless and will remain with us for our whole lives. Today, we lose a wonderful soul but he lives on in the games that we love so much.”
“It was not a secret that Nintendo’s CEO and President, Satoru Iwata, had been ill lately. Missing shareholder meetings, the Electronic Entertainment Expo and noticeably losing weight, last year he underwent surgery to remove a bile duct growth. The surgery was a success and Mr. Iwata commented that the growth “was detected very early and [he] had no symptoms.” He seemed to be in good health. Mr. Iwata was present at a shareholders meeting only a few weeks ago. His passing on July 11th, 2015 from a bile duct growth was all the more shocking. At the age of 55, Mr. Iwata was not a young man nor was he an old man. He leaves behind a legacy and career that includes being a programmer, director, producer and president. “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” was how he described himself.
In the 1990s, Mr. Iwata worked at HAL Laboratory on some great games including the Kirby games, ‘Balloon Fight’ and the beloved RPG ‘Earthbound’. Upon ascending to President of Nintendo, he led his company through the release of two major games: the Nintendo DS, which sold over 154 million units and still is the best selling video game handheld ever made, and the Nintendo Wii, which sold over 100 million units and appealed to people who never even played a video game. The sales for the Nintendo 3DS started slow but have been able to make a resurgence. It’s quite impressive considering the rise of smartphone games. His legacy not only includes Kirby, ‘Balloon Fight’ and ’Earthbound’, but he also directed the original ‘Super Smash Bros’ for the Nintendo 64 and when its sequel ‘Super Smash Bros Melee’ looked like it would not release on time, Mr. Iwata did a code review and debugged for the game, even though by this time, he was the President of Nintendo.
Out of all the games Mr. Iwata helped create, ‘Pokémon Gold and Silver’ had the most significance to me. In my mind, those are not only the best Pokémon games but are part of the greatest video game sequel. I still remember journeying through Johto, beating the gym leaders, collecting all the badges, beating the Champion and finally, the Indigo Plateau. I thought my adventure was done only for Kanto, the region from the first Pokémon games (Pokémon Red and Blue), to be unlocked. Now, there were eight more badges to collect, the return of many beloved characters and a final climatic battle with Red, the character you played as in Pokémon Red and Blue. It was Mr. Iwata who made this possible. He was the programmer responsible for compressing Gold and Silver so that Kanto would fit onto the GameBoy cartridge.
The day after his death, I played the recently released Wii U title ‘Splatoon’ and one feature I loved about that game is the integration it has with Miiverse, Nintendo’s social media platform. As soon as I started up the game, everywhere I looked in the hub world, there were posts and more posts from fans mourning his death and paying tribute. It is amazing to me that anyone who owns a Wii U or a 3DS can post to Miiverse to pay tribute to Mr. Iwata.
In recent years, Nintendo has been losing market share to its competitors. The Wii U has not been as successful as the Wii. Nintendo has been doing terribly financing and in March 2015, they announced their first operating profit in four years. Last year, Mr. Iwata took a pay cut of 50% because Nintendo’s poor financial results. For that, Mr. Iwata earned my respect as any other CEO would certainly not take such a huge pay cut.
Satoru Iwata’s legacy lives on every time we press start on any of the great video games he had a hand in creating. I find it a fitting tribute that he leaves us with the upcoming ‘Super Mario Maker’. A video game that will push us to use our imagination to design our own levels. Just like Mr. Iwata did.
Thank you Mr. Iwata for all the great games. May you rest in peace.”
-Jordan James Dalzell aka @DazzlerJJD
Nintendo Characters Paying their Respect by @AkuoSay.
“1999 was a Christmas I particularly remember with fondness. I was twelve-years-old and amongst other thoughtful gifts, I had generously received a copy of two of the latest Nintendo 64 games of the time – Jet Force Gemini and Super Smash Bros. The latter cemented my love and admiration for Nintendo’s ability to produce unique and novel gameplay concepts, creating an IP that would be cherished by millions throughout the proceeding decades.
My friends and I had a blast attempting to launch each other off Great Fox or Hyrule Castle, or teaming up against the CPU in order to avoid mass fallouts depending on who got to play as Kirby. To this day, I am still sending weekly tweets to said friends in the hope that they have an hour to spare for a quick game on Wii U:
“Smash at 9?”
“Cool. See you online.”
If it wasn’t for HAL Laboratories – of which, the late Mr. Iwata was a key player – I would not have such treasured memories that I could now share. The recent news of his passing affected me more than I had ever expected, particularly upon realising the amount of input he had in shaping the classics that had forged a large majority of my childhood experiences. The video game industry has indeed lost one of its major talents, visionaries, and trendsetters.”
-Dave Wheeler aka @OkCyDe
Farewell, Mr. Iwata by @seiryuuden.
Thank you, everyone, for participating in this commemorative piece. And thank you, Mr. Iwata for your inspiration and kindness. You have honored us with your innovative mind and we hope that you are doing well wherever you are.