It’s a sad day for everything related to videogames as it’s been reported that Satoru Iwata, President of Nintendo, has passed away at the far too young age of 55. Nintendo published a painfully short press release simply stating:
Nintendo Co., Ltd. deeply regrets to announce that President Satoru Iwata passed away on July 11, 2015 due to a bile duct growth.
Mr. Iwata was the fourth president in the history of Nintendo, and the first to have had experience creating, or even playing video games. He started in the video game industry in the early 80’s as a programmer, and worked his way up from there. Some of the coding stories attributed to Mr. Iwata are honestly incredible. Everything from porting a battle code from Pokemon Stadium to the N64 with no reference, to chipping in – as President of the company – to help in the development of first party titles such as Metroid Prime, Super Mario Sunshine, and Animal Crossing.
While Iwata achieved great success in the industry and was promoted all the way up to President of Nintendo, his mindset never swayed from the parts of the industry that he truly loved, famously opening his GDC 2005 Keynote with the following quote:
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.
Iwata was respected throughout the entire industry. From all accounts was an exceptionally friendly, caring, and humble man who wanted to do everything he could to help the company he loved succeed. Iwata even cut his own salary in half after a particularly poor quarter financial report. IGN has a great write up about Mr. Iwata’s rise to leadership in Nintendo which I definitely recommend reading. Kotaku has also collected some of the thoughts and feelings of the game industry on Mr. Iwata’s passing in their post here.
Iwata proved time and again that he loved the game industry, and games in particular. He also never took himself too seriously, using E3 press conference videos to show even more of his fun side. From “fighting” with Nintendo of America President and CEO Reggie Fils-Aime at Super Smash Brothers in 2014:
To going full-puppet to open NIntendo’s Digital Event ahead of E3 2015:
Mr. Iwata wanted to make games that everybody could pick up and play. Some may feel that Nintendo has taken a back seat to the likes of Sony and Microsoft, but few will argue that Nintendo still holds an important place in the hearts and minds of most gamers. Satoru Iwata had a lot to do with that. Nintendo is not filling Mr. Iwata’s position immediately, but will instead temporarily remain under the caretaker leadership of Genyo Takeda and Shigeru Miyamoto.
All of us at MOARGeek want to offer our deepest condolences to the Iwata family. We’d love to hear about your favorite Satoru Iwata/Nintendo stories. Tell us in the comments below, or on Google+, Facebook, Twitter, or Tumblr.