“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
These words were echoed throughout social media yesterday as the world learned of the untimely passing of Nintendo President Satoru Iwata. For over a decade, Iwata lead Nintendo to a time of unprecedented success and inspired an entire industry in the process. His legacy began in the early 1980’s and continued as he rose through the ranks of Nintendo. Mr. Iwata did a lot for Nintendo but he also effected the fans a great deal as well. Take one look at Twitter today and you will see the messages of people truly heartbroken.
Iwata set the standard of what it meant to be a President in the world of video games. He loved Nintendo more than I or any of the fans could. Helping in bringing games like Kirby, Earthbound and even Super Smash Bros. to life, Iwata knew what it took to make a game and make it spectacular. That knowledge lead to maintaining Nintendo’s reputation for delivering polished and damn near perfect games throughout the years.
He was enthusiastic about evolving how we play and innovating for the future. He spearheaded the production of the Nintendo DS, bringing touch and dual-screen gaming to the masses. His view for the future with the Nintendo Wii’s motion control propelled the industry into exploring new and interesting ways to play games. His passion for innovation was inspiring.
Iwata was a corporate President but he never acted like it. My first time experience with Iwata was, like most, was during a Nintendo Direct. From then on, he became much more than a suit and tie or a President. He became a friend. His personal and hands-on approach to the fans in creating the Nintendo Direct was one of the simple but most ingenious idea’s implemented during his leadership. The personal touch of being delivered gaming news “directly” from Iwata himself started to shape Nintendo, not as a brand or company, but as a family.
His fun-loving attitude was infectious. Standing still for 10 seconds, staring at a handful of bananas, wearing Mario’s gloves and hat or asking Reggie Fils-Amie who his daddy was at E3. He was always having fun, as he should. He never tried to make gaming about sales numbers or statistics but rather what it’s always been about, having fun.
Iwata’s passion for gaming as a whole was what made him legendary. Everything he wanted to achieve, everything he implemented was all for the gamer’s enjoyment. Creating long lasting experiences that will stick with you for the rest of your life. That’s what made Iwata so special. He wasn’t a sharply dressed buisnessman, trying to pinch every penny from his consumers. He was one of us.
So, Mr. Iwata, from the bottom of my heart I want to extend a sincere and well earned Thank You. Thank you for bringing worlds to life, for innovating and inspiring an industry and for loving Nintendo as much as the rest of us do. Your presence will truly be missed.
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