Satoru Iwata – Remembering a Legend

Satoru Iwata

Unfortunately, as I’m sure you’re all aware, on Sunday the 11th of July 2015, global president and CEO of Nintendo, Satoru Iwata, lost his battle to cancer, leaving behind a legacy that millions of people appreciate.

I first found out the news at one o’clock on Sunday morning. I was tired as anything, was just about to sleep, but saw a tweet that shocked me beyond belief. “Satoru Iwata has passed away, aged 55”.

I wasn’t tired anymore. “No,” I said to myself. “No, this can’t be true… surely this is a hoax?”

It wasn’t. It was real. Surreal. It had actually happened. But I didn’t want it to. I didn’t sleep until 4:30 am that night.

The host of numerous Nintendo Directs, a man so unique and focussed on bringing joy, the best for his company and his employees, a role model who always stuck to what he believed to be right; a hero whose sole purpose in life was to bring joy to the masses… had disappeared.

You will always continue fighting.

I couldn’t help but let the emotions overwhelm me. The head of a multi-billion dollar company, a status usually dominated by nothing but suit-wearing money makers, had passed on, and, suffice to say, it was the death of nothing short of a legend.

There are several stories and quotes of Mr Iwata that have been circulating recently. His programming days of Balloon Fight, EarthBound and Pokémon, the co-creation of Kirby and Super Smash Bros., and his climbing of the ranks, transforming from a game developer at HAL Laboratory to the president of gaming’s biggest company.

One of your quirkier appearances…

But my favourite story originates from a few years ago, when Nintendo were losing money for the first time in decades, and Nintendo needed a method of saving a little money. Most CEOs would fire employees – let them go, so their companies could save money. Not Iwata. He cut his pay check in half.

He truly cares for his company. Instead of diminishing morale of those who work for Nintendo, he chose the Japanese tradition of honour: to take full responsibility of one’s own failures and misgivings.

To say Iwata-san was an inspiration is an incredible understatement.

His passing reverberated throughout the world. Fans across all social media – Twitter, Reddit, Tumblr and Facebook – all showed their support and grief. So many companies showed their support. Sony, Microsoft, Rare, Capcom, Sega, Ubisoft and so many more offered their deepest condolences.

Fans reacted with grief, art and great sadness. The sheer amount of fanart I’ve seen over the past two days is incredible. The pictures of Iwata, remembering fantastic moments of his life have been scattered across the Internet.

Perhaps the most inspiring is the picture of a rainbow above Nintendo’s headquarters in Japan. Absolutely beautiful.

Riding Rainbow Road to Heaven

Satoru Iwata has left us – but he isn’t gone.

If there’s just one thing I want you to do after reading this article, it’s that you should go and play a game. Any game that makes you happy. If it’s on your NES, PlayStation 2, Xbox 360, Sega Dreamcast, Atari 2600 – whatever. Just play something that brings joy to your world, because that’s all Iwata wanted to bring along with video gaming – smiles.

Great people do not disappear unless they are forgotten. Satoru Iwata has left the Earth, but is in the heart of every gamer out there. He only had fifty-five years on this planet, but every single one of his seconds alive were dedicated to making us happy.

And I’m sure I speak for everyone when I say he has achieved that.

Thank you, Satoru Iwata. Thank you for becoming president of Nintendo the same year I played my very first game. It was fate. You grew up with me. That’s why I got emotional. Thank you for shaping my entire life.

Wherever you are, I know you are happy. Rest in peace, sir. May your legacy live on. Forever.

Share this post:Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on RedditShare on TumblrEmail this to someoneShare on StumbleUponDigg this

About The Author

Opinion and feature writer

Suckling upon the gaming teat of an N64 growing up, I'm now a gamer who spends thousands of hours a year gaming and writing. I love it.