Monday, July 13, 2015

R.I.P. Satoru Iwata (1959-2015)

It is with shock and sadness that I write this next article. Nintendo president Satoru Iwata passed away Saturday due to a bile duct tumor. Mr. Iwata's health was the main factor in him not being at E3 2014, and it had seemed that he became healthier. However, the tumor obviously returned, an aggressive one in a place that is extremely dangerous to have one.

Despite it being easy to not agree with Mr. Iwata's decisions with Nintendo, especially in his later years, it's hard for anyone to deny that the man loved what he did. He was the type of president who put games first, and made it a commitment to make his employees as happy as possible. Even in the tough times, Mr. Iwata took honorable steps, such as taking a severe cut to his salary-- half-- as a gesture of goodwill, and refusing to fire employees as a means to keep morale up within the company.

His public life showed his love for games. His appearances in Nintendo Directs and Iwata Asks segments showed his commitment to reach out to the fans and herald the successes of his employees. Mr. Iwata marched to the beat of a different drummer, bringing a special joy and humor to the gaming industry.

Under Satoru Iwata's leadership as president of Nintendo, he spearheaded two of Nintendo's greatest success stories, the Wii and the DS. While the former was not capitalized on with its successor, the focus of games first and foremost never wavered. Nintendo continued to persevere under Mr. Iwata's guidance, and his legacy with endure with the upcoming entry into mobile, Nintendo's next dedicated hardware, the NX, and Nintendo's health initiative.

Throughout his tenure as Nintendo president, Satoru Iwata remained one of my favorite gaming personalities. His knew his stuff, and while he didn't always make the correct decision, I think he did the best he could with what he had. I will always think fondly of his appearances on stage, his Nintendo Direct hosting duties, his extraordinary interviews with fellow developers in Iwata Asks, and his programming prowess in games like Balloon Fight, Pokemon Gold and Silver, and many more. Satoru Iwata may not be with us in physical form, but he will always be around in spirit, within the games he helped program, within the consoles and games he oversaw, and within the future decisions that Nintendo as a company makes. Rest well, Mr. Iwata. You've earned it.

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