Nintendo President Satoru Iwata Passes Away Aged 55
John Williamson / 3 years ago
Today is a tragic day for gamers, developers, publishers and anyone else involved in the gaming industry as we mourn the loss of Satoru Iwata at the age of 55. Taken far too early, Iwata had struggled with a bile duct growth and taken time off from public appearances to undergo surgery. Despite initial impressions being positive, the surgery wasn’t successful and Iwata sadly, never recovered. A statement from Nintendo confirmed the terrible news and reads:
“Nintendo Co., Ltd. deeply regrets to announce that President Satoru Iwata passed away on July 11, 2015 due to a bile duct growth.”
Iwata was a pioneer who brought fun to millions of homes and performed his executive role in such an endearing, non-corporate way. He joined Nintendo in the 1980s and helped create iconic games such as Earthbound and some of the later Kirby titles. Furthermore, he was at the helm during the hugely successful Wii and 3DS years. While the Wii was a commercial hit, it didn’t offer many enriching games but had a number of phenomenal exceptions. My personal highlights were Xenoblade Chronicles and The Last Story. Additionally, the 3DS library is exemplary and contains a wealth of exclusives making it a dream system for JRPG aficionados.
It wasn’t always a rip-roaring success though as Iwata’s management of the Gamecube, and Wii U came under fire due to weak sales versus the competition. This also applied to the lack of 3rd party support on the Wii U. For all the Wii U’s flaws, the games it has are fantastic and Super Mario 3D is one of my favourites of all time! In a similar fashion, the Gamecube featured classics like The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, The Legend of Zelda: Windwaker, Super Mario Sunshine and Metal Gear Solid: Twin Snakes.
One of my dearest memories harks back to Iwata’s “Heart of a Gamer” keynote at GDC 2005 which was nothing short of inspiring. He eloquently said,
“On my business card I’m a corporate president, in my mind I’m a game developer, but in my heart I’m a gamer”
He was never afraid to be self-depreciating and look silly just to bring joy and happiness throughout the world. This is why the Nintendo Direct programs he presented became so popular.
Iwata is impossible to replace, but also impossible to forget. We will always remember you and everything you did to progress this medium into such a successful form of entertainment.
R.I.P Mr. Iwata, we will miss you and your infectious charm.