For those who do not know, Nintendo President and CEO Satoru Iwata passed away on July 11th, 2015 due to a bile duct growth. Nintendo published a notification of his death online.
Mr. Iwata displayed amazing talent in everything he did. As a student, he attended the Tokyo Institute of Technology where he studied computer science and did freelance work for HAL Laboratory. After graduation, he joined HAL full time and worked as a producer on many gaming classics like Balloon Fight and several of the Kirby games. He also helped create Nintendo fan-favorite Earthbound as programming director.
Iwata was promoted to president of HAL in 1993 when the company was quickly approaching bankruptcy. He was a key component in helping the company turn itself around. He also aided in the development of some of the most well-known Pokémon games on Nintendo consoles (Gold, Silver, and Stadium). In 2000, Iwata was appointed Director of Nintendo’s corporate planning division, and 2 years later was made President of the company, taking over where Hiroshi Yamauchi left off. He was the first president to not be related to the Yamauchi family.
Satoru Iwata was one of the driving forces behind the Nintendo DS and Nintendo Wii, two of gaming’s best selling video game systems. He felt that the gaming industry was becoming too exclusive and wanted games that would be appealing to all types of players, and touch-screen controls and motion-sensor gaming were unique features that attracted a large audience. His successes led him to be named one of Barrons’ Top 30 CEO and he helped increase Nintendo’s stock prices by almost double its original amount.
Though he maintained his position as CEO at the company, he helped produce many titles of different Nintendo IP like Mario, The Legend of Zelda, Metroid, and Kirby.
One thing I will miss about Mr. Satoru Iwata is seeing him in Nintendo Direct presentations. These took me back to the time when I would drop everything just to watch cartoons on Saturday mornings. He helped create some of my favorite video games growing up, and I’m going to miss him saying his commonly used phrase, “Please understand.”
Thank you for everything, Mr. Iwata. You have truly made an impact on the gaming industry and the world!