On Saturday, July 11th, 2015, Satoru Iwata passed away due to a bile duct growth. Nintendo released a short statement stating their regret at having to inform everyone of the passing of Iwata. Iwata was the fourth President and CEO of Nintendo and has been with Nintendo since the year 2000. Before joining Nintendo Iwata was with HAL Laboratory where some of the games he worked on were Balloon Fight, EarthBound, and the Kirby games.
Iwata became the President of HAL in 1993 and helped turn the company around and stabilize its finances. Iwata also assisted Nintendo in the development of Pokémon Gold and Silver for the Game Boy Color. He created compression tools utilized in Gold and Silver that enabled them to be able to have both the Johto and Kanto regions inside the game. Additionally, Iwata aided in the programming of Pokémon Stadium for the Nintendo 64 by reading the original coding for Pokémon Red and Green and using it to create the coding for Pokémon Stadium. In addition, he also worked on titles for The Legend of Zelda, Mario, and Animal Crossing after he went to work for Nintendo.
After Iwata joined Nintendo and received his promotion he helped lead the charge in revitalizing their handheld system to transition from the classic Game Boy to the new Nintendo DS. He also encouraged the development of the Wii which introduced the concept of Motion control based video games to gamers around the world. Both the Nintendo DS and the Wii were highly successful to the company.
Iwata said something once that really resonates with me, “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.” I will sorely miss Iwata, and it’s sad to think about the fact I will never see him again in another Nintendo Direct or knowing he’s there smiling, working his hardest to continue making Nintendo a great company.
Iwata will always be in our hearts though, and he will be missed by us all.