Game world mourns loss of visionary Satoru Iwata

“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,” – Satoru Iwata, 1959-2015

Nintendo issued an announcement stating that Satoru Iwata passed away on Saturday, at the age of 55. He was named President of Nintendo in 2002, notably the first to hold that position outside of the founding Yamauchi family.

Iwata started his career helping to create and develop legendary game franchises like Kirby, Super Smash Bros, The Legend of Zelda, Mario, and Pokémon, before eventually joining Nintendo in 2000. Iwata was a driving force in Nintendo developing the innovative DS and Wii platforms, making Nintendo among the few console manufacturers to be profitable on a hardware basis. Most recently Mr. Iwata started to push Nintendo to embrace the mobile game market, moving beyond the traditional console environment.

“One or two Wi-Fi games will be ready for launch. And, I am pushing our team to make sure Smash Bros. is one of them. That way, no matter where Reggie is, I can always beat him.” – Satoru Iwata, E3 2005

He was beloved by the game community not just because of his accomplishments, but also his endearing and likeable personality, never afraid to poke fun at himself – either addressing a bunch of bananas in an interview or maintaining a mock rivalry with Reggie Fils-Aimé, President of Nintendo America. In 2014, Iwata made news by cutting his salary in half in response to poor profits from the previous year.

Mr. Iwata contributed uniquely and undeniably to the world of gaming in general and his passing is an indescribably great loss to gamers everywhere. It goes without saying that he will be deeply missed. His legacy, however, will continue to live on for generations to come. The message he will be remembered for, is simply, joy.

“Video games are meant to be just one thing. Fun. Fun for everyone.”

Hirokazu Tanaka, iconic composer for some of the most famous videogame franchises, wrote this touching tribute to Iwata, titled “Dedicated to Satoru Iwata”

Rest in peace, Iwata-San.

Game world mourns loss of visionary Satoru Iwata