The Life and Legacy of Satoru Iwata

The video game industry suffered a tremendous blow over the weekend. Nintendo President and CEO Satoru Iwata tragically passed away Saturday evening. He was 55.

Unlike much of the leadership of modern gaming companies, Iwata is first and foremost a gamer. Iwata has always been deeply involved in games, dating back to the 1980s, where he first started at Nintendo as a programmer. He was an important figure in classic titles like Kirby, Balloon Fight and Earthbound. In 2002, he became the fourth president and CEO of Nintendo.

It would be good to chronicle Iwata’s key contributions not only to the company, but to gaming as a whole. Specifically, many significant innovations in the industry were brought about from Nintendo during his leadership tenure.
-The Wii, which outsold both of its console competitors (the Sony PlayStation 3 and Microsoft Xbox 360)
-The huge success of the 3DS, which continues to sell in spite of an increasing demand for mobile gaming and smartphone use
-The persistence to not give up the Wii U system in spite of fledgling sales, and continuing to develop creative and unique games for it
You can look at how Iwata helped bring Nintendo to record-breaking successes.

On the flip side, there were several hurdles Nintendo faced over the years, such as the commercial underperformance of the GameCube and Wii U systems. You can also look at how Iwata worked hard to help the company as it struggled through these difficult times.

You should also talk about the plans for Nintendo’s future that Iwata set in motion before his untimely passing. The idea that Nintendo would ever bring its IP to mobile games would have likely been absurd to people in recent years.
As well, the company’s plans to partner with Universal Studios amusement parks to make attractions based off its beloved franchises was equally surprising.

Finally, as a fitting tribute to a gaming icon, you can mention the influence and inspiration he gave to millions of people. Many figures in the industry have paid their respects to Iwata since the news broke. Some of their anecdotes about their personal experiences with him and/or his work can be a great way to show the lasting impact he has had on video games.

  • The fact the man was able to pull apart and then port the Pokemon red and blue battle system for N64 Pokemon Stadium is an amazing testimate to his skill (http://www.digitaltrends.com/gaming/iwata-nintendo-retrospective/) – carboncopyben 9 years ago
  • @Carboncopyben. Exactly. Also Pokemon related, it was due to his effort that the entire Kanto region was added into Pokemon Gold/Silver. I mean, because the Johto region wasn't great enough, he basically doubled the size of the game. I can't honestly think of another developer that worked to add so much content for the players like that. – BradShankar 9 years ago

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