17 Jul A “Thank You” to Satoru Iwata
It is a sad time for the industry. The man you have to thank for your awesome gaming
experiences, Satoru Iwata, passed away on July 11th 2015. The beloved Nintendo
president, programmer-engineer-designer extraordinaire, was only 55. The following are
a few highlights out of the many things we have Iwata to thank for:
1. Thank you for helping Japanese game maker HAL Laboratory develop the original
Super Smash Bros.! Millions of kids (and adults!) have spent millions of hours teaming
up with Mario and the Pokémon to knock Donkey Kong and Zelda off the stage.
2. Thanks for overseeing the release of the Nintendo DS! When it seemed like nothing
could overshadow the Game Boy, Nintendo’s dual-screened clamshell gaming system
was one of Iwata’s greatest gifts to the industry.
3. Thank you for making 2006 extra-awesome with Wii! Nintendo has sold over a
hundred million of the motion-controlled units.
4. Thank you for introducing the joy of video games to people who never thought it was
for them! Iwata’s strategy was always to bring new consumers to the industry, not just to
refine the games for the people already there.
5. Thank you for illustrating what it means to be a true leader! When Nintendo was
struggling in 2009, Iwata voluntarily cut his own salary in half!
At the 2005 GDC, Iwata philosophized about the importance of innovation and said of
himself, “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.” Undoubtedly the gamers who become
developers, who will become future presidents have Iwata’s success to thank for their