The gaming flag flies at half mast today, as that was the long and the short of it in an official press release from Nintendo yesterday marking the death of President Satoru Iwata, one of the titans of the game industry in recent history. Due to his medical condition he had to skip this year’s E3 under direction of his physician and shortly after underwent surgery to try and remove the growth as he revealed in a letter to shareholders on June 24.
He always strived to keep the spirit and original core of Nintendo alive – to make games for everyone from children to adults. Something we could easily see by games like Brain Age for the DS that target folks outside of the stereotypical gamer demographic. He also unabashedly was a developer and kid that loved games at heart, and loved the fans that loved him back. We saw that in things like Iwata Asks, where he gave gamers and fans behind the scenes looks at games by interviewing developers himself on franchises like Zelda, Mario and other games across Nintendo platforms. And here’s another bit from his 2005 keynote at GDC that speaks to the kind of leader he was:
If you don’t mind, I will finish today with memories from one more franchise in my development career – Super Smash Bros. At the time it was being developed for Nintendo GameCube, I was already working full time for Nintendo. But my heart told me I was still a developer. So, as president, I assigned myself to HAL to rejoin the team finishing the game. Once again, I was living on the developer’s diet of chips, pizza and rice balls, and working through the night.