Farewell Satoru Iwata

Yesterday was an emotional roller coaster for me. In a matter of one hour, I went from celebrating the 1 year anniversary of my blog to having my mouth drop at what my now wide eyes saw on Instagram. By now you must know. Some woke up this morning to the news, some had digested the information overnight, and maybe there are some reading this who still don’t know. (I doubt the last part, but who knows). Whatever the case, yesterday was a shocking and sad day.

Satoru Iwata, president of Nintendo for 13 years, has died as a result of health issues. This occurred Saturday with the statement being issued by Nintendo Sunday night. He was 55 years old.

I was debating whether or not I should write about this or not. Part of me thought it’s the natural thing to do. On the other hand, everybody else’s posts, articles, videos and statuses probably speak for me already. I ultimately decided I would discuss this due to one very important reason.

Unlike a lot of people my age who grew up with Nintendo since the N64 (before Iwata’s time), my introduction to Nintendo came from another system: the Wii. If you want to get technical, I had a GameBoy Advanced a year before I got the Wii; but the Wii was the system that made me a Nintendo fan. If it wasn’t for the Wii, I probably would still be a Sony die-hard.

The point is, many gamers’ fondness of Nintendo comes from the era of previous Nintendo president Hiroshi Yamauchi (who happens to have also died semi-recently). Mine comes from a console in the era of Iwata with the Wii. I don’t recall a time Iwata wasn’t the figurehead of Nintendo. This makes Satoru Iwata directly responsible for my love for the company, its IPs and its hardware.

For that reason, I would end up kicking myself if I didn’t take this time to publicly acknowledge that. And for what his leadership has produced, I thank him for making me the gamer I am today.

Mr. Iwata, please understand the impact you have on the gaming industry and on gamers all around the world. You have had a hand in directing gaming history. The DS and Wii are the two most influential consoles of the seventh and eighth generations, while the 3DS and Wii U are some of the most fun consoles in modern gaming.

Some people may undervalue his importance to gaming as we know it today, but it would be hard to imagine a world without the DS and Wii. Had the DS never existed, the PSP might have been top dog in the handheld market, and the Vita wouldn’t have that touchscreen on the back. As for the Wii, motion control took over seventh gen home consoles. Motion still plays a part in today’s platforms. All three console manufacturers have some form of motion control in their systems.

Satoru Iwata is also responsible for the personality of Nintendo today. Iwata was closer to the general public than most other company figureheads. He introduced Nintendo Directs, Iwata Asks and Treehouse events in order to develop a relationship with gamers. This very thing is what makes his death more heartbreaking, because every Nintendo fan knew him so well. He allowed for memes to exist in his name and was always in on the joke. He simply embraced his public perception, playing into a character of sorts.

Whether it was the hand thing,

or whether it was bananas.

He was always pleased to understand his audience.

And some may say Iwata’s ideals were gimmicky and problematic, but no one can deny that he wasn’t like the competition. He was unique, strong-opinionated and (yes I’ll say it) innovative. Nintendo is a peculiar company in some ways, but never once has it lost its sense of fun. Iwata knew what fun was, and no matter how many people called him crazy that never changed.

These are all things that gamers will miss about Mr. Iwata. I don’t know where Nintendo will go from here. But one thing is absolutely certain. Nintendo will never be the same without Satoru Iwata, because there’s no one like Satoru Iwata.

You will be missed good sir! May your visions and way be carried out by your successor. Sincerely, thank you for what you’ve done for gaming and what you’ve done for me. I can’t imagine my life without Nintendo, and that’s all because of you.

R.I.P. (1959-2015)

I’m SBox180. Thanks for reading, and long live the Big N!

(Additionally, the NX post I was going to make has been indefinitely delayed. Iwata’s death changes everything with that system. I’ll continue to gather information on the system and comment on NX another day. Thanks!)


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