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Jason Clement

Farewell, Satoru Iwata (1959-2015)

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Jason Clement    967

By now, I'm sure most, if not all of you have heard about the passing of Satoru Iwata (president and CEO of Nintendo). For those of you who haven't, he died from a bile duct growth; it's incredibly tragic, and happened way too early in his life.

 

However, there was a huge outpouring of emotional support for Iwata's family and legacy at Nintendo on Twitter, and I thought I'd share some of the most touching and interesting stories for you here. I knew a bit about Iwata's career before this, but there's a ton of things that most probably didn't even realize.

 

Before becoming President and CEO of Nintendo, he was the former president of HAL Laboratory (and a programmer for them before that).

 

In one instance, he helped save Earthbound after it was in development hell for 4 years by helping to rewrite the code entirely. He did this all in one year: http://kamedani.tumblr.com/post/45700864819/mother-2-re-release-discussion-part-1

 

He helped port Pokemon Red and Blue's battle logic over to Pokemon Stadium for Nintendo 64 in just one week; a feat that was incredible to many programmers on the team at that time: http://iwataasks.nintendo.com/interviews/#/ds/pokemon/0/2

 

Also, when Game Freak originally developed Pokemon Gold and Silver, they only had the Johto region in the game. It was Iwata who helped them compress the game by half so that they could fit the Kanto region as well. (don't have a source for this at the moment!)

 

Before the release of Super Smash Bros. Melee, he personally went to HAL Laboratories for three weeks to help debug the game when it looked like it wouldn't make the Gamecube launch release. This was AFTER he became acting president of Nintendo: http://tay.kinja.com/that-time-satoru-iwata-debugged-i-super-smash-bros-me-1675757029

 

 

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Here's a touching experience about how one fan got to interact with Iwata through Streetpass: http://www.neogaf.com/forum/showpost.php?p=171720368&postcount=3606

 

I'm sure there are even more amazing stories out there, and I'll be sure to post them here if more are found (or posted below in the comments).

 

 

If you have anything you'd like to say or want to share more stories about Mr. Iwata, please post below in the comments. Would be great to hear more about his life's work and the man he was.

 

For now, all we can say is... goodbye Mr. Iwata.

 

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DrPixel    123

Wow.....didn't hear about this until now. :(

 

Really neat to hear about all the amazing things he's done, especially all the neat stuff you mentioned.

 

And wow, he definitely wasn't very old at all. Quite sad. :/

 

Farewell, Mr. Iwata!

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barrel    380

I actually didn't know about that Earthbound story, so that's pretty interesting. I've seen some neat little stories on twitter about him as well (I liked Jame's Montagna's short little story).

 

But yeah, if you want to have an idea of how influential Iwata was to games maybe take a look at this short list of stuff he has had a hand in (even I severely underestimated it.). Still, lots of respect to the guy for what he has done for gaming and for him also bringing a real human side to Nintendo in general. What a darn shame to hear of him passing, though.

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Kezins    335

The main thing I recall in recent years is he took a paycut to avoid large layoffs with the Wii U not doing well. While the Wii U didn't do so well, I still think it is a great console. I hope his spirit continues in gaming.

 

"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."

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DarkCobra86    572

RIP. Always hate to hear these things. He had quite a few amazing accomplishments and seems to be a pretty nice guy.

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Jason Clement    967

I actually didn't know about that Earthbound story, so that's pretty interesting. I've seen some neat little stories on twitter about him as well (I liked Jame's Montagna's short little story).

 

That is a pretty cool story. Also, I'm guessing that was the Japanese name for Adventures of Lolo? The character on the cart looked like he was from there anyhow.

 

 

The main thing I recall in recent years is he took a paycut to avoid large layoffs with the Wii U not doing well. While the Wii U didn't do so well, I still think it is a great console. I hope his spirit continues in gaming.

 

That still amazes me to this day; I can't think of another company where the CEO did that. Imagine Larry Page or Satya Nadella doing that, despite the fact that they probably earn a lot more than Iwata did. Ain't gonna happen; western CEOs will lay off hundreds or thousands of employees before they let the bottom line touch their salary and bonuses, and that's just sad.

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Ludono    852

Honestly there aren't too many public figures whose deaths would affect so many, and in such a touching way. If the CEO of Activision or EA died I'd be sad but it wouldn't be the same. Iwata was, in a huge way, my childhood, and for that I'll be forever grateful. I only hope that more like him will follow, as he was rarity in the gaming industry, and the world as a whole.

 

That still amazes me to this day; I can't think of another company where the CEO did that. Imagine Larry Page or Satya Nadella doing that, despite the fact that they probably earn a lot more than Iwata did. Ain't gonna happen; western CEOs will lay off hundreds or thousands of employees before they let the bottom line touch their salary and bonuses, and that's just sad.

 

While major kudos to him, I also think this is more of a Japanese way of thinking where if your company is doing poorly, as the "leader" you should make a sacrifice before anyone else.

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Royzoga    264

Honestly there aren't too many public figures whose deaths would affect so many, and in such a touching way. If the CEO of Activision or EA died I'd be sad but it wouldn't be the same. Iwata was, in a huge way, my childhood, and for that I'll be forever grateful. I only hope that more like him will follow, as he was rarity in the gaming industry, and the world as a whole.

Basically this. While Nintendo has never really been at the top of my list for platforms or companies, I was still fond of all the things Iwata brought to the gaming industry and he will be missed dearly. 

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Jordan Haygood    350

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And there goes Satoru Iwata, off to the heavens on Rainbow Road...
 
It's indeed a sad time in the gaming world... I was at work when I heard the news. I was casually checking Facebook (I wasn't supposed to be, but SHHHHH!), and the first thing I saw was that he had passed away. I couldn't believe it. It was way too sudden to be expected. But it was true, and the next few days I spent in melancholy. As you all know, I'm a Nintendo fan (not a fanboy, mind you, as I play other stuff too), and Iwata was one of my favorite people in the entire industry. This video here pretty much sums up why I felt that way:
 


Thank you, Iwata-san. You will be sorely missed...

 

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