As you may have heard, on 12th July 2015, President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Nintendo, sadly passed away. For many gamers, it’s heartbreaking, a man who made Nintendo what it is today, this was a man who developed games and would do anything to make sure that we were having fun when we were playing Nintendo games. He was there for the development for the Wii, Wii U, DS and 3DS and made sure that the company was successful in every way. He first started working in the video gaming business at HAL Laboratory as a freelance programmer. The most well-known games he worked on was Balloon Fight, Earthbound and titles from the Kirby series. He then became president of the company when it near bankrupt and turned the entire company around. He also helped work on some Pokémon games, most notably Gold & Silver and Pokémon Stadium.
Soon after, he became President of Nintendo, with Hiroshi Yamauchi helping him along the way. His aim then was to make gaming accessible for everyone, and he did that thanks to the DS and the Wii. But he wasn’t the usual secretive CEOs, he was a more personal businessman, he helped improved the relationship with the public, thanks to social media and a video series he made called Nintendo Direct. During his time with Nintendo, he helped worked on many Nintendo series like Zelda, Mario and even Animal Crossing. Iwata, despite being a CEO was still coding and programming games, that’s how much he cared about the games being released. His achivements include his Balloon Trip mode being the inspiration for the underwater levels for the first Super Mario Bros game, when Super Smash Bros Melee was behind schedule, he went to fix it himself so that he can release it in time.
Even when the company was in trouble, instead of firing workers, he took a paycut of his own paycheck, he was that dedicated to the company, no other CEO in the world would do that, not even Donald Trump (Trump would just crash the company and tell you it was a success). He devoted himself to the company, the fans and the games he made, he was the real deal, the man you would have a chat with and talk about games and you’d probably have the time of your life…well you may need to understand Japanese…Oh well.
He was a very important man for Nintendo, he was also a very important man to us, he took what was likely going to be a near dead company and revitalised it with innovative hardware, new games and new experiences. He will be missed by many, lets eat our bananas out of respect. Thanks for the work you did for the gaming industry, it may not be the same without you.