Satoru Iwata - White Gloves | oprainfall
From left to right: Mario, Satoru Iwata, Luigi.

When a person so important to the industry and to the fans passes away, it’s difficult to talk about anything else. It’s been a week since Nintendo President Satoru Iwata died, and the more I learn about him, the more I realize how vital he was not only to the games that mattered to us in childhood, but to the current trajectory Nintendo is on.

By now, you’ve probably seen at least one of the numerous reports all over the Internet about Iwata’s feats; his early career at HAL Labratory working on games such as Kirby’s Adventure, rescuing Earthbound from Development Hell, compressing Pokémon Gold & Silver to fit both the Johto and Kanto regions, blindly copying Pokémon‘s battle system into Pokémon Stadium, reprogramming the original Dragon Quest and updating it for its Western release under the name Dragon Warrior for the NES, and stepping in to help Super Smash Bros. Melee make its scheduled release date are now the stuff of legend.

However, where he brought Nintendo as its President is equally impressive. Aside from launching the most successful console (Wii) and handheld (DS) in the company’s history, Iwata found a way to salvage the 3DS and Wii U when sales faltered by admitting mistakes and taking measures to fix them. He wanted to be more open with the fans, which is what led to the Nintendo Direct features we see every few months, as well as the Iwata Asks interviews with developers.

Probably the most quoted line this past week was:

“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.”

 – Satoru Iwata, Game Developers Conference 2005

Simply, he was so beloved as a company president not because he was involved in the creation of many games we hold dear, but because he was one of us. He loved games like we did. And he understood what we all know to be true:

“…above all, video games are meant to be just one thing: fun. Fun for everyone.”

– Satoru Iwata, Game Developers Conference 2006

Game are meant to be fun for everyone. They’re meant to be something you can enjoy, no matter who you are. Kids and adults, men and women, everyone should be able to have fun, and that’s what Nintendo, under Iwata, aimed to do. And I daresay, they succeeded.

The one thing that worries me in all this, is whether Iwata’s vision will continue, or will Nintendo’s next President lead them in a different direction. I’ve always appreciated the fact that Nintendo goes their own way, essentially ignoring what Sony and Microsoft are doing in the market. Is this the end of that mentality? Do they continue making Nintendo Directs for the fans? What about Treehouse Live? The NX and mobile platforms? There’s a lot of uncertainty right now, and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous.

But now’s not the time for that. Now is the time to reflect on the legacy of one of the most important people in the video game industry. So, as a fan, I say: Thank you, Mr. Iwata, for all you’ve done for us. We understand.

To honor the late Nintendo President, the oprainfall Retro Commercial Research Team–in other words, me–will dedicate this week to showing off some of Satoru Iwata’s most memorable moments.

Here are the highlights from the past weeks.




That’s not all, though. Throughout the week, some oprainfall contributors expressed their thoughts on the passing of Mr. Iwata.

Satoru Iwata’s Legacy Will Have a Lasting Impact on Nintendo by Jacob Dobbs

Mr. Iwata, I Hardly Knew You by Josh Speer

Also, Benny Carrillo made a video where he talked about Iwata.

And, you can find Chris Stollings’ thoughts on this week’s Operation Recap, over on our YouTube channel.

And, as always, if you have any ideas or suggestions for retro commercials, let us know either through Facebook, Twitter, or just leave a good old-fashioned comment below.

Eric Chetkauskas
Eric has been playing video games for longer than he can remember. His interests skew toward retro games with an emphasis on Japanese RPGs like Chrono Trigger and the Dragon Quest series.