Press Start

Video game news, reviews and commentary with Gazette reporter Jake Magee.

Press Start: Remembering Nintendo leader Satoru Iwata

Share on Facebook Comments Comments Print Print
Jake Magee
July 15, 2015

The video game industry lost an important part of its culture Sunday when fans learned that Nintendo President Satoru Iwata had died from a bile duct growth. He was only 55.

This is the man who led one of the most beloved video game companies in history. He's the guy who once claimed that video games are meant to be one thing and one thing only: fun for everyone. This is the boss who cut his own salary in half for five months in 2014 after Nintendo profits declined.

Iwata is the one who said, “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.”

And that's how he led his company—as a gamer first.

I'm not a Nintendo fanboy by any means, but I suspect just about every gamer has fond memories of time spent with Nintendo games and characters.

Like most, my introduction to Nintendo was through Mario. When I was a kid, I remember spending hours playing “Super Mario Bros.” at my friend's house. I didn't have a console at the time, but my friend knew all the game's secrets and how to find that hidden warp zone early in the game. I was impressed.

During one Sunday afternoon in high school, a friend invited me to a classmate's house to play the new “Super Smash Bros. Brawl.” We must've played for five hours straight, laughing endlessly the entire time. Samus was my main squeeze long before I played “Brawl.” She's still my number one favorite “Smash” character to this day.

When I got to college, I started a long-distance relationship with a Canadian woman who wouldn't stop talking about “Animal Crossing.” I thought a game without any real objectives or purpose would be a total waste of time.

I was wrong.

When she came to visit me for the first time one summer, a full year after we'd been together, we both got the game for DS and spent hours each night catching bugs and fishing and visiting each other's villages. It was one of the many memorable ways we bonded and solidified our hobby of gaming together.

Since I'd bought a DS to play “Animal Crossing,” I quickly decided I might as well get more games for the system. I picked up “Pokémon Black” and haven't looked back. It immediately became one of my favorite video game franchises. I must've have put well over 500 hours into that series alone over the years.

Now, at 24, I have at least five DS systems, one battered GameCube and dozens of Nintendo games in my home. Though I never got into the Wii, my mind is still packed full of Nintendo memories, and I have Iwata to at least partly thank for that.

Iwata served his audience, not himself, and fans know that because a bit of his influence is in every Nintendo product. As a gaming community, we lost someone great, but we can take comfort in knowing Iwata's spirit lives on through Nintendo.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have an Iwata avatar somewhere in my 3DS Mii Plaza I have to immortalize.

Video game columnist Jake Magee has been with GazetteXtra since 2014. His opinion is not necessarily that of Gazette management. Let him know what you think by emailing [email protected], leaving a comment below, or following @jakemmagee on Twitter.

Share on Facebook Comments Comments Print Print