Satoru Iwata loved video games


A memory from a developer

[In memory of Satoru Iwata, James Montagna of WayForward stopped by our community blogs to share a moment that encapsulated Iwata’s love of games perfectly. – Pixie The Fairy]

It feels like the world is coming together to mourn the passing of Nintendo’s great leader, Satoru Iwata, but there are still many who have yet to learn the extent of exactly how extraordinary he was. Beyond numerous phenomenal contributions to gaming, it is the quotes and stories of Mr. Iwata on a regular day that paint a picture of the loss we’re dealing with, as well as the legacy and beliefs he left us to carry on.

Among the numerous memories and condolences being shared right now, there is no shortage of feats to highlight from his lifetime. It’s impossible to cover it all since there’s so much to be said. As for myself, I feel it may be best to keep it simple and offer a personal anecdote about Mr. Iwata’s honest enthusiasm that always brings a smile to my face.

Because Iwata was so warm and approachable, I’d make it a point to give him my regards at every Electronic Entertainment Expo when possible. Whether it was taking a picture together, going in for a quick handshake or sharing a smile and a wave in passing, I simply wished to be another voice of affirmation and offer thanks for the games he had created.

After all, through his works, I picked up lessons of what it takes to create an outstanding and fun experience — lessons I aim to apply in my work every day as a game designer. I’m truly thankful for that.

Satoru Iwata had a critical hand in developing the games that gave me the most inspiration, including EarthBound, Kirby, Super Smash Bros. and Balloon Fight. These are the games that brought my family and friends together in front of the television, making memories.

During one particular E3, I brought along a Famicom cartridge to thank him specifically for a lesser-known title that resonated with me — the Japanese Adventures of Lolo known as Eggerland: Meikyuu no Fukkatsu. It was an obscure game I played with my family as a child and certainly the last game on his mind in that moment, yet one that impacted me profoundly.

“Iwata-san! Please make another Lolo game,” I joked, holding the cartridge out to him.

He briefly paused with wide eyes and a gasp, staring intently… before erupting into roaring laughter.

“Aah! Okay,” Mr. Iwata replied with a firm handshake and an enormous grin.

I vividly recall the way he held the cartridge to look at it in a short moment of reverence, one perhaps flooded with memories, before offering his signature.

Eggerland Cartridge

It was Satoru Iwata’s genuine, unparalleled passion about games all wrapped into one brief exchange. After we parted ways, Mr. Iwata walked into the distance with an associate. The next words I could faintly hear from afar were: “Wow. That was cool.”

Satoru Iwata loved video games and we loved Satoru Iwata.