Remembering Satoru Iwata

Posted by | July 13, 2015 | News, Opinion | 2 Comments
Satoru IwataArtwork by @SHERWlND

Nintendo President and CEO Satoru Iwata passed away on Saturday from complications due to cancer. I saw the news on Twitter, when Kotaku posted its first of several pieces about the news.

I don’t like to use tears as a meter stick, because grief isn’t a competition. If you don’t cry when someone passes away, that is so okay. But whether it was because of the deep affection I felt for Iwata or because his wasn’t the first memorial Tweet I’d had to post this week, I sat down and I cried.

Perhaps the best part of this whole thing has been watching the Internet put into words all of the things that I have had trouble saying myself. Kill Screen’s Jon Irwin wrote a reflective piece today on feeling grief for someone you’ve never met, and it’s the most apt article I’ve seen so far. In it, he wrote, “I never shook his hand. But it doesn’t matter, because he’s held out his own to us so many times.”

Here is a collection of other reactions from across the internet. Check out the hashtags #ThankYouIwata, #RIPIwata, and #SatoruIwata to read thousands more. Or check out a timeline of Iwata’s contributions to gaming, pulled together by Polygon.

“I am truly surprised and saddened by this unexpected news. The entire development team at Nintendo will remain committed to our development policy which Mr. Iwata and we have been constructing together and to yield the development results which Mr. Iwata would appreciate.”

Shigeru Miyamoto (Super Mario, The Legend of Zelda, Starfox, Pikmin)

“Mr. Iwata is gone, but it will be years before his impact on both Nintendo and the full video game industry will be fully appreciated. He was a strong leader for our company, and his attributes were clear to most everyone: intelligence, creativity, curiosity and sense of humor. But for those of us fortunate enough to work closely with him, what will be remembered most were his mentorship and, especially, his friendship. He was a wonderful man. He always challenged us to push forward … to try the new … to upset paradigms — and most of all, to engage, excite and endear our fans. That work will continue uninterrupted.”

Reggie Fils-Aime, Nintendo of America COO

“You went on a trip far, far away, even though it was planned for many years from now. You wore your best outfit and said ‘Sorry for the short notice,’ though you didn’t say it out loud.

“You always put yourself last, after you’d finished helping everyone else. You were so generous as a friend that this trip might be your very first selfish act.

“I still can’t grasp what’s happened.”

Shigesato Itoi (Lead Designer, EarthBound)

Courtney Holmes

About Courtney Holmes

Courtney is Pixelkin's Associate Managing Editor. While working with the Girl Scouts of Northern California, she mentored young girls in teamwork, leadership, personal responsibility, and safety. Today, she spends her time studying adolescent development and using literary analysis techniques to examine video games.