With the passing of Nintendo President, Satoru Iwata, Steven Barnes explains what he meant to gamers everywhere.
This week, we lost Nintendo president, Satoru Iwata. The man credited with pioneering true classics such as the Pokémon, Super Smash Brothers, Donkey Kong Country and Super Mario series, as well as producing the Nintendo DS and the revolutionary Wii.
In the aftermath of this great loss, many have taken to social media to express their sadness about losing not only a video gaming colossus, but also a pop-culture icon.
Which is all prologue, the full extent of what he meant cannot be properly chartered, for it lives in the memories he helped create. Gamers everywhere, all of us united by similar but entirely unique experiences.
The first time I played Pokémon as a kid on my Gameboy remains in the front of my mind. Back then, there was something magic about it. A great intersection of time and place; the saturation of the internet was not total, so figuring out how to catch that illusive Zapdos was a discussion saved for the schoolyard. Cheats and hacks for the game was all we would talk about, most of them being far from true. Iwata was responsible for that.
Or Mario Kart tournaments on the Wii. The day was pre-organised (well in advance), There would always be four of us there. Ultra competitive, dirty tactics, and long afternoons that stretched into early mornings. The glue of those childhood friendships. Iwata was responsible for that.
Small joys and fragments that reach deep still, even now. As soon as the Mario theme hits, I know the day will be a good one. Iwata was responsible for that.
Those moments of exploration, of discovery and of enjoyment are things I still look for in life. Iwata had the knack of producing games and hardware that helped to nurture that side of me and perhaps the millions of others who feel saddened this week. He gifted us the ability of independence, to seek and to find on our own terms. For that, there are no words.
So, tonight I’ll be booting up the Wii, to try and conquer that DK Country level. I’ll fail, as usual, but it doesn’t matter. His games has so much heart that it just makes you happy playing. They brighten up your life, even as they destroy it.
Arigato Gozaimasu, Iwata-san.