In Memorium: Satoru Iwata

By the Last Token Gaming Staff

“Even if we come from different sides of the world, speak different languages. Even if we eat too many chips, or rice balls. Even if we have different tastes in games. Every one of us, here today, is identical, in the most important way. Each one of us has the heart of a gamer.” – Iwata, 2005 GDC Conference

By now, you’ve no doubt heard the news given how seismic it is; Satoru Iwata, the president of Nintendo, Ltd., has passed away at age 55 to a bile duct growth. Iwata, the man integral to Nintendo through its best of times (Wii, DS) and its worst (WiiU, 3DS) will leave a legacy that’s hard to match for whoever takes his place. Iwata began as a programmer for Nintendo’s HAL Laboratory in the 1980s and worked on major games like Balloon Fight, Mother (Earthbound) and Kirby’s Dream Land. In 2002, Iwata was named as the fourth ever president of Nintendo, Ltd. During his tenure, Iwata was the face of Nintendo through conferences like Iwata Asks or Nintendo Direct and was always an enigmatic personality to watch on screen.

While he’s now in another castle, we’ll never forget the impact he’s had on our lives as gamers. Not only do we wish our condolences to those he left behind, Last Token Gaming wanted to remember some of fondest moments of the games Iwata has worked on or created:

Terry: Nothing beats the enjoyment I had of playing Earthbound (Mother) as it’ll sit on my list of Top RPGs I’ve been fortunate to play. or the amount of hours I spent sitting in front of a TV playing Super Smash Bros. with friends on the N64. There’s something truly magical that sets apart Nintendo’s games from all the others in that they’re creative, colorful, and above all unique in almost every way possible. Furthermore, they’re so usually upbeat, and vibrant to where it transcends the boundary between being “kiddish” and “for adults”. The games are ageless, and it goes to show why Nintendo is still such a prominent force in the gaming industry this long. So many games out there have drawn their inspiration from Nintendo’s games, and honestly from the brilliant work of Satoru Iwata. Though he may have passed on, he lives on in the games he’s helped to shape and the memories made. Iwata-san, leaves behind a legacy that we’ll never forget. There are so many other words to convey my thoughts, but seeing this .gif reminds me of just how special Nintendo’s games are as an experience. RIP Satoru Iwata, though you’ve left us far too early, you’ll never be forgotten.


Marshall: When Robin Williams passed away last year, what struck me the most was how universal and personal it was for everyone. Everyone knew Williams’ volumes of work, yet different parts of it had affected different generations on a deeply personal level.

Basically, I feel the same way in a gaming sense about Satoru Iwata. Whether as an executive producer, lead producer, or programmer, this man touched all of us as gamers at every possible stage of our growth, and in so many different genres. For me, Iwata had a critical hand in two of the games that shaped my childhood, Pokemon Stadium and Pokemon Snap. All those mornings and afternoons spent doing impromptu battles in the arenas, or drifting along a river in hopes of catching that last rare Pokemon in a split-second snapshot, were a blissful time in my late childhood/early teens. And what would I be without Mario Kart and Super Smash Bros., which have led to more good times and bonding with friends than anything else I can possibly think of?

So thank you, Mr. Iwata. Your death is a painful one to take, and there’s no other way of seeing it other than “gone too soon.” But the countless franchises you helped engineer, albeit with equal dedication given to each one, changed our lives  And in the not too distant future, when video game and their lore are as respected as that of film and music, you’ll be on any shortlist of great figures that took the medium to soaring heights.

Jake: I can’t remember a day without imagining how Nintendo cares about their players, which they manage to show through their work. I’d never imagined having so many fun memories with playing Super Smash Bros., Pokemon, and other Nintendo games that I have played over the years. As of today, I spend my time playing Super Smash Bros on my Wii trying to figuring out how to best train my new King Dedede amiibo. I wouldn’t have been this involved in playing games, nor I would dream going on the path on creating games if it weren’t for Satoru Iwata. For that, I thank you. You have affected my life as well as countless other gamers, and for your wonderful work and influence, you will never be forgotten. You’ve certainly left us too early. RIP Satoru Iwata. I hope that you and Robin Williams are having a great chat over Zelda.


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