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July 13, 2015

R.I.P. Satoru Iwata

So, if you're a gamer, especially if you are a Nintendo fan like me, you've certainly heard the news; Satoru Iwata passed away on July 11th, 2015. He was 55. Some of you may think this is old, but no, it's still rather young. A bile duct growth appears to be the cause. Signs of this were already present at last year's E3 (Iwata was unable to attend and underwent surgery to remove a bile duct growth). I don't think anyone believed the problem was this major. And yet, it happened. The president of Nintendo has left the scene... 

I tend to think that, in order to properly honor a person's death, we don't mourn and cry. Well, we CAN cry and mourn, but in the end all we get is sadness. I prefer to look at that person's achievements and remember the great times we had with him or her. When Robin Williams passed away in 2014, I didn't write a blog post about it because it wasn't a person we came to know thanks to video games (though he was definitely a geek like all of us, what with calling his daughter Zelda). I tried to remember the man for all the great movies he was a part of, all these films that gave me plenty of chuckles, his contributions to the world. Well, that's the same for Mr. Satoru Iwata. He became president of Nintendo in 2002. Before that, he was a programmer at HAL Laboratories. There, he contributed to the creation of games that are now adored, whether it's the very first Kirby game, or EarthBound. He produced the very first Super Smash Bros. game; this franchise is now one of the most famous fighting game franchises of all time. He also worked a great deal on the Pokémon series; among others, he worked on the data compression tool that allowed the development team to include both Johto AND Kanto in Pokémon Gold and Silver. He was also executive producers for many games here and there, some from franchises that haven't been mentioned in this post so far: Super Mario Sunshine, Metroid Fusion, Animal Crossing, Star Fox Adventures, The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, WarioWare, Inc: Mega Microgames... The list goes on and on, so here it is. In fact, he was even an executive producer on Super Paper Mario, which I'm going to review soon. I might also review Pokémon HeartGold soon, as an homage.

Some could also say Satoru Iwata was close to his public. Instead of one mega-show at E3, he preferred to appear in many smaller shows where he would address directly the previewed game's audience. Kotaku describes him as a "one-man GIF generator". Probably because those shows were always big on creativity - of course - and on comedy.

I offer my condolences to everyone who knew him, whether it's in his personal life, or at Nintendo. He has left behind a great legacy, and instead of judging the man on his mistakes, let's honor his career. He created some of our best childhood memories. He will live on through his achievements at Nintendo.