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Satoru Iwata Has Passed Away

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Mar 10, 2005
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A lot of these personal entries are illuminating a lot of Iwata's thought processes.

He saw Seaman as an example of library diversity, which is probably what inspired him going in so hard on Nintendogs and Brain Training. He was trying to make games more personal, because that's what he thought would break down the barrier between gamers and non-gamers.

He took a small, thrown around idea of "How do you approach someone whose name you don't know?" and turned it into Streetpass.

He may not have been a designer, but I think he still had the mind of one.
 

Nightbird

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It's from Yoot Saito's blog entry on the last page.

They were still wrong about the 3DS cartridge installs.
Okay thanks.
Didn't knew about the Cartridge installs. Possible that that was planned at some time.

But that doesn't matter anyway, this thread is about Iwata, not Nikkei's track record in rumors. I won't derail the Thread.

Thanks again Alberto :)
 

SmackAttack

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Aug 27, 2013
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So upset about this. Satoru Iwata is without doubt the driving force behind me making a success in life.

Back in early 2000s I was a bit of a bum with a crappy job which had little hope of progression. Around that time, being a lifelong Nintendo fan (somewhat lapsed) I bought a GameCube because of some footage I saw of Luigis Mansion, needless to say I was pretty blown away with it, and then FZero GX, DK:JB, RE4, Paper Mario, etc etc really got me interested again in videogames. I started to read about Nintendo in magazines and on the internet. Time went on and although the GC wasnt a huge success its absolute quality had me convinced that someone was making the right decisions. Additionally, I kept reading about Nindendos new direction seemingly orchestrated by Saturo Iwata, I was always interested in what he had to say, I always reflected on what he said and thought "This guys knows whats up". Then the DS came out, then Bue Ocean strategy started to be talked about and I really felt that Nintendo was gaining momentum and was on the up.

One day I saw - I think it was in edge magazine - a tiny 3 line with image announcement of Nintendogs, and I thought to myself I have to do something with this. So I left my crappy job, hired a website developer and built a site dedicate to Nintendo. 18 months later, shortly after the Wiis launch, the site was booming and got an offer from an associated company to sell up and go and work for them in somewhat of a dream job.

Nearly 10 years later I still work at the company loving my role, enjoying all the benefits of having a great job in the industry - I travel the world on business seeing things that I'd never dream of when I was grinding away at my crappy job 15 years ago.

Even in recent times I've still considered Satoru Iwata to be key in my learning and general progression in life as for example when I've read with awe his incredibly open, reflective and constructive Nintendo Directs.

Thanks for everything Satoru Iwata. I really owe you.
Sorry about that. I got really busy yesterday and didn't have a chance. Here's a translation of the blog post.
Wow, these stories.

;_;
 

Nairume

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It's going to be interesting to see how the developers are affected at Nintendo. On a personal level, I mean, and how they might express their feelings in a game. Like I wouldn't be surprised if something in Zelda WiiU will be inspired by Iwata's passing. They said in the MM3D interview that a colleague's marriage inspired the Kafei and Anju sidequest. Maybe they'll pay respects to Iwata, or try to make sense of his passing, with something in-game.
Actually, given, I wouldn't be surprised if Pokemon eventually had an important character named for him like they already did with Miyamoto.
 

Cosmonaut X

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They may not have known how imminent it was but as soon as he was diagnosed they would have made provisions, however vague. Bile duct cancers have a dreadful prognosis.

I'm sure Iwata and the board had earmarked someone as his successor.
I suspect so. As you say, biliary cancers have a terrible prognosis - I believe survival past 5 years is in the low double-digits - and I don't think of Iwata as being the kind of man who wasn't conscientious enough to plan for the worst, even as he hoped for the best (and as the company put the best spin on his illness).
 

emb

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It's going to be interesting to see how the developers are affected at Nintendo. On a personal level, I mean, and how they might express their feelings in a game. Like I wouldn't be surprised if something in Zelda WiiU will be inspired by Iwata's passing. They said in the MM3D interview that a colleague's marriage inspired the Kafei and Anju sidequest. Maybe they'll pay respects to Iwata, or try to make sense of his passing, with something in-game.
I'm expecting a tribute to Iwata the next time I reach the Executive Producer section of a new Nintendo release. Not much, but some sort of shoutout to his memory.
 

Sadist

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I don't think he knew he was going to die. They would have assured people there was a plan in place instead of just interim position-holding. I also don't think he would have been at the shareholder's conference at all.

I think it really did get bad in the span of a week and he passed away before making concrete plans.
That's what I think as well.

Cancer is a tricky disease; it could take months, even years eating away at your body. But at the same time the disease can be diagnosed in one week and about two weeks later you could be gone. In Iwata's case, I think it flared up violently in only a few days. Sigh.
 

NintendoGal

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The shock still hasn't worn off yet and I think it's going to be awhile until it does, at least for me. I just have a hard time imagining Nintendo without him at the helm. Kind of glad my husband is off this week because otherwise I imagine he'd come back somber every night. :(
 

Lambtron

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He may not have been a designer, but I think he still had the mind of one.
The first time I went to a con and really got a full StreetPass experience, it clicked with how fucking brilliant the entire design and concept were. It was simple and very effective and so Nintendo. It's one of my favorite things about the 3DS.
 

Captain Chaos

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Awesome story, how is the name of your site?
It got closed shortly after being bought out. The thing is here is that I'm the epitome of a cynical neogaf drive-by one liner poster. But this news has made me to pen a real from the heart post. Such is my respect and thanks for the work of Satoru Iwata.

No doubt me, neogaf, videogames and the world is a lesser place today with his passing.
 

boxter432

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Just left work early and fired up Earthbound on WiiU (courtesy of club Nintendo). First time really playing it.

Just last week I was wondering if Iwata ever stepped down or was replaced as CEO, would he return to developing/producing/directing games, retire or what he would do. When I saw gonintendo post the news on Facebook I was shocked and came here a) to see if I wasn't imagining things and b) to read awesome memories and quotes that have been provided. The Directs will never be quite the same without him. Very sad.
 

Jet Jaguar

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the more time that passes, the harder it's getting to process this. i think i was hard into denial yesterday. or maybe all the tributes are getting to me. or maybe it's the amount of information we're learning about him from so many other people who knew him at different points in his life from different walks of life.
^Pretty much how I'm feeling.
 

CHC

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Goddamn every time I see this thread in the main page it still gives me a little jolt. Can't believe it, even after the news has landed from so many different sources.
 

Fox_Mulder

Rockefellers. Skull and Bones. Microsoft. Al Qaeda. A Cabal of Bankers. The melting point of steel. What do these things have in common? Wake up sheeple, the landfill wasn't even REAL!
Jun 22, 2010
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I can't stop listening to this song and thinking how he was great
 

clo1_2000

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I usually don't like to post in these threads. I didn't know that man personally at all, but I know what he helped create and what he represented. I also don't usually have feelings about "celebrities" passing away, but looking back all all the influence he had on my life, I felt something this time.
 

BorkBork

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Oct 11, 2004
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yoot saito's blog said:
...Iwata-san, when I later saw you appear before the press, I was really happy to see that you had recovered, but it looks like the gods aren’t that lenient… Tezuka-san (from Nintendo) suggested that I make an appointment to see you, but I couldn’t find the nerve to do so. Now, after all my hesitation, I’ve learned that we truly passed each other by, and I’ll never be able to see you again. I wish I had a StreetPass feature that could connect with heaven. I would run out and buy a DS with that feature right now just so I could send you my thanks. Yeah, I know that sounds a bit too convenient for me. When I left the Seaman project, I sent you a book and a letter. Whether you actually read them or not has been on my mind ever since. Also, I’m really sorry for being late with Odama, causing it to completely miss the window for it to be a success. There’s so much more I want to tell you, but I really don’t know what to do with myself after hearing about your sudden departure in the news.

Life is always just a succession of regrets.

Iwata-san, thank you for everything. I don’t typically look up to a lot of people, but I really respected you. I would always be thinking from afar just how amazing of a person you are.
It’s cliché to say this, but please rest in peace.

I’m still here, and although I almost lost hope in regards to being a creator and life in general, I think I want to challenge myself once more.

Iwata-san, thank you for so many things.
This is sooo sad...
 

Mpl90

Two copies sold? That's not a bomb guys, stop trolling!!!
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I suspect so. As you say, biliary cancers have a terrible prognosis - I believe survival past 5 years is in the low double-digits - and I don't think of Iwata as being the kind of man who wasn't conscientious enough to plan for the worst, even as he hoped for the best (and as the company put the best spin on his illness).
Yeah.
He surely didn't know when he was dying, but I think he knew he could have not much time left. This puts all the recent initiatives (mobile, partnership with DENA, more IP partnerships, Universal, membership service, etc.) in a different context. Or better, their rapid succession. It wasn't just mere proactivity, it was Iwata realising he had to pave the way for Nintendo's future as much as possible before he could not do anything anymore. Unfortunately, it happened, and I fear no one expected it to happen so suddenly.
 

Revven

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Anth0ny

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Duderz

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I have mostly transitioned to celebrating his life and learning fascinating insights about him. Preparing an article right now about him, so it's neat to learn all these little things.
Please share when you have finished the article - I always appreciate your insight.

Was Rare's Twitter ever added to the OP? I think it would be appropriate.

https://twitter.com/RareLtd/status/620532581130371072

They really need to sell a hardcover book of every Iwata Asks dedicated to the memory of Mr. Iwata.
I would buy this in a heartbeat.
 

Empty

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Sorry about that. I got really busy yesterday and didn't have a chance. Here's a translation of the blog post.
wow. thanks for translating. this is maybe the most striking other than itoi's poem.

when he suddenly starts apologizing for odama being late out of nowhere :( like you can just feel the regret at the missed opportunity for closure.
 

SmackAttack

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Someone should compile all of these GAF stories. I've ready quite a few amazing ones over the past few days.

They really need to sell a hardcover book of every Iwata Asks dedicated to the memory of Mr. Iwata.
That would be nice. I know there has to be some stories I haven't read since this thread has moved pretty fast. I'd like to see someone compile them.

I also agree on an Iwata Asks book. It would be a great idea.
 

Nanashrew

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On the topic of his past, has anyone ever learned why HAL's logo is a wiener dog nesting some eggs?
"The corporate logo depicts a dog similar to a dachshund incubating several eggs. According to a 2003 Nintendo Power interview about Kirby Air Ride, producer Masayoshi Tanimura notes that the dog is a fictional creation and that the team do not think of the dog as a dachshund. Tanimura explains that the logo represents deep thought into "incubating completely new ideas that eventually hatch into incredibly fun games"."

http://wikirby.com/wiki/HAL_Laboratory

Here's the full interview http://www.ign.com/boards/threads/np-interviews-hal-laboratories-about-kirby-air-ride.50554619/
 
Oct 4, 2011
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"The corporate logo depicts a dog similar to a dachshund incubating several eggs. According to a 2003 Nintendo Power interview about Kirby Air Ride, producer Masayoshi Tanimura notes that the dog is a fictional creation and that the team do not think of the dog as a dachshund. Tanimura explains that the logo represents deep thought into "incubating completely new ideas that eventually hatch into incredibly fun games"."

http://wikirby.com/wiki/HAL_Laboratory

Here's the full interview http://www.ign.com/boards/threads/np-interviews-hal-laboratories-about-kirby-air-ride.50554619/
It just makes me think 'dog eggs', which is hilarious but not quite as meaningful.
 

C-DubSP

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There are not many people in our modern era that can lay claim to spending their entire career making children of all ages happy. He could.
 

RionaaM

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Nintendo's added a memorial banner to their Iwata Asks pages. http://iwataasks.nintendo.com/interviews/#/wiiu/gamepad/0/0

This is incredibly sad, but so beautiful at the same time. Same deal with reading all these stories about him, he wasn't only a genius but a wonderful person too. The more I read about him, the worse his loss feels.

I also feel bad for having doubted him in the past regarding the Wii U, he didn't deserve that. He, like everybody else, had hits and misses, but he always wanted the best for Nintendo and for us. He wanted everyone to be able to play games. He wanted us to have fun. He wanted us to smile and be happy. Costumes, toy bananas, puppets, he always wanted us to laugh. Thinking about it now, even if the Wii U has been a commercial failure, it still represents Iwata's ideals (and, as a result, Nintendo's), and that's what should matter the most. The Wii was a fantastic machine, one that gave me tons of fun, and its successor probably would too if I owned it.

Think I'm gonna play some Kirby's Dream Land on 3DS tonight once I get home, in his memory. It's a joyful game and probably a good way to remember him, given that I don't have a SNES or Wii U on which to play Earthbound. Thanks for everything, Mr. Iwata. I mean it.
 

Cosmonaut X

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That would be nice. I know there has to be some stories I haven't read since this thread has moved pretty fast. I'd like to see someone compile them.

I also agree on an Iwata Asks book. It would be a great idea.
I think that at the very least a good eBook of the Iwata Asks with prominent links to cancer charities (research, care etc.) would be worthwhile. I've wanted to pull together all of the IA myself for a while now, but other projects kept on intervening. Perhaps it's time to work on it now...
 

foxuzamaki

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Jul 21, 2013
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Sorry about that. I got really busy yesterday and didn't have a chance. Here's a translation of the blog post.
Wow you can just feel the emotion in the final paragraph, he just wanted bis friend back and he couldn't help saying wht he wanted to say to him in his blog, what really tears me up is his need to apologize to him for not getting a game out in time.

Do you mind if I make a thread on this later when I get home?
 

djlr181

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Thank you so much Zefah for your translation of Yoot Saito's blog post. The part about StreetPassing to heaven was especially sad.


Sorry about that. I got really busy yesterday and didn't have a chance. Here's a translation of the blog post.
I heard the tragic news about the passing of Nintendo’s president, Iwata-san… I can’t believe he's gone.

I first met Iwata-san back in 1996, so it was a time before you would typically see him in a suit. It was at HAL in Kofu. I remember that he always carried around a Mac (PowerBook), which was quite rare in the games industry. I think that formed a bit of connection between us—a feeling that we shared the same interests. It was around the year after that when I saw him with a G3 PowerBook, which even I had hesitated to buy, and I remember thinking, “this guy really loves Macs.”

It wasn’t until a bit later that I got a chance to work with him. It was around the time when Seaman was taking the world by storm and I was really busy working on planning for the sequel and taking interviews and such.

Iwata-san got in touch and asked if we could meet, and he even came all the way out to the apartment I was renting in Tokyo to see me.

As anyone who has met him probably understands, Iwata-san always has this aura about him that makes you feel happy and at ease. When you’re around him, you just feel good, even if you’re talking about work. That day, Iwata-san wasn’t in his typical casual garb, but had donned a blazer that he didn’t look quite comfortable in. He handed me his business card and awkwardly said, “this is what I’m up to these days.” I looked at the card and he had a title that named him as part of the Office of the President. He said that he had distanced himself from HAL (the company at which he got his start in the games industry) and was now helping out at Nintendo (HAL was under the umbrella of Nintendo).

“I’ve been given a special assignment to go out and get new types of games that haven’t been on Nintendo platforms before.” That’s the reason Iwata-san gave me for why he wanted to meet that day. He told me that Seaman was the kind of thing he was looking for. Thinking about it now, his role at this time was probably given to him as preparation for taking over management of Nintendo down the road, but it didn’t look like that was on his mind at all at the time.

To use a games industry expression, Seaman was a bit of a “guerilla-like” project even from the beginning, and no one, including myself, thought it would be a big hit, but I got a lot of good advice from Nintendo’s Miyamoto-san (and Tezuka-san), so I would show them the project even in the early planning stages and they would always look really intrigued by it. Before Seaman’s development on the Dreamcast began, I actually periodically had talks with Nintendo about making it for their platform. I think that background contributed to Iwata-san’s taking an interest in it. The game launched and did better than anyone could have imagined, constantly being sold out in stores. As a result, I got hit with the spotlight and received a lot of publicity. Iwata-san probably saw that and figured it would be a good idea to make friends with a game creator who could create weird games like Seaman.

- The DS and StreetPass
After that, I got the opportunity to do a lot of “experiments” with Nintendo. Most of them didn’t result in much, but we made a lot of prototypes of weird stuff. We even did things like make StreetPass-like technology on the GameBoy (not DS). I remember talking about things like, “Say you’re back in middle school. There’s a girl in your school whose name you don’t know. You always take the same train to school together. Can’t we come up with some good way to ask her out?”

This picture of Iwata-san is from that time (the board plugged in there is running a prototype program that we were working on).

When both the Nintendo DS and Wii were to be released, it was Iwata-san who made sure to quickly get in touch with me and demo the machines for me himself. He would always earnestly ask, “What kind of game would you make on this, Saito-san?” Iwata-san was always very courteous to everyone, and while he was a creator himself, he would never forget to show a great deal of respect to other creators.

When the DS came out, I went to Nintendo to receive a presentation for developers about the device. The developer support guy doing the presentation said, “That’s just about everything. Do you have any questions?” I asked him what he meant by “just about.” He replied, “There is one more new feature, but Iwata-san wanted to present that to you directly, so please wait here a moment.” I waited a bit and Iwata-san came down from the president’s office and tells me, “Saito-san, remember that StreetPass (it didn’t have this name at the time) feature we were working on? Well, it’s been implemented into the DS!” He then happily demonstrated the feature to me. This kind of thing isn’t something that most people get to experience. I consider myself extremely lucky to have been in the games industry at just the right time and to have had Iwata-san provide me with such an experience.

- The Wii Controller
There’s a bit on the Wiki that says I was the one to suggest putting a speaker on the controller after it was first announced. That's more or less true. Iwata-san, Miyamoto-san, and I were out at some yakiniku restaurant in Kyoto when I mentioned it. What is so incredible about this to me is that Iwata-san and Miyamoto-san went back and changed the design after my suggestion, even though they had already showed it off to the press, mockups included, and there had almost certainly been other people at Nintendo who internally proposed adding speakers to the controller before. I wasn’t even part of some big games publisher or anything—I was just an outsider with a big mouth.

This led into another really interesting story, but I’ll save that for another time.

- Seaman on the 3DS
When Iwata-san came to ask me to create Seaman for the 3DS, I like to think he was in the same frame of mind as when he first came to visit me at my apartment back in 1999. I did start working on the project, but things got really complicated and I eventually let go of it. Unfortunately that brought an end to our relationship, where I could just casually visit him in Kyoto and have fun exchanging new ideas. I felt like we needed some time before we could go back to the kind of creativity-filled relationship.

It was early last summer that I first heard about him taking some time off to recover from an unfortunate illness. I distinctly remember it, because I was actually sharing a taxi at the time with two super famous people: Yuji Horii-san of Dragon Quest fame and Takafumi Horie, otherwise known as Horiemon.

Iwata-san, when I later saw you appear before the press, I was really happy to see that you had recovered, but it looks like the gods aren’t that lenient… Tezuka-san (from Nintendo) suggested that I make an appointment to see you, but I couldn’t find the nerve to do so. Now, after all my hesitation, I’ve learned that we truly passed each other by, and I’ll never be able to see you again. I wish I had a StreetPass feature that could connect with heaven. I would run out and buy a DS with that feature right now just so I could send you my thanks. Yeah, I know that sounds a bit too convenient for me. When I left the Seaman project, I sent you a book and a letter. Whether you actually read them or not has been on my mind ever since. Also, I’m really sorry for being late with Odama, causing it to completely miss the window for it to be a success. There’s so much more I want to tell you, but I really don’t know what to do with myself after hearing about your sudden departure in the news.

Life is always just a succession of regrets.

Iwata-san, thank you for everything. I don’t typically look up to a lot of people, but I really respected you. I would always be thinking from afar just how amazing of a person you are.
It’s cliché to say this, but please rest in peace.

I’m still here, and although I almost lost hope in regards to being a creator and life in general, I think I want to challenge myself once more.

Iwata-san, thank you for so many things.
 
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