Satoru Iwata passes away at age 55
By: Jeff Rivera
We received news today that Nintendo's top man, Satoru Iwata, passed away due to complications from a bile duct tumor. The news came as a shock, despite recent health problems that caused Iwata to miss E3 2014. Since the announcement of his passing, which occurred yesterday, blogs, social media, and news sites have been blowing up with comments by fans and industry members who are publicly mourning his passing.
Satoru Iwata was on the short list of industry veterans that truly became more humble the higher he climbed in the corporate structure. I had the opportunity to meet Satoru Iwata on more than one occasion. The first time I met Mr. Iwata I was out behind the LA Convention Center the after day 3 at E3. He was walking with a driver, a translator, and Shigeru Miyamoto. It became obvious that our paths were going to cross, and rather than changing direction or waiting for us to pass, he smiled warmly at us and stayed his course. Approaching Iwata and Miyamoto was intimidating and amazing, but Iwata's disarming smile removed hesitation.
As we got within a few feet, Satoru Iwata nodded out our badges and with a big smile asked, "how did you enjoy the show?"
Dumbfounded, I responded that I really had a great time. My DS was still in my hand, and Iwata took it from me. He remarked that he didn't sign things, but that his friend, Mr. Miyamoto did. Shigeru Miyamoto then autographed my DS, and handed it back with a smile. The driver urged Mr. Iwata and Miyamoto to continue on, but Iwata and Miyamoto both held up a hand and continued to speak with us for a few minutes. I could see how tired they both were, and these two took the time to speak with us, not as some sort of last minute consumer research experiment, but just to talk to us a fans of video games. It was a magical moment for me and ranks up with one of my greatest video game memories.
Satoru Iwata will be missed. He was a genius, he was a driver for change, he was a champion of gameplay over all else. He was kind, he was enthusiastic, and he was caring. The gaming industry is a little more dim today after Iwata's passing.
RIP, Mr. Satoru Iwata.