Nintendo’s President, Satoru Iwata, recently passed away. He was a visionary, with so much passion for gaming and the Nintendo brand in general, and in spite of our issues with Nintendo, we respected Iwata greatly.
He was not only responsible for some of the greatest franchises in the industry, but he led Nintendo through the dark times of the Gamecube and into the light with the incredible success of the Wii and DS.
Satoru originally worked at HAL where he helped develop games like Kirby’s Dream Land. In 1993, he was promoted to president of HAL Laboratory, and in 2013, he announced that he was taking the role of the CEO of Nintendo of America.
During his time at HAL and Nintendo Iwata worked on some of the best games that hit Nintendo platforms in its lifespan. Here are some of the games Iwata helped bring to life.
“On my business card, I am a corporate president. In my mind, I am a game developer. But in my heart, I am a gamer.” – Iwata-san
Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire –Executive Producer
The third generation of Pokémon, also known as the gem generation, was the first set of Pokémon games to release on the Game Boy Advanced.
With 136 new species, the game brought with it vibrant colour and a cute aesthetic the world instantly fell in love with.
Sure, there was Pokemon Gold and Silver for Game Boy Colour, but let’s be honest, that Game Boy was not very colourful.
The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker – Executive Producer
Critiqued for its off-the-wall, cutesy colour scheme and cel shaded visuals, The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker still went on to be one of Iwata’s greatest creations.
Funnily enough, many disagreed with Wind Waker’s visual approach out of fear of a less than detailed world, something gamers wanted from the, then, new consoles.
And yet, Wind Waker is known for producing one of the most expressive Link’s to date.
It was so successful that it led to a remastered release and not one but two spin offs in the series.
Super Mario Galaxy + Super Mario Galaxy 2 – Executive Producer
Still one of the greatest games of all time, and the highest rated game in history.
Super Mario Galaxy took Mario to space on a spectacular adventure through the cosmos.
It utilized the Wii’s remote, but not to an extreme length, with faint flicks to spin and attack. It was the perfect blend of old and new gameplay approaches.
The levels were masterpieces in themselves with each of them carefully crafted with their own Nintendo charm. There was just so much to Mario Galaxy.
The game’s success led to the birth of Super Mario Galaxy 2, which was just as successful as the first – if that’s even possible.
Super Mario 3D Land – Executive Producer
Who would’ve thought that Mario would get a full 3D experience on a handheld?
Well, Super Mario 3D Land brought the same platforming experience we got from Super Mario Galaxy, Mario 64 and Super Mario Galaxy 2 to the Nintendo 3DS.
It lost none of its charm in the transition to the portable console, a difficult feat to pull off, and it blew our mind as a result.
Mario Kart Wii – Executive Producer
Mario Kart was the first in the series to utilize motion for steering. The Wii Wheel was an optional attachment for the game that used the Wii Remote as a steering wheel.
Although you could use the Wii Wheel as a controller, or the Wii Remote as a steering wheel, you could use the Nunchuk, the Gamecube controller and the Classic Controller to play the game.
Either way, the game was a blast to play. We’d still play it today.
Super Smash Bros. 64 – Producer
Super Smash Bros. on the Nintendo 64 was the first fighter in the series.
Due to its success, having been named the greatest brawlers/fighters of all time for going on forever, it went on to become a franchise that has released among all of Nintendo’s home consoles and their handheld, the Nintendo 3DS.
And it will continue to do so. It was that good.
The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword –Executive Producer
With the Wii Remote Motion Plus in hand, Nintendo planned to utilize the hardware to its fullest. The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword proved to be a worthy title in the series.
Link set forth to find Zelda who plummeted to the ground below the sky city, a land hovering in the air.
The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword was a huge success, and it will remain among the best Nintendo titles to date.
Earthbound – Programming Director, co-producer
Earthbound was an incredible RPG for its time, released for the SNES with a sequel, entitled Mother, that was only released in Japan for the NES.
Earthbound was an RPG featuring the protagonist NESS, a well portrayed character indeed. The game’s success lead to another sequel, Mother 3, which never released in the west as promised.
The game also came with its own set of controversy as gamers believed that you fight an actual foetus in the game as the final boss.
Pokémon Black and White 2 – Executive Producer
The first handheld Pokémon in the series to ever receive a direct sequel, and the last Pokémon released on the Nintendo DS.
Pokémon Black and White 2 followed the events of the original game.
Set 2 years later, changes took place in the land of Unova, new locations were accessible and new gym members were available to battle.
It was more than good enough to justify its existence.
Fire Emblem Awakening – Executive Producer
Following the story of Chrom, a prince of the Kingdom of Ylisse, Fire Emblem Awakening took you on an adventure as you fought strategic battles with your allies and against menacing adversaries.
The game was the second 3DS title to ever receive DLC, which led to future DCL development for other titles.
Fire Emblem Awakening was highly successful, selling over 240, 000 copies, making it the fastest selling Fire Emblem title to date.