You may not have known his name but if you played video games at all, you certainly enjoyed his work.
Satoru Iwata died over the weekend from a growth in his bile duct. The CEO of Nintendo was 55. Iwata was the head of a multi-billion corporation, but he was a different kind of CEO. In his own words, Iwata was a gamer first and a businessman second.
“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.”
Before joining the company famous for fictional heroes like Mario, Samus Aran and Yoshi, Iwata was working at HAL Laboratories as a game developer. His time there would later birth another one of Nintendo's beloved characters: Kirby. And if you loved Super Smash Brothers or Pokemon, you can thank Iwata for that too.
In 2000, he joined Nintendo to head up their Corporate Planning Division. During his time with the company, Nintendo saw meteoric success with the Wii gaming console and the DS handheld device. In 2013, he was appointed CEO.
Even as a business head, there was a likability behind what Iwata did. He made himself accessible with web features called "Iwata Asks" where he'd personally tell fans of upcoming developments on games and consoles. He made video game conferences fun. How many other CEOs would showcase themselves fighting their COO?
So let's remember Satoru Iwata not as a businessman but rather as a man who loved to make fun video games. After all, that's what video games are supposed to be: fun. That's the One Thing You Should Know Today.
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