Satoru Iwata (JP) (December 6, 1959 - July 11, 2015) was the 4th president and CEO of Nintendo from 2002 until his death in 2015. Prior to this he worked at HAL Laboratory as a programmer, and he served as president of that company between 1993 and 1999.
While studying computer science at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, Iwata was one of several unpaid interns at Commodore Japan, assisting the subsidiary's general manager with technical and software development tasks. Upon graduation, he joined HAL in 1982 as a programmer and helped create major games such as Balloon Fight, Kirby's Dream Land, and EarthBound. In 1993, Iwata was promoted as the president of HAL Laboratory, at the request of Hiroshi Yamauchi, then president of Nintendo.
In June 2000, he left HAL and joined Nintendo as the General Manager of the Corporate Planning Division. In this position, he helped Nintendo grow economically and as a result Hiroshi Yamauchi elected him as his successor in May 2002, becoming the 4th president of Nintendo and the first president of the company not related to the Yamauchi family.
During his tenure as presient he saw the release of the Nintendo DS, Wii, Nintendo 3DS, and Wii U systems, and he was also a significant part of Nintendo's transition into the "blue ocean" strategy, where the company would push the release of more casual and family-friendly titles (like the Touch Generations series) unlike what most rival companies did. Iwata also hosted a set of interviews with employees and game developers called Iwata Asks, and he also hosted most of the Nintendo Direct presentations.
On April 24, 2013, Iwata announced at the year end shareholders meeting that he was taking the role of CEO of Nintendo of America, alongside his duties and Global President. Former NOA CEO Tatsumi Kimishima was given the roll of Managing Director of NCL.
In June 2014, it was discovered that a tumor was growing within his bile duct and, from which, he had to undergo surgery. Although he recovered from the illness, he relapsed the following year and passed away due to complications on July 11, 2015.
Upon his passing, Shigeru Miyamoto and Genyo Takeda assumed temporarily the roles of Representative Directors of the company until Tatsumi Kimishima was elected as Iwata's successor on September 16, 2015.
This list contains games Iwata was involved with before becoming president of Nintendo.
|Video game||System||Role||Other info|
|Star Battle (1981)||Commodore Vic-20||Creator||Based on Galaxian, which Commodore had the license to, but only for Japan. It was taken off the market because of this, so it's a little tough to find.|
|Super Billiards (1983)||MSX||Creator||Satoru Iwata's role is unclear in this game. In the credits it simply says "by Satoru Iwata" and the two other men who were involved.|
|Joust||NES||Programmer||Satoru Iwata's first game on the NES, although it wouldn't be released due to "various circumstances".|
|Pinball (1984)||NES||Programmer||First game Satoru Iwata worked on that was published by Nintendo.|
|F-1 Race (1984)||NES||Programmer|
|Balloon Fight (1985)||NES||Programmer|
|Mach Rider (1985)||NES||Programmer|
|Othello (1986)||NES||Producer||Referred to as "S. Iwata". First credit as a producer|
|Gall Force: Eternal Story (1986)||Famicom Disk System||Executive Producer, Assistant Programmer, Technical Consultant, Ending Animator||First credit as an Executive Producer|
|Eggerland (1987)||Famicom Disk System||Producer|
|Famicom Golf: Japan Course (1987)||Famicom Disk System||Programmer|
|Famicom Golf: U.S. Course (1987)||Famicom Disk System||Programmer|
|Air Fortress (1987)||NES||Producer, Technical Advisor|
|Famicom Grand Prix: F1 Race (1987)||Famicom Disk System||Programmer|
|Famicom Grand Prix II: 3D Hot Rally (1988)||Famicom Disk System||Programmer||Credited as Wahyo Iwata|
|Eggerland: Meikyuu no Fukkatsu (1988)||NES||Producer, Tool Creator||Referred to as "S. Iwata". The game was released as Adventures of Lolo in the west.|
|Rollerball (1988)||NES||Producer, Tools|
|Shangai (1989)||Game Boy||Producer, Programmer|
|Uchuu Keibitai SDF (1990)||NES||Technical Supervisor|
|New Ghostbusters II (1990)||NES||Technical Supervisor|
|HAL's Hole in One Golf (1991)||SNES||Programmer|
|NES Open Tournament Golf (1991)||NES||Chief Programmer|
|Arcana (1992)||SNES||Technical Advisor|
|NCAA Basketball (1992)||SNES||Additional Programming||This title was developed in America.|
|Kirby's Adventure (1993)||NES||Producer||Contributed some programming also|
|Vegas Stakes (1993)||SNES||Executive Producer||Vegas Stakes came out after Iwata became president of HAL, explaining why he was credited as Executive Producer.|
|Kirby's Pinball Land (1993)||Game Boy||Producer|
|Alcahest (1993)||SNES||Executive Producer||Game published by Square.|
|Adventures of Lolo (1994)||Game Boy||Executive Producer|
|Earthbound (1994)||SNES||Program Director, Programmer, Coproducer||Reworked the program of the game after the development team faced difficulties|
|Kirby's Dream Course (1994)||SNES||Producer|
|Kirby's Dream Land 2 (1995)||Game Boy||Producer|
|Vegas Stakes (1995)||Game Boy||Executive Producer|
|Kirby Super Star (1996)||SNES||Producer|
|Itoi Shigesato no Bass Tsuri No. 1 (1997)||SNES||Producer|
|Kirby's Dream Land 3 (1997)||SNES||Chief Producer|
|Kirby's Star Stacker (1998)||SNES||Chief Producer|
|Pocket Monsters Stadium (1998)||Nintendo 64||Producer||Also helped reprogramming the battle code in a week|
|Pokémon Red and Blue (1998)||Game Boy||Special Thanks||Credited in the international version of the games|
|Hey You, Pikachu! (1998)||Nintendo 64||Special Thanks|
|Super Smash Bros. (1999)||Nintendo 64||Producer||Extended credits as "Negotiation Chief; Computer Player, Test Version Programming; Program Support". Helped Masahiro Sakurai programming the prototype of the game|
|Pokémon Snap (1999)||Nintendo 64||Producer|
|Pokémon Pinball (1999)||Game Boy Color||Producer|
|Pokémon Stadium (1999)||Nintendo 64||Producer|
|Pokémon Gold and Silver (1999)||Game Boy||Special Thanks||Created the compression tools that allowed Game Freak to fit the Kanto region in the game|
|Custom Robo (1999)||Nintendo 64||Special Thanks|
|Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards (2000)||Nintendo 64||Supervisor|
|Itoi Shigesato no Bass Tsuri No. 1 Ketteihan (2000)||Nintendo 64||Producer|
|Kirby Tilt 'n' Tumble (2000)||Game Boy Color||Special Thanks|
|Pokémon Puzzle League (2000)||Nintendo 64||Special Thanks|
|Pokémon Crystal (2000)||Game Boy Color||Producer||First title as a Nintendo employee|
|Pokémon Stadium 2 (2000)||Nintendo 64||Producer|
|Chee-Chai Alien (2000)||Game Boy Color||Nintendo||Support staff for Creatures|
|Wave Race: Blue Storm (2001)||GameCube||Special Thanks||Credited in the international release|
|Pokémon Party mini (2001)||Pokémon Mini||Producer|
|Pokémon Zany Cards (2001)||Pokémon Mini||Producer|
|Pokémon Pinball mini (2001)||Pokémon Mini||Producer|
|Pokémon Puzzle Collection (2001)||Pokémon Mini||Producer|
|Super Smash Bros. Melee (2001)||GameCube||Special thanks||Extended credits as "Marketing Supervision". Also helped with programming the game so it could be released on schedule|
|Pokémon Shock Tetris (2002)||Pokémon Mini||Producer|
|Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem (2002)||GameCube||Producer||Credited as Executive Producer in the Japanese and PAL releases|
|Sakura Momoko no Ukiuki Carnival (2002)||Game Boy Advance||Supervisor|
|Pokémon Race mini (2002)||Pokémon Mini||Producer|
|Custom Robo GX (2002)||Game Boy Advance||Special Thanks|
Executive Producer credits
This list contains games crediting Iwata as an executive producer while he was president of Nintendo.
- For Pokémon Stadium, Iwata analyzed the original Pokemon games and developed the battle code in about a week without reference documents.
- For Pokémon Gold & Silver, Iwata generated compression tools that enabled the team to put Kanto in the game.
- It is referenced by an NPC named after Shigeki Morimoto in Pokémon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon. The NPC can be found in the in game Game Freak office on Akala Island and will only talk about Iwata if you previously transfered a Pokémon from the Virtual Console version of Pokémon Gold and Silver in your game via the Pokémon Bank.
- For Super Smash Bros. Melee, while already being the General Manager of Corporate Planning at Nintendo, he spent the last couple weeks debugging the game so it would make it out to launch.
- Iwata did the localization programming for Dragon Warrior
- A picture of Iwata was used among along with Olimar, some Pikmin and Villager on the demo of Stage Debut, an unreleased project.
- In the ending screen of Star Fox Zero, the following tribute to Iwata can be read: "This game is dedicated to our wingman who fell in battle."
- In the The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, the place called Satori Mountain and the spirit named the Lord of the Mountain are assumed to be tributes to the late president.