You might have heard from social networking sites and news sites that the President and CEO of Nintendo, Iwata Satoru has passed away this Sunday from cancer. It’s saddening for the fact that he contributed a lot to gaming and managed to turn Nintendo around by innovating the consoles, which have enjoyed a lot of success, namely the Nintendo Wii, DS and the 3DS.
With that, I will share my thoughts on his accomplishments and contributions to Nintendo and the gaming industry. Of course, I will also share my experiences with Nintendo and how I got into video games.
While I don’t know much about Iwata except for him being the CEO and President of Nintendo and his work on the Nintendo Direct, he seems to care about the workers and the company as a whole. During his time with Nintendo, he refused to lay off workers. He wanted to maintain the morale of the company and not lose the talent the company has. In addition, he played a big role in developing the Nintendo Wii, DS, 3DS and Wii U by adding innovative features that Sony and Microsoft were not doing at the time. While the Wii U has some problems taking off, the consoles I mentioned were highly successful.
Although there are a few things I did not agree with such as the YouTube policies and of course the region locking, there are two things that I really respected him for. First are his accomplishments before he joined Nintendo. After graduating college, he got a job at HAL Laboratories and worked on games like Balloon Fight, Mother and Kirby games. In addition, he helped with the founding of Creatures Inc. (the company that worked on the Pokémon games with Gamefreak) and the programing and porting of the Pokémon games, namely Pokémon Gold and Silver and Pokémon Stadium. It just shows that he was really good at programing, which is not surprising since he majored in Computer Science.
The second thing that I respect him is his efforts to reach out to the consumer. To make new game announcements more accessible to the public, he created “Nintendo Direct,” which allows Nintendo to do their own announcements for upcoming games and cut the middleman out. In addition, he responded to fans concerns on social media and on the Nintendo website in the section “Iwata Asks.”
Considering that he contributed a lot to Nintendo and gaming in general, it’s very sad to lose him at a relatively young age of fifty-five years old. He cared about the fans mostly because he is also a gamer, something that is uncommon in an industry that does not listen to the feedback and release buggy or unfinished games. Moreover, he took a cut in salary when Nintendo finances went down. With that, I give my condolences to his family and his friends and let his legacy live on.
Now, it is time to share my experiences with Nintendo. Believe it or not, Nintendo was my first entry into gaming, excluding computer games. The first console I got was a Super Nintendo and the Gameboy. During my childhood, I spent my time playing Super Mario World, Legend of Zelda and other crappy licensed video games with my sister. As for the Gameboy, it did get some use, but not a lot until Pokémon came out.
Eventually, I got a Nintendo 64 and a Gameboy Color, which is around the time the first Pokémon games came to the west. During that time, I became more interested in video games that I played with my Gameboy most of the time during recess. While I eventually got a Playstation 3 in 2008 and a Vita in 2012, between my sister and I, we still bought all the Nintendo consoles. In fact, I am an early adopter of the Nintendo 3DS, which I got a few months after it got released to the states.
So, why I remained loyal to Nintendo? To me, I am not interested in first person shooter games at all. Besides, I liked most of the experiences they made for the console and my tastes for video games were pretty narrow until I got into college. During that time, I played mostly Pokémon and Super Mario games. Sure, people will complain about the rehashes of these franchises, but the games are very fun to play such as Mario Kart, the first two Paper Mario games, Super Smash Bros, Super Mario Galaxy and so on. Not only that, they have a lot of polish, which is something that can not be said with most western games these days since they get pushed out of the door even when they are filled with bugs and such.
As for the hardware, while Nintendo have not kept up with its competitors in terms of graphical capabilities, they focused on innovative features. This allowed them to create unique experiences. In fact, other companies have incorporated these innovations such as Sony and Microsoft incorporating motion controls and Nvidia incorporating features from the Wii U tablet into their own Shield tablet.
Sure, I may like the Vita since it has a large library of Japanese role-playing games and it’s region free, the 3DS (especially the “New” one) is a better console. Aside from the ability to “Street Pass” people to do things such as play unique games with other people’s Mii, there are the little things that I like about the system such as the activity log (which keeps track how long you play each game and activity level), the ability to record game notes, NFC payments, Amiibo support and other things. Plus, the design of the 3DS made it more durable compared to the Vita since you can close the screen when you finished playing, which protected the screens from any damage and scratches.
While I do not hold a preference on consoles anymore since I like both the PlayStation and Nintendo consoles, Nintendo will always have a place in my heart not because of the nostalgia it brings, but how it defined my interest in gaming. Without Nintendo, I would not become interested in gaming and probably take on a different hobby.
With that, how did you get into gaming in general? Feel free to share your experiences (Nintendo related or not). ¶