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Satoru Iwata

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"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."
Satoru Iwata,
GDC 2005
Satoru Iwata.

Satoru Iwata (岩田 聡, December 6, 1959 – July 11, 2015) was the fourth President and CEO of Nintendo, promoted in 2002 by the previous President, Hiroshi Yamauchi, before his retirement the same year[1], making Iwata the first president to not be related to Yamauchi's family. Iwata was known for his contributions to the Nintendo subsidiary, HAL Laboratory, Inc., and after being made president was attributed to the success of the Nintendo GameCube, Wii, Nintendo DS, and the latter console's launch title, Brain Age.[1][2][3]


Iwata was born on December 6, 1959, in Sapporo, the son of a politician. Iwata displayed an interest in computers and programming during his early life; during his high school years, Iwata would program games for his classmates to play on a programmable calculator. In 1978, Iwata was admitted into the Tokyo Institute of Technology, majoring in computer science, and would graduate in 1982.

Iwata began his career while in college as a freelance programmer and one of the original members of HAL Laboratory, and was employed full-time after he graduated, becoming a software coordinator almost one year after[2]. While at HAL, he worked on the concept and design for the EarthBound and Kirby series of games, and eventually was promoted to president of the company in 1993 after making a deal with Hiroshi Yamauchi[2]. His work at HAL carried over to his career at Nintendo as he was transferred to their main office, contributing towards titles such as Super Mario Sunshine, Star Fox Adventures, Metroid Prime, Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem, Animal Crossing and The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker.[1] Finally, in May of 2002, Hiroshi Yamauchi promoted Iwata to president as his successor, and in 2013 Iwata succeeded Tatsumi Kimishima as CEO of Nintendo of America[4]. Later on, Iwata would become the face of Iwata Asks, a series of developer interviews, and Nintendo Direct.

In 2014, Nintendo announced that Iwata did not attend E3 2014 due to a recent surgery to remove a tumor in his bile duct.[5] Regardless, on July 11, 2015, Iwata passed away from a bile duct growth at age 55.[6] His role was overseen by Shigeru Miyamoto and Genyo Takeda until September 16, 2015, when Tatsumi Kimishima was appointed as Iwata's successor.[7]

Works published by Nintendo[edit]

Note that during his tenure as a president of Nintendo, Satoru Iwata was automatically credited as "Executive Producer" in any Nintendo-published games since his promotion. As such, this list only encompasses any games released before his tenure.

Game Year Console Role / credit
Pinball 1984 Famicom / NES Programmer (uncredited)
F-1 Race 1984 Famicom / NES Programmer (uncredited)
Balloon Fight 1985 Famicom / NES Programmer (uncredited)
Family Computer Golf: U.S. Course 1987 Famicom Programmer
Family Computer Golf: Japan Course 1987 Famicom Programmer
Famicom Grand Prix II: 3D Hot Rally 1988 Famicom Programmer (as "Wahyo Iwata")
NES Open Tournament Golf 1991 NES Chief Programmer
Kirby's Dream Land 1992 Game Boy Programmer (uncredited)
NCAA Basketball 1992 SNES Additional Programming
Kirby's Pinball Land 1993 Game Boy Staff
Kirby's Adventure 1993 NES Producer
EarthBound 1994 SNES Program Director
Kirby's Dream Course 1994 SNES Producer
Vegas Stakes 1995 Game Boy Executive Producer
Kirby's Dream Land 2 1995 Game Boy Producer
Pokémon Red and Blue 1996 Game Boy Special Thanks (US version)
Kirby Super Star 1996 SNES Producer
Kirby's Dream Land 3 1997 SNES Chief Producer
Kirby's Star Stacker 1998 Super Famicom Chief Producer
Hey You, Pikachu! 1998 Nintendo 64 Special Thanks
Super Smash Bros. 1999 Nintendo 64 Producer
Pokémon Stadium 1999 Nintendo 64 Producer
Pokémon Snap 1999 Nintendo 64 Producer
Pokémon Gold and Silver 1999 Game Boy Color Special Thanks (US version)
Pokémon Stadium 2 2000 Nintendo 64 Producer
Pokémon Puzzle League 2000 Nintendo 64 Special Thanks
Pokémon Crystal 2000 Game Boy Color Producer
Kirby Tilt 'n' Tumble 2000 Game Boy Color Special Thanks
Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards 2000 Nintendo 64 Supervisor
Super Smash Bros. Melee 2001 Nintendo GameCube Special Thanks
Pokémon Puzzle Collection 2001 Game Boy Advance Producer
Pokémon Pinball mini 2001 Pokémon mini Producer


During his tenure, Iwata made cameos in a number of Nintendo games, but the most notable appearances were in WarioWare, Inc.: Mega Microgame$! where he appeared on Wario's TV and in WarioWare: Smooth Moves, where he (under the name "Shop Manager Iwata") was the owner of a video game store and sold 18-Volt a Game & Watch for 9-Volt.

During the credits sequence for Star Fox Zero is the message, "This game is dedicated to our wingman who fell in battle."

External links[edit]


Nintendo logo.png

Internal divisions
Owned / Affiliated Seattle Mariners* • The Pokémon Company • Warpstar Inc.
* – Former / Defunct

8-4 • AlphaDream* • Ambrella* • Argonaut Games* • Arika • Artoon* • Arzest • Bandai Namco • Capcom • Camelot • Cing* • Creatures Inc. • DeNA • DigitalScape • Eighting • Flagship* • Fuse Games* • Game Freak • Ganbarion • Genius Sonority • Good-Feel • Grezzo • HAL Laboratory • Hatena • Hudson Soft* • indieszero • iNiS • Intelligent Systems • Jamsworks • Jupiter • Koei Tecmo • Kuju • Left Field Productions* • Level-5 • Marigul Management* • Mistwalker • Monster Games • Noise • Paon • PlatinumGames • Q-Games • Rare* • Red Entertainment • Sega (Atlus) • Sora Ltd. • skip • Softnica • Square Enix • St.GIGA* • Syn Sophia • TOSE • Treasure • Vanpool • Vitei
* – Former / Defunct

Managers, etc. Internal
  • NNSD: Yusuke Beppu
  • Monolith Soft: Hirohide Sugiura, Tetsuya Takahashi
  • 1-Up Studio: Gen Kadoi
  • ND Cube: Hidetoshi Endo
  • Retro: Michael Kelbaugh
  • NERD: Alexandre Delattre