Satoru Iwata

My first great garage sale find was an original Nintendo Entertainment System with all the cords, 2 controllers, and 4 games including Super Mario Brothers 3 and Contra. All for seven dollars.

We sold Contra for seven dollars. I later heard about Contra and all it entails, but I don’t really regret that sale. We didn’t enjoy that game a whole lot (mostly because it was super hard), and it meant we basically got the NES for free.

Now, this was back in the days when GameStop still bought/sold classic games. We picked up original Zelda and sold it back. We found a copy of Super Mario Bros / Duck Hunt and might have sold it back; I can’t really remember.

And then we found Kirby’s Adventure.

When the Virtual Console for Wii was announced, I explained why I was looking forward to playing Kirby’s Adventure again:

First, Kirby’s Adventure is fun. Plain and simple. Not many games from this time period let you fly to get around puzzles, let alone absorb abilities from your enemies. Second, the game is expansive. There are at least six different worlds, each with several levels and minigames to boot. Third, powerups. One minute you’re throwing razor-sharp boomerangs, the next you’re a fireball, and the next you’re a floating UFO shooting laser beams. Don’t like what you’ve got? Press select and find a new one. But my personal favorite is the surprise ending, where [spoiler deleted] and you find out that [spoiler deleted].

Kirby’s Adventure is one of the best games of the 8-bit era. It has an unusual game mechanic, plenty of secret areas to discover, save files, a surprise ending, and one part even has parallax-scrolling backgrounds that most games didn’t see until the Sega Genesis / Super Nintendo era.

Satoru Iwata was a producer on that game. He’s most known for working as a programmer at HAL labs, working on games like Kirby and Earthbound (and even doubling the size of Pokemon Gold/Silver!) before moving on to become the president of Nintendo. He was there for Nintendo’s release of the Nintendo DS and Wii which were responsible for the company’s massive successes last decade, and when the 3DS and WiiU didn’t sell as planned, he himself took a pay cut. And when news of his death was released yesterday, it took so many people–myself included–by surprise.

He was an authentic president, a skilled coder, and he will be missed. Rest in peace, Iwata.

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