‘He was a man of virtue.’
The passing of Nintendo’s Satoru Iwata still continues to be felt throughout the games industry, as the man who redefined the reach and meaning of video games as a medium has his absence felt. Writing in his weekly column, Smash Bros. creator Masahiro Sakurai, who was a long time collaborator and friend of Iwata’s – the two worked together on loads of games, including the creation of Kirby, and yes, Super Smash Bros. – discussed Iwata’s virtues.
“Our positions and locations changed throughout our long association,” Sakurai said. “He was the best superior I ever had and a man who understood me better than anyone.
The full eulogy read:
He was a man of virtue. Where a normal person would get annoyed or angry, he would never show such emotions and would instead analyze, organize, and offer ideas. He was someone who could bow his head and apologize for things that weren’t his fault. I often worried about his stress levels, but he always talked with a smile.
He had a brilliant mind. Even when people would talk at length or without focus he was able to quickly say, “so, what you’re trying to say is…” and quickly summarize their point. He was able to see to the heart of people and things and was a master of simplifying them so that anyone could understand their point. He could immediately make a call on changes to improve. I have no doubt that many people were saved by this quality.
He was a man of effort. Even though he didn’t start out in the managing field, he read numerous management books, he would ask for advice from the necessary people that he would take to heart, and managed to become the president of Nintendo. What he gained from his years as a programmer allowed him to take many long-term projects to successful fruition.
He was open and generous. Things like his Iwata Asks, and Nintendo Direct weren’t things that necessarily required the president of Nintendo to stand at the front and do. There was always the risk of frivolous criticism. And yet, by being the spokesperson, I believe he showed the importance of properly conveying a message to his audience.
He was empathetic. After he became the president of Nintendo, he would write emails to all employees to communicate and as hard as it was, took a stance to try to treat everyone as equals. He would often ask third parties to see how people were doing. As an individual, he had no self-righteous qualities.
It really does sound as though Mr. Iwata touched all those who knew him in his lifetime, and it does remain a tragedy that he passed as soon as he did. May he rest in peace.
[Thanks Kotaku, for the translation]