Here is a video of Iwata doing the Balloon Fight Challenge:
You know what I see?
Iwata isn’t selling a console here.
Iwata isn’t selling a game (unless you count the Virtual Console version of Balloon Fight).
What I see is someone in awe of gaming. He is in awe of how people experience gaming, how gaming is developed, and how it all brings fun into the world.
I liked how he asked: “What was your toughest challenge?” and the answer being Ninja Gaiden for the NES. Back then, Iwata explains, the game makers made games for themselves which is why the games were so outrageously hard. So us 8-bit gamers got placed into super hard games hahahahaha.
One aspect of Iwata’s life that doesn’t get commented on is how Iwata defied his parents to pursue a life in video games. His parents were very unhappy. I imagine his parents thought it was as if he was going to clown school. But Iwata had an optimistic vision for gaming. I’m not sure if his parents are still alive or not, but what better career success is there for a son to become president of a big company?
Iwata’s ‘optimistic’ vision can be illustrated with the Wii and DS, but I think it is better illustrated with his decision to invest his life in it.
You guys are younger. To you, video games have always been around like TV or the Internet. Some of you know how life was like before the Internet. To say, “I want to invest my life in doing stuff on the Internet,” sounds fine today but sounds INSANE thirty years ago.
Video games were not ‘a fact’ or ‘everywhere’ back then. And even back during the PONG days, it is not like every generation experienced it. Parents wouldn’t understand why a kid is playing the games for so long.
Here is a much younger Iwata. He was optimistic about gaming enough to bet his life on it. This was before gaming became ‘popular’. But in many ways, Iwata was part of the reason gaming got ‘popular’. To those who grew up with the DS and Wii, those distinct systems were shaped by him. And you, the old school gamer with your NES cartridge collection, some of your classic games are programmed by him.
He expanded the frontiers of gaming on every front: developing, business, and ones I haven’t seen before. He was the perfect ambassador for gaming.