Satoru Iwata (December 6, 1959 — July 11, 2015), former global president of Nintendo and former president of HAL Laboratory. He started at HAL as a staff programmer, and helped create the first Balloon Fight and Kirby games. More notably, he single-handedly reprogrammed EarthBound from scratch midway through development, rescuing the entire project at a time when all seemed lost. Iwata's tenure as head of HAL Laboratory did not slow down his developer skills; he was responsible for porting the battle codes for the original Pokémon games in order for them to be used in Pokémon Stadium, and compressed the code for both Pokémon Gold and Silver titles to allow enough room for including the Kanto region.
After attaining a high ranking position at Nintendo, Iwata became its global president after Hiroshi Yamauchi went into retirement. Both the Wii and Nintendo DS were promoted under his leadership with absolute full backing. He then served as the executive producer of all Nintendo software, including outsourced projects.
His identity as Nintendo's global president was cemented through Iwata Asks, where he interviewed key designers for upcoming games released on the Nintendo platform and as the host of almost every Nintendo Direct, which announces new games and information.
A bile duct growth forced him to miss E3 of 2014 and is believed now to be the reason for the puppet show for Nintendo's 2015 E3 event so that people would not to see him in a badly deteriorated state of health, and despite surgery to remove the growth, it ultimately cost him his life on July 11th, 2015 at the age of 55. He will be missed dearly.
Works Iwata was personally involved in:
- Balloon Fight (NES): Programmer
- Dragon Quest I (NES): North America release only. Series creator Yuji Horii stated on Twitter that Iwata was in charge of localization programming.
- Kirby's Adventure (NES): Producer
- EarthBound (Super NES): Programmer
- Pinball (1984) (NES): Programmer
- Pokémon Red and Blue (Game Boy): Helped program the international versions.
- Pokémon Gold and Silver (Game Boy): Helped Game Freak compress the game so they could finish it.
- Pokémon Stadium (Nintendo 64): Programmed the first version.
- Super Smash Bros. 64 and Melee (Nintendo 64 and Nintendo GameCube): Helped Masahiro Sakurai create the first game's prototype. Did bug fixing for Melee.