Iwata’s Legacy: MONG’s Favorite Nintendo Memories

Satoru Iwata was more than the President of Nintendo Company, more than a programmer, even more than a gamer. Satoru Iwata was a visionary that helped shape the gaming industry that we see today. If it wasn’t for his forethought, creativity, and dedication, many of us might not have the famous video game characters that we enjoy on a daily basis.

Middle of Nowhere Gaming wanted to commemorate Satoru Iwata by sharing some of our fondest Nintendo memories. Below are some of our memories:

Jordan Loeffler, Editor-in-Chief: My first gaming console was the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. I was four years old and I was instantly enamoured with gaming. Early on, it was important to me that I be able to play games alongside friends and family. My SNES was much more than an independent experience even in those early mornings before I had to go off to school. It was where I learned to make my gaming experiences social ones, to learn to talk about gaming, and I’m certain it’s the reason why I love writing about gaming. In recent years, Nintendo may not be my first choice when it comes to a primary gaming experience, but there is no doubt in my mind that it has been influential in who I’ve become and how the overall industry has developed. And without Satoru Iwata, neither would be the same. I will always be grateful and I will always be invested in its future because it is irreplaceable to my past. Thank you.

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Harry Loizides, Executive Editor: By far my favorite Nintendo moment would be getting my original GameBoy. I was six years old and I can’t remember if I wanted it or not, but my parents gave it to me and I couldn’t stop. I 100% attribute this to my Nintendo-fandom and affinity to handheld gaming. I’ve created numerous memories, found new friends, and continue to spend my time enjoying all things gaming. Thank you Iwata for helping me craft the world that we all live in!

Jesse Webster, Senior Writer: I remember the first time I played a Smash Bros. game. It was when I borrowed a friend’s GameCube so I could play some of his games. One of the games we played a lot was Super Smash Bros. Melee. And while I didn’t play too much of it, I did play a lot of the Super Smash Bros. Brawl in a GameStop store, when I didn’t have a Wii, playing as Solid Snake most of the time. I never got a chance to play EarthBound or play much of the Kirby games, but I know that Iwata-san was a key figure to where Nintendo was and is. I’ll remember him mostly as someone that made E3 fun.

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Lucy Pallent, Senior Writer: You never forget your first Mario game. Ever. It was a chilly Boxing Day evening in Northern England. It was cold, it was wet, in other words, it was very much English weather. I will never forget being given New Super Mario Bros. for my sparkling new DS Lite. The only games I’d been given so far were Cars Mater-National Championships and Herby Rescue Rally, neither of which was particularly exciting. Jumping into the world of Mario for the first time was magical: it was bright, it was colorful and it blew my seven year old mind to smithereens. Nevertheless, that doesn’t mean I was particularly good at the game; I ran into the first goomba on my first try, and I had many game overs. But, I didn’t care! With every death I inched closer to the flag pole, discovering new ‘secrets’, e.g. going through pipes, the mega mushrooms and the lucrative invisibility star, along the way. My journey with Mario was just beginning, but the addiction to Mario and video games in general was already there. Thank you Satoru Iwata (I like to think he would have wanted us to be on a first name basis) for everything you did for Nintendo. You oversaw the DS, so in a way, you created the gamer I am today. Without you, I would probably be going down a completely different path, and I can’t thank you enough for that. You were a CEO like no other. You stared at bananas, revitalised a company and proved that even in the 21st century it’s possible to run a video game company centered around fun.

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Aaron Dobbe, Senior Writer: Like most kids, I had too much time on my hands, so I would spend hours at a time just exploring Super Mario World, scouring each stage for secrets and hidden exits to open up more of the map. I remember being so excited when, thinking I had exhausted all the game’s secrets, I stumbled across a particularly well-hidden warp that took Mario to the Special World, an alternate dimension full of particularly tricky challenges. This was a magical, formative moment for me — the joy of discovery in video games is something I’ve treasured ever since. Thank you, Iwata, for helping provide so many wonderful playgrounds to facilitate that joy.

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Adam Leonard, Associate Writer: My love affair with video games truly began one winter when I was on break from school. I rented The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, and became hopelessly hooked. I played that game so much over the next week that I had to start taking breaks due to my hands cramping from the amount of time I spent playing it. Ocarina of Time was an evolutionary step forward for video games, and is a game that still has deep sentimental value to me, and reminds me of an incredibly special time of my life. Thank you Iwata for carrying the torch, and for protecting Nintendo’s precious legacy. Rest well.

Esteban Cuevas, Associate Writer: I’m very critical of Nintendo nowadays but back when I was first playing video games, I chose the Super Nintendo over the Genesis. I loved games like Mega Man X, Super Mario World, and the Street Fighter II series. I have distinct memories of staying up playing Yoshi’s Island all night while listening to my parents’ CDs and old LPs. However, if I am to point to one game that is associated with Iwata-san that I have fond memories of, it would have to be a recent one. This past December, I finally started playing EarthBound for the first time. I really enjoyed that game as it felt more like a work of art. The story had a lot more heart and humor than most games and I can see why big fans of the series are begging for the other games to come stateside (which has now happened with the first game). Iwata was instrumental in bringing EarthBound to the U.S., so thank you for bringing one of the most unique and original Nintendo games to a wider audience.

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - MARCH 2:  In this handout image provided by Nintendo of America, Satoru Iwata, president of Nintendo Co. Ltd., gives the keynote address at the Game Developers Conference March 2, 2011 in San Francisco, California. Iwata announced Super Mario in 3D for the Nintendo 3DS portable video game system. (Photo by Kim White/Nintendo of America via Getty Images)

Riley Berry, Associate Writer: The Nintendo 64 was my first console, so like many others, Nintendo got me into gaming. There are plenty of games I spent time playing, but my favorite is Super Mario 64. I still believe to this day it is one of the best games ever. Since this is all in memory of Iwata, I feel the need to mention that Kirby 64 is probably the game I have spent the most time playing, but never actually finished. I did not know until his passing that Iwata was involved with the Kirby series, so I intend to go back and play it start to finish in memory of Iwata.

Steven Shearer, Associate Writer: Unlike many people, I am not a huge Nintendo guy. I never grew up with a N64, NES, or even a SNES but I did grow up with a GameBoy Advance SP. And I loved playing it! You were able to play games on the go – how cool is that? Eventually I got a DS and that’s the Nintendo console I remember the most. Playing Pokémon was amazing and playing Mario Kart against friends was amazing. I recently got a New 3DS, and hope to finally get into the most loved franchises like Mario, Zelda, Fire Emblem, etc. But even if I didn’t grow up playing Nintendo games, I know one thing for certain. Without Iwata, the industry (that I love so much) would be completely different. So, Iwata I thank you for making games awesome. You will be severely missed.

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Courtney Osborn, Founder:You’ll rarely find me playing anything on a Nintendo console these days. However, that fact does not even remotely represent my deep-routed fanatical love for Nintendo consoles. I am who I am today because of Nintendo, and there is no denying that. My childhood was spent obsessed with games like Super Mario Bros., Kirby’s Adventure, The Legend of Zelda, Super Mario World, Donkey Kong Country, Pokemon, and every single sequel that followed each of those great franchises. My love for Nintendo games continued to grow and eventually made me want to try out games on Sega, PlayStation, and Xbox platforms down the line.  Had it not been for so many incredible Nintendo couch co-op experiences with my brother and sister in the 90s, who knows if I would have dedicated my life to being a gamer? My favorite Nintendo memory is not just one memory, but rather my entire childhood.  Nintendo shaped me into who I am today, and gave me timeless happy memories.  Thank you so much Iwata-san.  You will truly be missed.  

Lou Contaldi, Former Executive Editor: Nintendo has been a part of my life since I was a kid — it was relaxation whenever I had a busy day, an escape whenever my day was miserable, and the essence of joy when everything in my life was all right. However, if I had to choose one, perfect Nintendo moment mixing excitement with nostalgia, it would be receiving Pokemon Silver as a Christmas present when I was nine. Having already sunk more than a thousand hours into Pokemon Red and Yellow, I was half expecting the game to be more of the same. Crazily enough, the excitement never toned down — it was my day and night for months. Little did I know Iwata’s influence on that game and how he made it the modern masterpiece and testament to gaming technology it stands as today. Iwata-san is an exemplar of what it is to be a CEO of a company — he understood the product more than the people who enjoyed it, he loved his fans, and his main mission was to make sure everyone was happy at all times. Iwata was Nintendo, and Nintendo will carry on his spirit by continuing to bring joy and happiness to their fans.

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Now it’s your turn! What’s your favorite Nintendo memory that you’d like to share to commemorate Iwata’s legacy?

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