NPR logo

Nintendo CEO Iwata: 'In My Heart I Am A Gamer'

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/422672976/422672983" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
Nintendo CEO Iwata: 'In My Heart I Am A Gamer'

Remembrances

Nintendo CEO Iwata: 'In My Heart I Am A Gamer'

Nintendo CEO Iwata: 'In My Heart I Am A Gamer'

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/422672976/422672983" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Satoru Iwata, who helped Nintendo innovate and launch its revolutionary Wii game console, has died. His business card summed him up this way: "I run a game company, in my heart I am a gamer."

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

The chief executive officer of Nintendo has died. As NPR's Laura Sydell reports, Satoru Iwata was known for his accessibility to fans, and he's being remembered for a playfulness unusual among big company CEOs.

LAURA SYDELL, BYLINE: Tributes and outpourings of appreciation for Satoru Iwata are easy to find right now on Twitter and YouTube. Here's part of a video posted by a sad-looking young fan who says he wants to be a game developer. He calls himself NintenRoy.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

NINTENROY: I'm 14, but still, he was one of my main inspirations.

SYDELL: Iwata engaged with fans. He helped create and participated in an online video series called "Nintendo Direct."

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

SATORU IWATA: Today, I will share with you information about the Nintendo 3DS directly.

SYDELL: On the screen, he's flanked by life-sized Nintendo characters Mario and Luigi.

JORGE ALBOR: He seemed like somebody who genuinely cared about games and the gaming community and was playful.

SYDELL: Jorge Albor runs an online community dedicated to gaming on the site Wikia. Albor says, earlier in Iwata's career, he was a software engineer making Nintendo video games.

ALBOR: He was pivotal in the creation of some of the most important games for people. You know, "Earthbound," "Zelda," "Kirby" - all of these games are some of the foundational games for a lot of people's lives.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "ZELDA'S LULLABY")

SYDELL: Though everything Iwata touched did not turn to gold. Nintendo was slow to respond when people started playing more games on tablets and mobile phones. But he was CEO when Nintendo launched its original Wii, one of the best-selling game consoles of all time. For over a year, Iwata battled what Nintendo called a bile duct growth, yet even a few weeks ago he found the strength to participate in Nintendo's shareholder meeting. But his heart was with his customers and the games they played. Here he is on stage in 2005 at the big videogame conference, E3.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

IWATA: On my business card, I am a corporate president. In my mind, I am a game developer, but in my heart, I am a gamer.

SYDELL: Iwata was 55 years old. Nintendo has not yet announced who will succeed him as CEO. Laura Sydell, NPR News.

Copyright © 2015 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.