Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime gave a four-minute speech about Mr. Satoru Iwata yesterday evening during The Game Awards 2015.
This year’s The Game Awards brought no new announcements for Nintendo. However, Geoff Keighley, the show’s producer, ensured Nintendo late president Satoru Iwata received a special tribute — complete with a heartfelt speech from Reggie and a live on-stage piano performance by Ben Harper.
Mr. Iwata passed away last July due to complications with bile duct cancer.
Below is Reggie’s full speech, which we have taken the liberty to transcribe. A video featuring the full tribute follows.
Reggie Fils-Aime’s Speech on Satoru Iwata
One of the most overused words in the English language is “unique.” That’s what all of us want to be in some level or another, but very few of us truly are. Satoru Iwata is one who clearly was unique — in the fullest meaning of the word.
If you were to design the perfect person to lead a video game company, you’d want someone who understood electrical engineering, who understood software design, and who understood business. Not many can claim this broad kind of background, but Mr. Iwata did. And not only did he understand all of these areas, but he was accomplished in every one.
If you’ve read the Iwata Asks series, you know he could drill down into the particulars of both hardware and game design; no one could lose him in the details. On his business resume, there’s one number that stands out. Our dedicated gaming industry is now over 30 years old. In that time, only five platforms have achieved lifetime sales in excess of 100 million units worldwide. Of those five, Mr. Iwata was directly involved with three of them. At HAL Laboratories, he helped bring Kirby’s Dream Land and other games to Game Boy. And then, as president of Nintendo, he oversaw the introduction of both Nintendo DS and Wii.
Beyond his resume, I can add another signature point: The man was fearless.
Remember how you felt when you first heard the name “Wii”? Or remember what was said when you found out about Nintendogs or Brain Age, or “dual screen portable device.” You may have been puzzled, but he already knew. He had already heard the criticisms internally, but he always championed an idea he truly believed in. And we all benefited.
For Mr. Iwata, it was not enough to repeat the words of Nintendo’s mission … to surprise and delight with the unexpected. He lived those words. He was unique.
Finally, on a personal level, he was my boss, and he was my mentor. And he was my colleague. But most of all, he was my friend — and I’m a better person for it. And I think every gamer is better for having Mr. Iwata’s vision and talent help inspire and shape the passion we all share.
No matter what is going on in our lives or in the world, Mr. Iwata wanted Nintendo to be about putting smiles on people’s faces. Nintendo, at its heart, is about making us feel younger than we are today.
Mr Iwata, I hope you’re smiling right now.