Satoru Iwata: a career in pictures

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In his years as company president, Satoru Iwata became a well-known face among Nintendo fans.

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Iwata during his time at HAL Laboratory.

Iwata reached millions of gamers via his Nintendo Direct appearances and regular attendance at Nintendo’s annual E3 conferences – at least up until 2013.

But while he found fame as Nintendo’s president, Iwata kept his love of games and Nintendo characters at the forefront.

Iwata officially joined Nintendo in 2000 but had been working on Nintendo titles since the days of the NES at the company’s affiliate studio HAL Laboratory.

It was here he helped program early titles in the Kirby, Earthbound and Pokmon series, as well as the original N64 Super Smash Bros.

Iwata’s life in the limelight took off when he became president of Nintendo in May 2002, and it is from here on that he became known worldwide.

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E3 2003: Satoru Iwata, ex-Nintendo of America boss George Harrison, Shigeru Miyamoto and Paul Gale. Credit: Paul Gale.

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Iwata unveils the DS, which was originally shown in this early prototype form.

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Iwata at E3 as company president, with both Wii and DS sales soaring.

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Iwata wears a panoramic camera to test the technology behind Wii U app Panorama View.

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Iwata was forced to apologise to investors for repeated company losses. He halved his own salary two years running as a result.

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Iwata and Miyamoto during the Year of Luigi.

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Iwata’s Direct appearances played up to fan desire for meme-worthy moments.

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Iwata’s banana appearance was particularly memorable, and still defies explanation. His favourite quote – ‘directly to you’ – was also widely shared.

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Iwata appears in the pre-recorded intro for Nintendo’s 2014 E3 event. It was the first year that he did not attend E3 personally after recovering from surgery.

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March 2015: Iwata announces a historic partnership with Japanese mobile giant DeNA.

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Iwata recorded voice-over for Nintendo’s E3 2015 digital event, which saw the president appear via a Jim Henson Company-designed puppet. It was his last performance for fans.


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