It’s been two years since Nintendo’s former president Satoru Iwata passed away — two years that both Nintendo and the larger industry have been without such an incredible and inventive man whose contributions helped shape the childhoods of gamers ’round the world. On this day, which would have been President Iwata’s 58th birthday, we here at Nintendo Wire would like to take some time to remember him, the enormous influence he had on video games and the impact he made in the lives of those he worked with — and those he did not.
In the years following his death, a number of tributes to Mr. Iwata have popped up in games, ranging from the almost-too-subtle to the right-on-the-nose. We’ve compiled some of our favorite tributes to the legendary programmer and businessman. Take a look for yourself:
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild’s Satori Mountain
The first in-game tribute on our list appears in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, given attention thanks to Polygon’s Ben Kuchera. Admittedly speculation on the part of Kuchera, he does provide some pretty convincing evidence of a tribute living atop Hyrule’s Satori Mountain in his article. Take a look at the video and make the call yourself:
The Switch’s hidden Golf game
In what may be the most intricate homage of all, a hidden game of the NES classic Golf resides on each and every Nintendo Switch system, with its unlock method serving to celebrate Mr. Iwata. To unlock the game, Switch owners must have their console set to July 11th (the date of Mr. Iwata’s death) and perform his iconic “directly to you” pose with detached Joy-Con. Upon success, Switch owners will hear a voice clip from Mr. Iwata. While Golf may seem like a bit of an odd choice of game, it was one of the very first titles Mr. Iwata worked on as a programmer. Check out the full unlock method:
Morimoto’s dialogue in Pokémon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon
The most recent in-game tribute can be found in last month’s Pokémon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon. If players visit the GAME FREAK building in Heahea City with a Pokémon transferred over from the 3DS Virtual Console re-release of Pokémon Silver and speak to the character Morimoto, they’ll be treated to this dialogue:
“Boy, when we were told halfway through development to make Kanto, too… I thought I might just expire on the spot! But I’m glad we made it that way.
When we were having trouble fitting all the data in for Gold and Silver, and we were really in a pinch, this amazing guy came along and made a program for us that solved all our problems. He went on to become the amazing president of a real big company soon after that, too.”
The lines of text refer to Mr. Iwata’s prowess as a programmer and a true story in which he was able to compress the size of the then-in-development Pokémon Gold and Silver to allow the addition of Kanto on their Game Boy Color cartridges.
— Joe Merrick (@JoeMerrick) November 23, 2017
Happy Birthday, Satoru Iwata. May your memory and legacy continue to live on, and may you never be forgotten.
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