Nintendo lost its President a month ago, leaving a fine legacy from one of the game giant’s shortest leaderships. There were distinct highs and lows during his 13 years, and perhaps his most significant legacy will prove to be a fresh and secure direction towards mobile gaming. While the identity of his permanent successor remains a mystery, Jokerside sets about a tribute play of two handheld games that have a lot to say about Nintendo and the legacy of Iwata-san:
One of Nintendo’s occasional revolutions
THE GAMING WORLD WENT INTO APPROPRIATE MELT-DOWN IN MID-JULY WITH NEWS THAT NINTENDO’S CEO IWATA-SAN HAD PASSED AWAY AT 55. Taken too soon, too young by cancer, he left Nintendo at a crossroads as his 13 year Presidency of the company came to an abrupt end. Only the fourth President in the company’s 126 year history, his relatively short presidency saw the typical triumphs and stumbles we’ve come to expect from the Japanese giant as it continued to stridently stick to its own path. For all the highs of the Wii and the DS, their successors have stalled… But in leaving a new and set strategy for development into the mobile market there is a chance for Nintendo to grab a crown that was always waiting for them. A natural and overdue fit for the company, we should all hope they’ll magic up one of their occasional revolutions on mobiles over the next two years. It’s a long time coming and a move engrained in their DNA, but leaves the future of their hardware undefined to the outside world…
A new century
An unwavering pursuit of gameplay
Under Iwata Nintendo pushed into new ground with the new century. It started by resisting the continued rise of Sony while sticking rigidly to its non-connected and affectionately unique formats. The GameCube, remains a distinctive and brilliant idea – but while Nintendo had learned from the limited software range that left the Nintendo 64 bereft, the GC couldn’t quite move on from expensive cartridges without dipping into the unusual mini optical discs for a generation. It was a well-received console, a fun and contained example of what a gaming device should and could be. But while the GC managed a six year career, its clear and unwavering pursuit of gameplay over graphics, experience over a multi-player network, pushed Nintendo well behind the social machinations of its Japanese and American rivals.
The Third Way
Via dead-ends and love hotels
Iwata was hand chosen by President Hiroshi Yamauchi to become his successor at the start of the 21st century. Following five decades that had seen Yamauchi take Nintendo from playing card manufacturer to world leading videogames company, via all sorts of dead-ends and love hotels, was some ask. A games developer by aptitude, Iwata had joined by proxy from a part-time programming position at HAL Laboratory to heading the giant’s corporate planning division. On the way he helped develop titles including Kirby’s Dream Land, Pokémon Gold and Silver and Super Smash Bros. before spending a couple of years before his presidency successfully cutting Nintendo’s game cost and development time.