Business / Tech

Tributes to Nintendo chief Iwata flood Internet

by Yuri Kageyama


Nintendo Co. President Satoru Iwata’s death from an illness at 55 is being mourned by game fans around the world. They’re sharing Iwata Mii avatars, creating pictures with farewell messages on the Nintendo drawing game Splatoon and sending Tweets with “ThankYouIwata” hashtags. Some of the online tributes:


A petition is circulating, amassing thousands of signatures, urging Nintendo to create an “amiibo” figurine in the likeness of Iwata. The small dolls packed with sensors, which already come in Nintendo characters such as Super Mario and Kirby, are used to play games. “Even if the amiibo itself lacks in-game functionality, it serves as a small reminder of Iwata’s legacy and accomplishments,” the petition says. Nintendo had no comment.


An illustration showing Nintendo characters weeping around Iwata lying down with his eyes closed on a bed of flowers is going viral on Twitter. People said they found the drawing moving and a reminder that there would have been no Pokemon without him. “Thank you, Mr. Iwata,” the words say above the picture.


One of the quotes people were remembering from Iwata was: “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.” A YouTube clip of his keynote speech, delivered in English, at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco 10 years ago, was attracting droves of views. He showed his business card, pointed to his head and then brushed his chest as he opened his speech with that comment.


Various Iwata images are circulating in online homage, such as the one of him staring at a bunch of bananas, which had set off parody offshoots when it first popped up in 2012, becoming an Iwata meme. A video tribute by IGN includes that image as well as many others, including most recently Iwata’s appearance as a puppet at the E3 conference earlier this year.


Petition site:

The drawing: