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The Internet flooded with tributes to Nintendo chief

Satoru Iwata, president of Japan’s Nintendo, speaks at a press conference to unveil a new portable game console “DS Lite”.

Satoru Iwata, president of Japan’s Nintendo, speaks at a press conference to unveil a new portable game console “DS Lite”.

TOKYO: 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.

Game makers reflect on death
Video game creators and colleagues of Nintendo President Satoru Iwata shared their reactions to his death as well. Michael Gallager president and CEO of the Entertainment Software Association said “Iwata-san’s passing affects us all deeply. He was a true visionary who expanded our understanding of the amazing art of video games. We offer our condolences to his family, friends and Nintendo colleagues.” Shawn Layden, president and CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment America, said in a statement “We are deeply saddened by the news of Mr. Iwata’s passing.

He contributed greatly to gaming through his leadership, vision and commitment to delivering fun for everyone. On behalf of PlayStation, we’d like to extend our deepest condolences to Mr. Iwata’s family, friends and everyone at Nintendo. We shall miss his passing for as long as there is gaming.” Head of Microsoft’s Xbox division in a statement said “It is a sad moment for the industry. I always remember a speech he made where he said, ‘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.’ It’s a statement that defines Nintendo in the time he led, and defines Iwata-san’s impact on our industry. He will be missed.”— AP

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This article was published on 14/07/2015