This week, to celebrate our first wedding anniversary, my wife and I visited New York City. Here, we had the opportunity to go to Nintendo World for the first time. We went twice- once when we first arrived in NYC, and a second time, after reading the heartbreaking news that beloved Nintendo president Satoru Iwata had passed away.
When we arrived at Nintendo World on Wednesday, the first thing we saw upon entering was a memorial table for Mr. Iwata. There was a sign, a picture, some flowers, and three notebooks where people could leave messages.
In front of us was a mom and her two children, a boy and a girl, both probably around six years old. Both were writing in the notebooks. I couldn’t help but glance over to see what they were writing.
The boy wrote, in giant, six-year-old-writing: “I LOVE YOU.”
His sister wrote: “me and my brother really enjoy Pokemon and Nintendo.”
Here, I broke down. Tears filled my eyes, clouding my vision as I wrote my message and signed my name. My wife and I went upstairs. I picked up a plush Kirby to purchase and found myself full-on crying. I stepped to the window, composed myself, and turned around to see Satoru Iwata’s legacy before my very eyes.
To my right, there were teenagers debating between which Zelda shirts to get. Beyond them were kids fascinated by the racks and racks of Pokemon cards. Towards the center of the floor, there was an amiibo showcase, where a boy was explaining to his father who each of the figures were. Beyond the amiibo were TVs, packed with people of all ages playing everything from Super Mario 64 to Smash Bros. for Wii U.
While Iwata didn’t have a hand in creating all the characters and games displayed at Nintendo World, he did touch many of them in some way, whether it be programming or producing. But what I feel is Iwata’s greatest legacy is the way he brought “Nintendo Fun” to the widest audience possible. Looking around Nintendo World, I saw not just “lifers” like myself, browsing the amiibo racks and checking out the Metroid shirts, but multiple younger, future generations who are just as passionate about these games and characters as us old souls with our Nintendo blogs and podcasts.
I can’t even begin to wrap my head around all that Mr. Iwata accomplished at Nintendo, from his humble programming beginnings to running the company. But what I can grasp is what I saw in Nintendo World on Wednesday. Yes, there was sorrow and mourning, but there was also joy in the present, and most importantly, hope for the future.
Rest In Peace, Mr. Iwata.