The creator of Mario and Zelda has revealed the depth of his friendship with the former head of Nintendo and how he still misses him.
The death of Satoru Iwata in 2015 was greeted with great sadness by colleagues, fans, and the entire games industry at large but a new book has revealed just how close Shigeru Miyamoto was to his former boss.
It’s not clear whether the book Iwata-san will be released in the West, but IGN has translated a few passages and it gives a very human insight into Nintendo’s inner workings and its most senior staff.
‘To me, he was a friend more than anything,’ says Miyamoto. ‘It never felt like he was my boss or that I was working under him. He never got angry; we never fought about anything.’
Despite Iwata being seven years younger Miyamoto never resented him becoming president and in fact maintained a tradition from when they’d first met years previously, where the two would go out for noodles on a Monday night.
‘Nintendo doesn’t pay for social expenses, so we had to go Dutch on the bill,’ says Miyamoto of the first encounter – going Dutch meaning that they split the bill. ‘That became a tradition that lasted even after he became company president and I became an executive.’
‘Since he passed away, Nintendo has been doing just fine,’ says Miyamoto. ‘He left many words and structures that live on in the work of our younger employees today. The only problem is that, if there is some good-for-nothing idea I come up with over the weekend, I have no one to share it with the next Monday. That I can no longer hear him say ‘Oh, about that thing…’ is a bit of a problem for me. It makes me sad.’
‘Iwata said that the vision behind his business was to make everyone happy: himself, his friends at work, and his customers,’ says EarthBound creator Shigesato Itoi, who is also interviewed for the book.
‘He used the English word for ‘happy’ instead of the Japanese word, which charmed me. It’s funny how you remember the most insignificant things, but whenever Iwata used the word ‘happy,’ he would show you the palms of both of his hands. That’s something I don’t think I’ll ever forget.’
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