"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."
With those words, Satoru Iwata kicked off one of the most memorable presentations in the history of the Game Developers Conference — a speech that now serves as one of the most potent reminders of what the world lost when the Nintendo president tragically died on Saturday.
This GDC keynote is peak Iwata. He gave it in March 2005, just after the Nintendo DS' initial release but before the Wii had been revealed to the world. As such, his revolutionary vision for expanding the world of video games was in place, but not quite yet a surefire success. "Even before we show them, I can tell you now that they may seem unusual because they are something different," he warned before demonstrating Nintendogs and Electroplankton, two DS titles unlike anything Nintendo had released before.
This keynote is peak Iwata
The rest of the talk takes you through Iwata's life, from the games he programmed on calculators as a high school student to the formation of HAL Laboratories and his eventual rise to the top of Nintendo, from where he started to question the future of the medium of video games. The speech is filled with observations on software, gaming, and technology that have proven to be extraordinarily prescient. It's funny, moving, and especially poignant today, and it's well worth watching now that the GDC organization has uploaded the full hour-long video.
"Even if we come from different sides of the world, speak different languages, even if we eat too many chips or rice balls, even if we have different tastes in games," Iwata finished, "every one of us here today is identical in the most important way: each one of us has the heart of a gamer."