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It’s difficult to believe, but it’s been seven years since we lost gaming icon Satoru Iwata. The former president and CEO of Nintendo left an incredible legacy in the world of video games, from his work on Super Smash Bros., to that time he halved his salary in order to avoid laying off employees. However, his biggest contribution to gaming (for many of us) was the inclusion of the Kanto Region in Pokémon Gold, Silver and Crystal.
The story goes, Game Freak hit a wall while working on the second generation of Pokémon titles. While attempting to include the Kanto region alongside the new land of Johto, the developers were struggling to fit the original area on the Game Boy cartridge. Not one to give up on a good thing, Iwata personally intervened in the process.
See the trailer for the upcoming Pokémon Scarlet and Violet here:
The veteran game creator built new compression tools which allowed Game Freak to basically double the size of the in-game world. This technological breakthrough amazed Iwata’s fellow developers, and provided adequate room to add two regions.
This master stroke gave players one of the most immense features of any Pokémon game to this day. It can even be argued that the inclusion of Kanto in Pokémon GSC was a landmark moment in the franchise, playing a huge part in the impact the series had on gamers.
After producing this incredible feat, all Iwata had to say on the matter was “I was willing to do whatever I could!”, and that really says it all. Satoru Iwata almost single-handedly took the Pokémon franchise to a new level but stayed humble. This hard-working, talented, skillful human being never lost sight of the bigger picture, and that vision helped make Pokémon the phenomenon it is today.
Achievements like this are part of why Iwata is so fondly remembered, and why easter eggs exist to honour him, appearing in games like The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Pokémon Ultra Sun/Moon. He left a mark on the games industry like no other, securing his place as possibly the most iconic Nintendo CEO of all time.
Seven years after his passing, Satoru Iwata’s legacy still shines bright. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to play through Pokémon Silver again.
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