Review of Ask Iwata, a video game love letter through the memories, teachings and passions of Satoru Iwata

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“In my business card, I am a corporate president. In my mind, I am a video game developer. But in my heart, I am a gamer.” Satoru Iwata

Maybe there is no one exact formula that explains that fascinating phenomenon that we commonly know as nintendera magic. A pattern, a reference or a way of seeing and doing things that can be extrapolated to everything to infuse it with the genuine spirit of Nintendo video games and systems. Is it an abstract concept? Rather, in a way of seeing things. A vision personified in a person: Satoru Iwata. And, in the absence of a biography, the book Ask Iwata It manages to be that inspiring talk with a passionate video game genius.

To say that Iwata was the president of Nintendo, which is not exactly an understatement, would be an understatement. He was the soul of the company, an honest and consistent person, the heir to a legacy and enormous responsibility, the friend and laughing companion of Shigeru Miyamoto and above all, a true lover of video games. Someone who dedicated his life to understanding this phenomenon from every possible perspective and, in the process, managed to transform the industry from within and also the way of playing at every home.

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Interestingly, Iwata rarely spoke publicly about himself beyond illustrating with anecdotes the Iwata Asks, a section dedicated to humanizing the new games produced by Nintendo and remembering the most emblematic games of the Great N. An informal and entertaining space where he shared his own memories and experiences, establishing that Nintendo should not be a corporation, but a space in the that creatives and technicians share the same passion for video games and the constant effort to be better.

Satoru Iwata left this world on July 11, 2015. Your vision lives on. His way of understanding video games was immortalized in countless games, his hilarious digital events and his dealings with those who knew him. Precisely, this contagious passion found a new way to flourish: the newspaper Hobo Nikkan Itoi Shinbun (Hobonichi) was one of the media closest to Iwata due to his friendship with Shigesato Itoi, their Editor-in-Chief, with which they especially felt the emptiness of their loss. Enough to give him one of the best tributes ever made: Ask Iwata.

Ask Iwata: an inspiring journey into a genuine passion for video games

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The title of the book, Ask Iwata, it’s so simple to understand – it’s a total twist on your talk show Iwata Asks in which, by compiling and chronologically ordering articles, interviews and reflections, it seeks to offer the complete vision of who Iwata was, what he was passionate about and how he came to internalize that philosophy that today we define so abstractly as magic nintendera. And, despite being a tribute to a very specific person, in the process it is given to the reader a true love letter to videogames.

The Spanish edition of Ask Iwata: These were the wise words of Satoru Iwata the legendary CEO of Nintendo, are almost 200 pages of memories, anecdotes and interviews that are enjoyed in a very pleasant way. Knowing how to give their deserved space and value to the most important phrases; lessons learned in the most delicate moments and, when it touches, also managing to convey the humor and humanity of one of the most important and influential presidents in the history of video games. And despite that responsibility, a figure that was always humble and close. Sometimes even an accomplice of the player himself.

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Because Iwata’s story in video games didn’t start the day he joined the newly founded HAL Laboratories part-time as its sole programmer (in fact, he must have been his own supervisor himself), but the day he found himself a Hewlett Packard calculator on the way to class that changed his life. A bit of hardware that obsessed him and started experimenting with creating games for his seatmate. There would be born a restlessness and curiosity that will accompany him throughout his life.

Spinning and organizing articles written by Satoru Iwata himself and excerpts from his interviews, Hobonichi’s book goes beyond the traditional format of biographies to offer us Iwata’s thoughts, reflections and ideals from his inception to his rise as president of Nintendo; dividing the work into seven chapters that, although they can be read in two afternoons in a relaxed way, constantly invite to be reread.

Seven chapters, of course, although not all of them bear Iwata’s signature: other personalities like himself Shigeru Miyamoto They have also wanted to remember and join in the tribute. After all, for Miyamoto, Iwata was not a corporate boss, but a laughing partner, someone he deeply admired and most of all, a friend. A unique chemistry that was evident in each video game and crossed the screen in its hilarious digital events.

Logically, throughout the book we are not only offered a complete and coherent vision of the creative aspect or the way of thinking of Iwata, but also a candid view of a Nintendo that went through several crises. Which were drawn based on creativity, excellence and, from time to time, very tangible magic: Under Iwata’s leadership, counter-current revolutions were born within the video game industry. like the Nintendo DS and its Touch Generations or the Wii phenomenon and motion controls.

Beyond the biographical aspect of the book, spread over the pages of Ask Iwata we will find items like First, create the platform and gaming experience, The fear of staying the same course The Even if the idea seems impossible, give it a try They are and should be a must read for any developer and creative. Even beyond the video game. Words that are born from unique moments and situations within Nintendo, but that can be taken to practically any circumstance with the right approach.

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After all, Iwata never stopped learning about this passion in life. Studying and receiving lessons from the best, from those he admired and from those who ended up being his friends. Like Shigeru Miyamoto or Masahiro Sakurai, with whom he had the crazy idea of ​​making Smash Bros. Being, precisely Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, Sakurai’s definitive effort to pay tribute to the height of his friend.

The book Iwata Asks it refuses to be a mere biography of the figure of Satoru Iwata or an encyclopedic compendium of his achievements and milestones. Instead, it allows us to understand the person at different stages of their life through their words. And, in the process, seeks to pass on his legacy and vision to a new generation of passionate about videogames. Achieving a reading as entertaining as it is illustrative, a beautiful tribute to those who shared his philosophy and. why not? too a bit of pure nintendera magic.

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VidaExtra’s opinion

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Ask Iwata: These were the wise words of Satoru Iwata It is one of those readings that strongly penetrates the passionate about video games. A different look at the company that made entire generations fall in love with this passion, and a set of reflections that help us better understand what makes Nintendo different from everything else. A tribute that goes beyond the honoree himself and it humanizes that president of a large corporation who, under that suit, was also one of us, the players.

The Planeta Cómic edition of Ask Iwata It is as simple and enjoyable as the Japanese original. Its 194 pages can be enjoyed in small sips, although surely the most unconditional of the company will end up devouring it in an afternoon. Of course, it is that kind of book that should be kept close, both to find inspiration and to recover quotes and thoughts that not only cannot be lost, but should serve as a foundation for everything that is to come.

Of course, it is also a fascinating collection of hilarious anecdotes and memories very conveniently distributed. Learning that Iwata was affectionately nicknamed Kirby in his company for his way of wiping out all the candy and sweets in his path makes the myth overflow with humanity and arouse a new kind of admiration.

And it is that, perhaps, the call nintendera magic is an almost inexplicable phenomenon but, in the absence of a mathematical formula that makes us understand it better, the great milestone of Ask Iwata: These were the wise words of Satoru Iwata It is his way of transmitting that whole set of ideas and philosophies to a whole new generation. To delegate the flame and the legacy of Satoru Iwata to those who are passionate about video games of today and tomorrow.

Ask Iwata (Manga Seinen)

Card of Ask Iwata: These were the wise words of Satoru Iwata (2021)

  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 8413425948
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-8413425948
  • Editorial: Comic Planet (Spain) Hobonichi (Japan)
  • Authors: Satoru Iwata and various authors / Blanca Mira (translation)
  • Number of pages: 194 pp
  • Size: 14 x 1.8 x 22.5 cm
  • Format: Volume in soft cover with flaps (Spanish Ed.)
  • Interior: Black and white

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