HAL Laboratory’s Satoshi Mitsuhara Remembers His Close Friend, Satoru Iwata

Satoru Iwata GDC 2011 Photo

Before he joined Nintendo, HAL Laboratory had hired the, still sadly missed, Satoru Iwata as a programmer in 1982 once he had graduated from university.

Iwata had been the developer’s fifth employee and only programmer at the time, and now, in an interview with Forbes, current HAL Laboratory president Satoshi Mitsuhara has remembered his “very close friend.”

Mitsuhara, who joined the developer as a programmer in 1990, has spoken about how he remembers Iwata as “a very serious and honest person,” and that they would play Daytona USA twice in the arcades once every week.

“Satoru Iwata was a very straight person. Never tried to cheat or have any kind of intent to do that at all. Even when other people were cheating or doing something underhand, he never used that as a reason to do likewise,” Mitsuhara explained.

“At work, he was also a very serious and honest person, that sincerity and honesty made the company very pleasant. He also had a big capacity for things, he could take on a lot. We were very close friends.

“One time, when we were extremely busy on MOTHER2 for Super Famicom we often went out together for dinner after work. On our way home from dinner, we used to go to the arcades and play Daytona USA exactly twice. Always twice and leave. I reckoned we did that every week. It was really like work hard and play hard.”

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After starting out with a Yellow Game Boy and a copy of Donkey Kong Land, Alex once hid in his room to play The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time one Christmas. Now he shares his thoughts on Nintendo Insider, keeping track of everything to do with Nintendo.

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