Iwata’s programming skills averted Super Smash Bros. Melee launch delay

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Nintendo’s Satoru Iwata has revealed how he helped prevent the company from having to delay Super Smash Bros. Melee’s launch, after it became apparent that they were running behind schedule.

In looking to help avert such situation, he travelled to HAL Laboratory where he spent three weeks meticulously working through the game’s code to address bugs that had been reported.

His discussion came as part of a broader interview with 4Gamer.net (translated by StreetsAhead via NeoGAF), where he touched on his favourite games, industry trends, and what it’s like to be company president.

“Ah, I wonder if it’s alright to admit this?” Iwata began. “Well, I guess the proverbial statute of limitations is up, so I’ll tell you, but my actual last work on programming happened when I was working as the General Manager of Corporate Planning at Nintendo.

“Something happened and the GameCube version of Super Smash Bros. didn’t look like it was going to make its release date, so I sort of did a code review for it. [Wry Laugh]”

He continued, “At the time, I went to HAL Laboratory in Yamanashi and was the acting head of debugging. So, I did the code review, fixed some bugs, read the code and fixed more bugs, read the long bug report from Nintendo, figured out where the problem was and got people to fix those… all in all I spent about three weeks like that. And, because of that, the game made it out on time.

“And that was the last time that I worked as an engineer ‘in the field’. I was right there, sitting by programmers, in the trenches, reading code together, finding the bugs, and fixing them together.”

Written by
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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