5 In-Game Tributes To Satoru Iwata

By Dale Bashir on Jul 11, 2018


“Video games are meant to be just one thing: fun. Fun for everyone” The late Satoru Iwata was truly an inspiration to gamers everywhere. His light-hearted spirit, dedication to video games as a medium, and strong work ethics has not only made him an icon in gaming, but brought Nintendo to a whole new level and changed the video games industry for the better.


Often touted as the Steve Jobs of video games, Satoru Iwata was a maverick, a coding legend, which without him some of our favorite Nintendo games like Super Smash Bros. Melee, Earthbound, and Pokemon Gold and Silver would have never seen the light of day. Today, July 11th marks the 3rd anniversary of his death. Here are 5 in-game tributes to the late Nintendo President before and since his passing:

  1. WarioWare series

Fun has always been the core of Satoru Iwata’s philosophy in games and nothing screams fun than the WarioWare series. While the games were made when Iwata first started his tenure as Nintendo CEO, two games had already featured Iwata in a cameo role.

The first WarioWare game on the Gameboy Advance, WarioWare, Inc.: Mega Microgame$, had the Nintendo President appear on Wario’s TV after playing the minigames, thanking the player for playing.

In WarioWare Smooth Moves for the Wii, he appears as Shop Keeper Iwata, selling Game and Watch to the character 18-Volt. WarioWare Gold will be releasing next month for the 3DS, and since it is a compilation of old minigames, expect Iwata’s cameo to make a return soon.

  1. Nintendo Switch Secret

What started out as a secret to everybody, was soon discovered by fans after the release of the Nintendo Switch. The Nintendo Switch was being developed as Satoru Iwata’s health began to fail and he spent the last few days of his life providing direction and input towards the Nintendo Switch’s success. He was adamant on making Nintendo’s new console a success.


He didn’t live to see the Switch become a success, but as a touching tribute, the folks at Nintendo hid a secret tribute to their beloved CEO. By setting the date to today, July 11th, and doing his famous Nintendo Direct gesture, an emulated version of the NES classic Golf can be played on the system. This is fitting as this was one of the first games he programmed by himself when he started his career. Sadly, this tribute has since been removed with a software update.

  1. Star Fox Zero

While Star Fox Zero didn’t quite live up to people’s expectations, due to its rethreaded story and forced motion controls, Satoru Iwata believed in it and really hoped it could be one of the Wii U’s greatest hits. He even appeared in puppet-form, alongside Nintendo of America CEO Reggie Fils-Aime and Mario creator Shigeru Miyamoto, in a promotional video during E3 to promote the  game.


Iwata passed away during the development of the game and as such, a tribute was made in the game, commending him for his time with Nintendo. The message reads "This game is dedicated to our wingman who fell in battle" and can be seen during the end credits after completing the game.

  1. Pokemon Ultra Sun and Moon

Some of these tributes require quite an amount of work to get, and this entry may be the hardest on this list. In Pokemon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon, players can find the Game Freak building in HeaHea City. Finding it can lead to players meeting in-game avatars of the game developers, with them offering tidbits on the game’s development.


If you happen to have a Pokemon from a Virtual Console version of Pokemon Gold or Silver in your party, an NPC will tell you a story about the history of Gold and Silver’s development and how Iwata himself found a way to fit all of the game’s content into the game cartridge. The NPC doesn’t mention Iwata by name, but it is a touching tribute by the Pokemon Company nonetheless.

1.The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild’s tribute is especially touching as there is technically two tributes to Satoru Iwata in the game, though they are both closely related. The first being an NPC named Botrick, found around Outskirt Stable in Hyrule Fields, a hard-to-miss area once you leave the Great Plateau.


Players can usually find him patrolling the lands or under a tree, selling arrows and talking about the mythical Lord of the Mountain. From a glance, fans can easily see that Botrick resembles Iwata a lot, from the parted, black hair to the glasses, this is a Hylian rendition of Satoru Iwata for sure.


Now, curious players that heed Botrick’s speech on the Lord of the Mountains, can actually go and seek out the mystical beast in the game, where they will be treated to yet another tribute to Iwata. On special nights, players can actually find the Lord of the Mountains, a glowing mystical steed by the name of Satori. The mountain where he can be found is actually called Satori Mountain. This pays tribute to Iwata as the Lord of Nintendo and a legend himself in the industry. This inspirational tribute can be missed very easily by most players, but it’s definitely worth the trek up Satori Mountain.


“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.” Satoru Iwata was a great man and will always be dearly missed by all of us here in Gamehubs and the greater gaming community around the world. If only he could have seen the success of Nintendo now, the Nintendo he spearheaded all those years ago. May he rest in peace and be forever remembered


Dale Bashir
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I just wanna play video games.
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