Hey everyone! Welcome to the Graveyard Shift, the nightly hang-out hosted by Kotaku’s reader-run blog, TAY. This is a place to talk about anything - your lives, your gaming habits, or whatever else you desire. Hop on in and join the discussion! When you’re done here, you could always go check out the articles over at TAY or TAYClassic! Or, if this is your first time at TAY, please check out this TAYtorial!

Hello everyone and welcome to the Tuesday Late Night Open Forum AKA The Graveyard Shift, I’ll be your host for the next couple of hours (unless I collapse before). If you were expecting a Satoru Iwata themed GS, then you just won a pancake breakfast/lunch/dinner made by yours truly~

(bacon not included)

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I remember when I finished EarthBound in 1999 and the credits rolled in, there were a couple of names that caught my attention: the first one was the writer, producer and director of the game, a man that goes by the name of Shigesato Itoi. The second name in the credits was a familiar name that stuck with me when I finished Kirby’s Dream Land 2, Satoru Iwata was one of the last names that appeared credited as co-producer.

Fun fact: the original team behind EarthBound was pretty terrible at creating games (this same team went on to create the Pokémon games). In fact this was one of the first times Iwata came to rescue a title that was in development hell:

Itoi: When the MOTHER 2 (EarthBound) project was about to fall apart, you came in to help, and this is what you said to us.

“It will take 2 years to fix this keeping what you have built up. If we start from scratch, it will take only a year. What do you say?”

Iwata: Yes, I remember. (laugh)

Itoi: We decided to start from scratch. You knew this was the best choice from the beginning though, didn’t you?

Iwata: If I were to choose the best way at that time, yes, I would’ve started from scratch. But I wasn’t in the project from the start, so I would’ve respected whatever decision you made. My task was to pull the project back together. Anyway, I think it was possible to do either way.

Itoi: You thought it was best to start from scratch, and still you would’ve have gone either way?

Iwata: It was important not to ruin the atmosphere of the project team. You can’t show up all of a sudden and destroy everything people have created until then. People aren’t persuaded by such ways. The positive atmosphere of the team is crucial in order to succeed. I decided it was best to present the team with suggestions, and have them take the pick.

Itoi: Now I understand.

When you joined the team the first thing you did was to make tools. There were huge problems left unsolved, but you didn’t touch them. It seemed to us you weren’t doing anything productive, but actually you were creating tools to solve those problems.

Iwata: Right.

Itoi (to the staffs): What he did was really interesting. He didn’t try to solve the problems one by one. He made a tool, and said to us “Here’s a tool that you all can use”, and assigned us which parts to build with that tool. Now that the tool was there, all we had to do was to get down to work.

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For years I kept these two names in my mind, since the internet back then wasn’t exactly the best place to look up a person that lived on the other side of the world. Itoi tried his best to produce a sequel for Earthbound, but the project kept getting delayed year after year. Iwata, on the other hand, disappeared until he was appointed president of Nintendo. I recall saying “Wow... the fool who worked on Kirby and EarthBound is the one who will lead Nintendo from now on? Oh well... this could be interesting. But honestly, what does he know about running a business?”

For tonight’s topics:

  • Let’s talk about your favorite Iwata-era game, and by that I mean: any game that was produced/programmed/supervised by Iwata himself.
  • What were your thoughts when Iwata was appointed president of Nintendo by the late Yamauchi?
  • Be honest... you want some pancakes, I can send you some for the low price of $10.99 + Shipping and Handling.
  • (Bacon not included)

As always, feel free to Talk Amongst Yourselves, specially if you are hungry like me (or you don’t like tonight’s topic as much as I thought you would)! It is the Graveyard Shift, after all. Don’t forget that the IRC Channel is always around for you to carry out discussions as well. If you wanted to give an admin, author, and/or friend/enemy a shout: You can find them on the DirecTAYry.

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Here have a couple of night jams~