45
sayaws
98d

Satoru Iwata.

You might remember it as the former president of Nintendo, but he was also a very impressive programmer. As he was president of HAL Laboratories, he helped with the development of Pokémon Stadium for the Nintendo 64 by porting the Pokémon Red/Blue battle system not by having any sort of documentation, but by reading the assembly source code.

He did so to allow Game Freak's developers (who were only a team of 4 at the time) to focus on their work on Pokémon Gold/Silver. But he did more: when they had to localize Red/Blue for America, they couldn't fit everything in a cartridge. They had the same problem while developing Gold/Silver, since cartridges had at most 8 Mb of storage capacity back then, and they had to fit not only the Johto region but the Kanto one as well! So Iwata stepped in, and created a graphics compression tool which managed to make everything fit in the cartridges.

He did this while not even being part of Nintendo, and the work was so impressive that the Pokémon devs thought it was "a waste to just have [him] as president!" (ie. why not make use of such programming skills).

Truly someone I look up to.

Comments
  • 6
    Satoru Iwata is the kind of person I aspire to be, but I am too much of a misanthrope to ever be anything like him.
  • 3
  • 2
    I love learning about retro gameboy facts. I’d love to hear more if you have any :)
  • 8
    @bigOHNOtation oh, you asked the right person. I have plenty! For instance, you probably have heard that Mew, the 151th Pokémon, was a hidden Pokémon that doesn't normally appear in Pokémon Red/Blue? While he is mentioned in the lore as the origin Pokémon Mewtwo was cloned from, he was supposed to only be mentioned, and kept as a myth. The reason for his presence in the game is that when the development of the games were over, when the devs removed the debugging tools, they freed 300 bytes from the cartridge who was entirely full before. They decided to secretly put Mew in as a secret only known from Game Freak.

    However, due to some glitches, some users made Mew appear, and rumors started to spread. Nintendo, instead of trying to shut them down, decided to launch en entire event around Mew, with distributions where people could get their own Mew in-game. That's what, one year and a half after their release, made Pokémon reach the n°1 spot in weekly video game sales in Japan.
  • 5
    @sayaws The mew behind the truck myth, good times.
  • 2
    @sayaws soooo cool! I’m currently building a Gameboy Color emulator, I feel like I owe it to my child self to try and understand the machine that got me into technology :)
  • 2
    @bigOHNOtation working on an emulator is one of the projects I'd love to have if I had more free time, but I sure am interested in it! Do you have a GitHub page for it?
  • 2
    @sayaws currently early days with the emulator so no repo for it yet! It’s a super rewarding project though.

    If you ever get the time and want to collaborate on an emulator let me know I’d love to have more experience in that kind of thing :)
  • 1
    Unlike the soulless dumbass pieces of shit only seeing Pokémon as $$$ and gutting everything from it and pumping them out each year
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