There's something solemn in the realization that game development has reached as era where its greatest founders are leaving their legacies behind in various ways. Today, news broke that Nintendo's Takehiro Izushi, who helped develop and produce most of the company's games throughout his 43-year-long career, has officially retired. The 65 year old video game legend most recently served as part of the company's General Affairs staff, having previously served as the R&D1 General Manager.
This guy, Izushi, who just retired from Nintendo at age 65, worked on pretty much every game and watch, he’s also the first Japanese person I ever met back in 1990, best guy in the world! pic.twitter.com/7O3G2SHYts— Dylan (@dylancuthbert) February 9, 2018
Izushi's work goes as far back as 1975, when he first worked as an engineer on Beam Gun Custom. He quickly fell into game development, working on a line of Color Game TV titles through 1978. By 1982, Izushi was programming Donkey Kong for Game & Watch. Izushi had his hand in some of Nintendo's greatest milestones, including producing the Game Boy Camera, several different Pokemon titles (including the international release of Red & Blue), Star Wars Episode 1: Racer, more than enough of the Fire Emblem series, and other more recent games like Metroid: Zero Mission. In 2014, Izushi stepped away from game development to serve on Nintendo's General Affairs team.
During a Club Nintendo interview with the late Satoru Iwata (as well as Makoto Kano and Masao Yamamoto), Izushi spoke about his experiences, and even joked about the odd conditions the team worked under to make the legendary games that they created.
Izushi: It was our role to hide under a big box and play the game.
Iwata: You played the game under a box? (laughs)
Izushi Yes. We hid under a box and played the game, which was connected by a cable. The top of the box was lit up and a Game & Watch system was there, so it looked like the celebrity star of the commercial was playing it. The shoot lasted a long time. I remember how everything seemed so bright when I came out of the box!
Izushi: It was quite a valuable experience, though.
Thanks for all of your ideas and hard work, Mr. Izushi. Best wishes on your retirement.