The Nintendo president - who sadly passed away at the weekend, aged just 55 - always seemed to get what it was that was important about gaming: the games themselves. Not the technology. Not the license. Not the story. But how the games played, and who played them.
From his days in development, to pulling HAL Laboratory from the brink of bankruptcy, to his 13 years as Nintendo's president, he remained one of us, someone with an undying passion for games. He told a packed crowd at the 2005 Game Developers Conference: "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."
He steered the Nintendo DS and Wii to globe-conquering heights, and though the 3DS and Wii U may have encountered occasionally choppy waters, he remained steadfast in the face of prevailing trends. He never once betrayed what his company stood for, even when announcing a move towards mobile products.
He knew that Nintendo worked best when making games for everyone.
That was the genius of Nintendo during the Iwata era. It was always a family-targeted company, but under his watch Nintendo became more accessible than ever. The real key to the success of the Nintendo DS was how its control scheme made games more instinctive - excluding nobody.
When the Wii was first announced most of us mocked the name, mocked the low specs, and mocked the control scheme. How wrong we were all proved that first Christmas after release, when everyone played it - young, old, hardcore, casual - Wii Sports replacing the traditional Boxing Day board game marathon in countless households.
The games Nintendo released while Iwata was president were broad and colourful, yet often deceptive in their depth. They were meant to be enjoyed as pieces of entertainment, open to the whole world, a celebration of gaming that put sheer joy over trying to be cool or edgy. Iwata's Nintendo felt utterly un-cynical.
Speaking at the GDC in 2006, he said: "Above all, video games are meant to be just one thing: fun. Fun for everyone."
And it seems that ethos extended to how he ran the company - taking pay cuts (and pressuring his fellow executives to do the same), and refusing to lay off staff, when things got tough. Above all else, he seemed to be a genuinely decent bloke, who did right by his employees and his customers.
And that seems as good a legacy as any. RIP, Satoru Iwata.