Satoru Iwata’s untimely passing has left a scar in the heart of many a gamer, but the outpouring of love and remembrance the community has responded with is nothing short of moving. Perhaps one of the most interesting tributes to the late President of Nintendo is a hack of the NES classic Balloon Fight, wherein the playable character is Satoru Iwata himself.

Balloon Fight is one of the first games Iwata programmed in his early days with Nintendo, and as a result it has become a major theme in fan art and tributes responding to Iwata’s death. A fan named John Riggs, however, has decided to celebrate Iwata’s life by putting him in the actual game as its playable character. In this version of the game, Iwata flies around with Kirby-themed balloons, a reference to his leadership in creating the Kirby series, while his sprite is based on Lloyd from EarthBound Beginnings.

If you’d like to play a few rounds of Balloon Fight in memory of Satoru Iwata, you can download the ROM patch here. Do be aware, however, that the only legal way to apply the patch is to dump the Balloon Fight ROM from the NES cart to your computer by yourself, and to proceed from there.

Our Verdict


Colin McIsaac
I first played Donkey Kong Country before even turning three years old, and have since grown into an avid gamer and passionate Nintendo fan. I started working at Zelda Informer in August 2012, and helped found Gamnesia, which launched on February 1, 2013. Outside of the journalism game, I'm an invested musician who loves arranging music from video games and other media. If you care to follow my endeavors, you can check out my channel here: I was rummaging through some things a while back and found my first grade report card. My teacher said, "Oddly enough, Colin doesn't like to write unless it's about computers or computer-type games. In his journal he likes to write about what level he is on in 'Mario Land,' but he doesn't often write about much else." I was pretty amused, given where I am today. Also I have a dog, and he's a pretty cool guy. I don't care for elephants much. I suppose they're okay. You've read plenty now; carry on.


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