It was about a week and a half ago that RGN had to report the sad news that Nintendo President Satoru Iwata had passed away. In that original report, I had made the statement: “I can guarantee that everyone that loves video games, whether they be current or retro, has had a chance to experience some of Iwata’s legacy, which will certainly go on for many years to come. I don’t know about you, but I will take this tragedy as a way to celebrate his life, and his passion for video games.” It didn’t take long for his legacy to literally become a part of his own programming, as a brand new NES hack of “Balloon Fight” has been created, which incorporates Iwata’s likeness. What better way to celebrate his legacy?


Becoming a popular face and a favorite with Nintendo fans all over the world with his “Nintendo Direct” programs, Iwata was forced to pass on the recent E3 convention, for he had recently undergone surgery to remove a cancerous growth in his bile duct. Shortly after the surgery, he had posted on Twitter that he had been “progressing well”, however sadly, Nintendo made the official announcement of his passing at the age of 55 the weekend before last.


“Balloon Fight” was one of the first games that Iwata had programmed for the original NES. Originally released in January of 1985 in Japan (and coming to the states in August of 1986), the player controls the unnamed Balloon Fighter with two balloons attached to his helmet. Repeatedly pressing the A button or holding down the B button causes the Balloon Fighter to flap his arms and rise into the air. If a balloon is popped, the player’s flotation is decreased, making it harder to rise. A life is lost if both balloons are popped by enemy Balloon Fighters, if the player falls in the water, gets eaten by the large piranha near the surface of the water, or is hit by lightning. This new hack of the title incorporates Satoru Iwata as the games main protagonist.


The hack was created by John Riggs, which ultimately incorporates three games that Iwata was associated with. Using some altered sprites from Earthbound, the games main character resembled Iwata enough to make it a believable incorporation into the new hack. In addition, the balloons have also been altered to represent the shape of Kirby, which is a reminder of Iwata’s time at HAL Laboratory.


Those that would like to take a look at this new NES hack to honor this Nintendo great, will be able to by downloading a patch, and applying it to an NES ROM image of Balloon Fight, legally obtained, of course. For those that have played with thee types of hacks before, it functions in exactly the same fashion. Riggs has a very interesting request on this video, in which he quickly talks about having the game released on physical cartridge: “Please don’t ask someone to make you a repro on a cart as it would be in ill-taste to make a profit on someone’s death.” You couldn’t have said it any better than that. Those wanting to have a copy of the game on physical cartridge however, can do so by asking Riggs directly. If you decide to do this however, he states that he will donate all of the money to Extra Life, a charity that helps children’s hospitals with a video game twist.

Source: Retro Collect