The Famicom board in the picture above may not look like much, but according to Frank Cifaldi this board may hold the first ever code the late Satoru Iwata wrote for the company he would later guide through one of its most successful eras.
Satoru Iwata was taken from the video game community far too early, but during the fifty-five years he was alive he was an enormous influence in his field of work. One of his first projects for Nintendo was the coding of a small game called Joust for the Famicom. The result of a Nintendo and Atari deal that never came to fruition, Joust was aiming for a 1984 release, but it wasn’t until HAL Laboratory self-published it in 1987 did it make its way to store shelves.
In his explanation of the game’s history and significance, Frank notes that the board may be historical for another reason: It’s possibly the “only known prototype of an unreleased first-party Nintendo game…” He adds, “It’s uh, pretty neat!”
It is indeed neat, and something of a treat, that a piece of Iwata’s legacy has been unearthed little more than a year after his passing. Fortunately, Joust is in good hands with Frank, who seeks out and preserves lost games for future generations. By saving this Famicom board, Frank is also preserving a piece of Iwata himself.