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This year's DICE Lifetime Achievement award went to Genyo Takeda. Unlike many of his colleagues, his name has not become synonymous with the industry. This is especially surprising when you consider the fact that he designed two of Nintendo's biggest hardware hits, as well as the beloved NES game, Punch-Out.
As DICE is reporting, via Polygon, Takeda's absence from the spotlight was by choice. It sounds like he simply wanted to keep doing his job and not worry about the recognition. Similarly, he noted that engineers are typically looked over in the world of gaming and, as a result, he was accepting his DICE honor on behalf of his fellow engineers-- whether they were colleagues or craftsmen from competing platforms.
Genyo Takeda's recognition comes on the heels of a 2017 announcement that he would finally be retiring from an industry he had a big hand in building. As noted in the original report, his game development credits included Nintendo's very first arcade game, EVR Race, as well as the Nintendo Entertainment System's Punch-Out. The latter has gone on to see multiple sequels across various Nintendo platforms, and some would argue that ARMS on the Switch is its spiritual successor. The game itself has always been a big hit on Nintendo's various Virtual Consoles, and Little Mac has become something of a Nintendo mascot, even appearing in the latest Smash Bros.
That's already impressive, but Genyo Takeda's impact on gaming becomes even greater when you look at his career not as a game designer, but an engineer. He played a key role in the design of the Nintendo 64, as well as the controller that basically introduced analog sticks to gaming. He also designed the Wii, one of the biggest success stories in games history. The guy made gaming "cool" with entire families, including grandparents. That alone deserves some major recognition.
It's safe to say that the video games industry would not be where it is today without Genyo Takeda. This one guy has Nintendo's first arcade cabinet under his belt, along with a game that continues to draw fans more than 30 years after it first launched, as well as two of Nintendo's most important and successful consoles.
During his speech, it's noted that Takeda offered words of gratitude to his former Nintendo boss, Hiroshi Yamachi, for giving him the opportunity to begin what became a stellar career. He also noted the impact of lead game designer at Nintendo, Shigeru Miyamoto, and the late Satoru Iwata.
Coolest of all, though, was Takeda's final remark after accepting his DICE award. It's something we could see being the catchphrase of Nintendo in general. "Keep them smiling."