Shigeru Miyamoto, creator of such Nintendo games as Mario, Donkey Kong, and Zelda, has a hobby of guessing the measurements of objects, then checking to see if he was correct. He enjoys the hobby so much he carries a tape measure with him everywhere.
Shigeru Miyamoto (Japanese: 宮本 茂 Hepburn: Miyamoto Shigeru, pronounced [mijamoto ɕiɡeɾɯ]; born November 16, 1952) is a Japanese video game designer and producer for the video game company Nintendo, currently serving as one of its representative directors.
He is best known as the creator of some of the most critically acclaimed and best-selling video games and franchises of all time, such as Mario, The Legend of Zelda, Star Fox, F-Zero, Donkey Kong and Pikmin.
Miyamoto originally joined Nintendo in 1977, when the company was beginning its foray into video games and starting to abandon the playing cards it had made since 1889.
Miyamoto’s expeditions into the Kyoto countryside inspired his later work, particularly The Legend of Zelda, a seminal video game.
He meant to mirror the rivalry between comic characters Bluto and Popeye for the woman Olive Oyl, although Nintendo’s original intentions to gain rights to Popeye failed. Bluto evolved into an ape, a form Miyamoto claimed was “nothing too evil or repulsive”.:47 This ape would be the pet of the main character, “a funny, hang-loose kind of guy.”:47 Miyamoto also named “Beauty and the Beast” and the 1933 film King Kong as influences.:36 Donkey Kong marked the first time that the formulation of a video game’s storyline preceded the actual programming, rather than simply being appended as an afterthought.:38 Miyamoto had high hopes for his new project, but lacked the technical skills to program it himself; instead, he conceived the game’s concepts, then consulted technicians on whether they were possible.
Mario’s appearance in Donkey Kong—overalls, a hat, and a thick mustache—led Miyamoto to change aspects of the game to make Mario look like a plumber rather than a carpenter. Miyamoto felt that New York City provided the best setting for the game, with its “labyrinthine subterranean network of sewage pipes”.
As Nintendo released its first home video game console, the Family Computer (rereleased in North America as the Nintendo Entertainment System), Miyamoto made two of the most momentous titles for the console and in the history of video games as a whole: Super Mario Bros.
In both games, Miyamoto decided to focus more on gameplay than on high scores, unlike many games of the time. Super Mario Bros.
largely took a linear approach, with the player traversing the stage by running, jumping, and dodging or defeating enemies. By contrast, Miyamoto employed nonlinear gameplay in The Legend of Zelda, forcing the player to think their way through riddles and puzzles. The world was expansive and seemingly endless, offering “an array of choice and depth never seen before in a video game.” With The Legend of Zelda, Miyamoto sought to make an in-game world that players would identify with, a “miniature garden that they can put inside their drawer.” He drew his inspiration from his experiences as a boy around Kyoto, where he explored nearby fields, woods, and caves; each Zelda title embodies this sense of exploration. “When I was a child,” Miyamoto said, “I went hiking and found a lake.
When I traveled around the country without a map, trying to find my way, stumbling on amazing things as I went, I realized how it felt to go on an adventure like this.”:51 He recreated his memories of becoming lost amid the maze of sliding doors in his family home in Zelda’s labyrinthine dungeons.:52 In February 1986, Nintendo released the game as the launch title for the Nintendo Entertainment System’s new Disk System peripheral.
Miyamoto worked on various different games for the Nintendo Entertainment System, including Ice Climber, Kid Icarus, Excitebike, and Devil World.
2, released only in Japan at the time, reuses gameplay elements from Super Mario Bros., though the game is much more difficult than its predecessor.
They realized they already had one option in Yume Kojo: Doki Doki Panic (Dream Factory: Heart-Pounding Panic), also designed by Miyamoto. This game was reworked and released as Super Mario Bros.
3 was developed by Nintendo Entertainment Analysis & Development; the game took more than two years to complete. The game offers numerous modifications on the original Super Mario Bros., ranging from costumes with different abilities to new enemies. Bowser’s children were designed to be unique in appearance and personality; Miyamoto based the characters on seven of his programmers as a tribute to their work on the game. The Koopalings’ names were later altered to mimic names of well-known, Western musicians in the English localization. In a first for the Mario series, the player navigates via two game screens: an overworld map and a level playfield.
Nintendo EAD had approximately fifteen months to develop F-Zero, one of the launch titles for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. Miyamoto worked through various games on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System, one of them Star Fox. For the game, programmer Jez San convinced Nintendo to develop an upgrade for the Super Nintendo, allowing it to handle three-dimensional graphics better: the Super FX chip. Using this new hardware, Miyamoto and Katsuya Eguchi designed the Star Fox game with an early implementation of three-dimensional graphics.
Miyamoto also created The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System, the third entry in the series.
Miyamoto made several games for the Nintendo 64, mostly from his previous franchises.
His first game on the new system, and one of its launch titles, was Super Mario 64, for which he was the principal director.
Miyamoto and the other designers were initially unsure of which direction the game should take, and spent months to select an appropriate camera view and layout. The original concept involved a fixed path much like an isometric type game, before the choice was made to settle on a free-roaming 3D design. He guided the design of the Nintendo 64 controller in tandem with that of Super Mario 64.
Using what he had learned about the Nintendo 64 from developing Super Mario 64 and Star Fox 64, Miyamoto produced his next game, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, leading a team of several directors. Its engine was based on that of Super Mario 64 but was so heavily modified as to be a somewhat different engine.
However, when things progressed slower than expected, Miyamoto returned to the development team with a more central role assisted in public by interpreter Bill Trinen. The team was new to 3D games, but assistant director Makoto Miyanaga recalls a sense of “passion for creating something new and unprecedented”. Miyamoto went on to produce a sequel to Ocarina of Time, known as The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask.
He also produced the 3D game series Metroid Prime, after the original designer Yokoi, a friend and mentor of Miyamoto’s, died. In this time he developed Pikmin and its sequel Pikmin 2, based on his experiences gardening. He also worked on new games for the Star Fox, Donkey Kong, F-Zero, and The Legend of Zelda series on both the GameCube and the Game Boy Advance systems. With the help of Hideo Kojima, he guided the developers of Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes. He helped with many games on the Nintendo DS, including the remake of Super Mario 64, Super Mario 64 DS, and the new game Nintendogs, a new franchise based on his own experiences with dogs.
Miyamoto played a major role in the development of the Wii, a console that popularized motion control gaming, and its launch title Wii Sports, which helped show the capability of the new control scheme.
Miyamoto produced three major Mario titles for Wii from 2007 to 2010: Super Mario Galaxy, New Super Mario Bros.
Miyamoto served as a creative director on the 2017 game Super Mario Odyssey, as opposed to serving as one of its producers, and is credited as being a major influence on the game’s development.
The Daily Telegraph credited him with creating “some of the most innovative, ground breaking and successful work in his field.” Many of Miyamoto’s works have pioneered new video game concepts or refined existing ones.
Miyamoto’s games have also sold very well, becoming some of the best-selling games on Nintendo consoles and of all time.
Calling him one of the few “video-game auteurs,” The New Yorker credited Miyamoto’s role in creating the franchises that drove console sales, as well as designing the consoles themselves.
They described Miyamoto as Nintendo’s “guiding spirit, its meal ticket, and its playful public face,” noting that Nintendo might not exist without him. The Daily Telegraph similarly attributed Nintendo’s success to Miyamoto more than any other person. Next Generation listed him in their “75 Most Important People in the Games Industry of 1995”, elaborating that, “He’s the most successful game developer in history.
Miyamoto’s best known and most influential title, Super Mario Bros., “depending on your point of view, created an industry or resuscitated a comatose one.” The Daily Telegraph called it “a title that set the standard for all future videogames.” G4 noted its revolutionary gameplay as well as its role in “almost single-handedly” rescuing the video game industry. The title also popularized the side-scrolling genre of video games.
At the time of the release of Star Fox, the use of filled, three-dimensional polygons in a console game was very unusual, apart from a handful of earlier titles. Due to its success, Star Fox has become a Nintendo franchise, with five more games and numerous appearances by its characters in other Nintendo games such as the Super Smash Bros.
His game Super Mario 64 has made a lasting impression on the field of 3D game design, particularly notable for its use of a dynamic camera system and the implementation of its analog control. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time’s gameplay system introduced features such as a target lock system and context-sensitive buttons that have since become common elements in 3D adventure games.
The Wii, which Miyamoto played a major role in designing, is the first wireless motion-controlled video game console.
Games in Miyamoto’s The Legend of Zelda series have received outstanding critical acclaim.
A Link to the Past is a landmark title for Nintendo and is widely considered today to be one of the greatest video games of all time.
Super Mario 64 is acclaimed by many critics and fans as one of the greatest and most revolutionary video games of all time.
Miyamoto’s games have sold very well, becoming some of the best-selling games on Nintendo consoles and of all time.
Miyamoto’s Mario series is, by far, the best-selling video game franchise of all time, selling over 400 million units.
3’s appearance in the film The Wizard as a show-stealing element, and referred to the movie as a “90-minute commercial” for the game. Super Mario World was the best-selling game for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. Super Mario 64 was the best-selling Nintendo 64 game, and as of May 21, 2003, the game had sold eleven million copies. At the end of 2007, Guinness World Records reported sales of 11.8 million copies.
As of September 25, 2007, it was the seventh best-selling video game in the United States with six million copies sold. By June 2007, Super Mario 64 had become the second most popular title on Wii’s Virtual Console, behind Super Mario Bros. Super Mario Sunshine was the third best-selling video game for the Nintendo GameCube.
Super Mario Kart is the third best-selling video game for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System.
Mario Kart: Double Dash is the second best selling game for the GameCube, and Mario Kart Wii, which is the second best selling game for the Wii. Miyamoto produced Wii Sports, another of the best-selling games of all time and part of the Wii series.
On November 28, 2006, Miyamoto was featured in TIME Asia’s “60 Years of Asian Heroes”. He was later chosen as one of Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People of the Year in both 2007 and also in 2008, in which he topped the list with a total vote of 1,766,424. At the Game Developers Choice Awards, on March 7, 2007, Miyamoto received the Lifetime Achievement Award “for a career that spans the creation of Super Mario Bros.
and The Legend of Zelda, and Donkey Kong to the company’s recent revolutionary systems, Nintendo DS and Wii.” GameTrailers and IGN placed Miyamoto first on their lists for the “Top Ten Game Creators” and the “Top 100 Game Creators of All Time” respectively.
Miyamoto spends little time playing video games in his personal time, preferring to play the guitar, mandolin, and banjo. He avidly enjoys bluegrass music. He has a Shetland Sheepdog named Pikku that provided the inspiration for Nintendogs. He is also a semi-professional dog breeder. He has been quoted as stating, “Video games are bad for you?