Countdown to E3

Getting to Know Miyamoto

One week remains until Nintendo’s E3 2011 press conference. Of the Triforce of presenters, so far we’ve introduced you to two of them. There was the big boss Iwata – who you could think of as the father in the trinity of Nintendo figureheads. There’s the rebellious kick-ass son Reggie, and then there’s today’s feature.

Today we introduce you to Mr. Shigeru Miyamoto, who is befittingly the “Holy Spirit” of video games. This man is one of, although personally I’d say by far, the most respected person in all of gaming. He permeates right throughout the industry, having personally created industry giants like Mario, The Legend of Zelda and Donkey Kong. There is no better word for Miyamoto than legend. Feel free to be amazed that this man has accomplished so much in one lifetime. Reducing all of his work into this article really doesn’t do it all justice, but it will let you know just how amazing Miyamoto is.

Shigeru Miyamoto as Link

Quick Facts

  • Name: Shigeru Miyamoto
  • Position: Entertainment Analysis and Development (EAD) General Manager
  • DOB: November 16, 1952

Life Before Nintendo

Shigeru Miyamoto was born in Sonobe, Kyoto, Japan in 1952. As a child, he spent a lot of time exploring the forests, caves and environment around his home. Miyamoto went on to graduate from Kanazawa Municipal College of Industrial Arts, but had not set his sights on any particular career, and didn’t have a job lined up. Due to his love for manga, he considered becoming a manga artist. Becoming a game designer is something that hadn’t crossed his mind, but that’s exactly where he ended up.

Miyamoto hasn’t ever been a “gamer” at heart, with his biggest hobby being mostly playing music on guitar, mandolin and banjo. He is actually also a semi-professional dog breeder, with his Shetland Sheepdog Pikku being the inspiration for him later creating Nintendogs. Miyamoto has said that he has a bit of a fetish for guessing the measurements of objects, and then seeing how close he was. That’s why he always carries a tape measure with him. He is married to Yasuko Miyamoto, and has two children.

Life at Nintendo

Miyamoto found himself with a job at Nintendo at the same time the company begun to branch out into the video game market in the late 70s. He helped to develop some arcade games such as Sheriff and Radar Scope. However, Nintendo was struggling. They were on the verge of financial collapse, but Miyamoto helped to save the day by creating the arcade gaming hit: Donkey Kong.

With no technical experience, Miyamoto conceptualized the game, with others actually creating it. It was revolutionary as the first time in history where the story and concept was made before the actual game itself. Despite many saying the game would be impossible to create, and many saying it was too difficult to play, the game was a massive success.

From there Miyamoto went on to conceptualize and create more Donkey Kong titles, ExciteBike and Devil World. Eventually he took his “Jumpman” character from Donkey Kong and turned him into Mario, gave him a brother in Luigi, and gave them their own game – Super Mario Bros.

After the massive success of Mario Bros. Miyamoto really became on fire as the 80s rolled on. He created Ice Climber, Kid Icarus, Super Mario Bros., and of course, The Legend of Zelda. The game was based on his childhood adventures in the forests around his home. Miyamoto wanted things to be different. He made his games about the gamplay, and not just about highscores. Zelda took gaming to an open world and away from the linear style. It added the concept of saving. When all of this hit along with the release of the NES, Miyamoto again achieved massive success.

From there, things really took off. Along came Super Mario Bros. 2 and 3, and Zelda II. The worlds become more complex. Zelda took a dramatic turn away from the original. Mario Bros. welcomed Bowser’s children and new enemies like Goombas.

In 1990, Nintendo reorganized it’s structure, creating their Entertainment Analysis and Development (EAD) branch, of which Miyamoto heads to this day. With the SNES coming soon after, Miyamoto headed up the creation of Star Fox and F-Zero. When the Nintendo 64 started development soon after, Miyamoto begun to really shine. He worked on the classic Super Mario 64, and then Ocarina of Time – two of the greatest games ever.

It was at this time that he started to become more of a public figure, traveling around with Bill Trinen at his side as an interpreter. He continued to work on 64 projects later into 90s; including Mario Kart, Mario Party and Star Fox 64. During his work on Ocarina of Time he became close to the dungeon designer, Eiji Aonuma – who would later lead the development of Majora’s Mask and take the lead of the team that develops The Legend of Zelda series. (We unfortunately won’t be featuring Aonuma in this series because he doesn’t present at E3).

As the Nintendo GameCube came around, Miyamoto continued to provide gems – working on Luigi’s Mansion, Metroid Prime, and creating the Pikmin series. He also worked on Game Boy Advance and DS titles, such as Nintendogs, all of the Zelda titles, Super Mario 64 DS, and all of his series like Donkey Kong and F-Zero.

Along with the Wii revolution Miyamoto worked on Twilight Princess, and created the Wii series: Wii Sports, Wii Fit, Wii Music (due to his love of music), Wii Play, and so on. He also worked on the two Zelda titles on the Nintendo DS, and two more of the greatest game’s ever – the Mario Galaxy duo, and also New Super Mario Bros. Wii.

Currently, Miyamoto is working on a number of projects. There’s Pikmin 3, Skyward Sword and Super Mario on the 3DS. All three of these titles should be featured at E3 this year. We can be sure that Miyamoto will have plenty to say about Skyward Sword, so look out for him on-stage with his buddy Bill Trinen.

So there you have it. A very brief recap of a stellar career. Miyamoto has become the most acclaimed, respected and awarded man in video games, yet he has never been a technical man. Just the ideas and concepts guy. It’s amazing what this man has done in less than 60 years. Check out this list of all the games created by Miyamoto and be amazed. I’m looking forward to seeing him at E3 this year. I support Shigeru Miyamoto.

Miyamoto Signature


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