Shigeru Miyamoto

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Shigeru Miyamoto
Date of Birth: November 16, 1952
Home Town: Sonebe, Japan
Occupation: General Manager
Bestselling Game: Super Mario Bros.
Development Teams
Nintendo EAD - R&D 1
Key Franchises
Animal Crossing - F-Zero - Mario
Pikmin - Star Fox - The Legend of Zelda

Shigeru Miyamoto is the most prolific game designer in the industry. Often called the "Steven Spielberg of Gaming," he is the mind behind many of Nintendo's most popular franchises. Currently, he is the general manager of Nintendo EAD.

Contents

Biography

Miyamoto was born and raised in the small, rural town of Sonobe, Japan. His home lacked a television, so he would spend a large amount of his time exploring the surrounding countryside. One time, he discovered a large series of caves. He returned with a lantern and spend the summer spelunking.

Miyamoto wanted to make things that would astonish the world. He considered becoming a puppeteer, a painter, and later made toys. He decided to study industrial design at Kanazawa Munici College of Industrial Arts and Crafts in 1970. He only attended class half the time, so it took him five years to graduate.

In 1977, Miyamoto made contact with Hiroshi Yamauchi through his father. Nintendo was a toy company at the time. Yamauchi asked Miyamoto to return with toy ideas and his portfolio. After looking through them, Yamauchi hired Miyamoto as Nintendo's first staff artist.

In 1980, Yamauchi told Miyamoto that he wanted a videogame made and asked if Miyamoto knew much about them. Miyamoto responded by saying that he liked playing them in college and would like to work on the project. After the license for Popeye fell through, the game became Donkey Kong.

With Donkey Kong's success, Miyamoto was given his own team: R&D 4, later known as Nintendo EAD. They would go on to make some of Nintendo's most memorable games.

While working at Nintendo, Miyamoto meet Yasuko, who worked in general administration. They dated and eventually were married. After they married, they bought a house near Nintendo so they could walk or ride a bike to work each day. They currently have two children.

Design Philosophy

Shigeru Miyamoto is known for his innovation, but the most important part of his philosophy is his dedication to quality. He will delay a game that he doesn't think is as good as it should be. Sometimes, he'll tell a team to remake a feature from scratch. This is known as "Upending the tea table" in Nintendo's offices.

Miyamoto also designs from things he experiences in real life. The Legend of Zelda was inspired by his childhood wanderings. The Mario enemy Chain Chomp was a result of being attacked by a dog as a child. Nintendogs was inspired by getting a dog and Pikmin was inspired by gardening.

Awards and Honors

  • Inductee to the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences Hall of Fame
  • A star on The Walk of Game
  • Order of Arts and Literature
  • Featured in Time Asia's "60 Years of Asian Heroes"
  • GDC's Lifetime Achievement Award
  • Subject of an episode of Icons
  • Named the second most influential person of 2007 by Time magazine

Trivia

  • Miyamoto is ambidextrous, but favors his left hand. He prefers to make his characters left handed.
  • Miyamoto plays both guitar and banjo.
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