Shigeru Miyamoto

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Shigeru Miyamoto
Shigeru Miyamoto at E3 2006.
Born November 16, 1952 (age 71)
Mario-related role(s) Game developer, game designer
“What if, on a crowded street, you look up and see something appear that should not, given what we know, be there. You either shake your head and dismiss it, or you accept that there is much more to the world than we think. Perhaps it really is a doorway to another place. If you choose to go inside you may find many unexpected things....”
Shigeru Miyamoto

Shigeru Miyamoto (his name in Japanese: 宮本 茂) (born November 16, 1952) is a video game developer best known for being the creator of several Nintendo-related franchises, namely Mario and The Legend of Zelda franchise. He rides his bike, or walks to work each day, usually with his wife, whom he met on the job (she was a general manager for his current occupation). He joined the industry as a designer for character art in 1977. He has worked on many famous Mario games and the well-known original version of Super Mario Bros. 2, Yume Kōjō: Doki Doki Panic.


Miyamoto and some Mario character plushies

In his early childhood, Miyamoto was raised in the small, rural town of Sonobe, Japan, which is near his current home of Kyoto, about ten blocks from Nintendo headquarters. 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 spent the summer spelunking.

Miyamoto wanted to make things that would astonish the world. In elementary school, he considered becoming a puppeteer, a painter, and later found interest in making toys. He also learned how to play the guitar and banjo. Miyamoto decided to study industrial design at Kanazawa Munici College of Industrial Arts and Crafts in 1970. Miyamoto only attended his classes half the time, and it took him five years to graduate.

Miyamoto was 24, and had shaggy hair when he had his father contact an old toy company friend, named Hiroshi Yamauchi. The company's name was Nintendo. Yamauchi requested to see some toy designs, to which Miyamoto responded by returning with a bag of goodies, and an amazing portfolio. Miyamoto became Nintendo's first staff artist in 1977.

Miyamoto holding a Mario figurine and wearing a Super Mario World t-shirt.

Three years later, in 1980, Nintendo of America was looking for a hit to establish themselves in the arcade market. They ordered a large number of units of an arcade game called Radar Scope, but by the time the machines arrived, the interest in the game had bombed. Nintendo needed a game that the machines could be converted into easily. Yamauchi called Miyamoto into his office, as he was the only staff member available at the time. He questioned Miyamoto about his knowledge on this new concept. Miyamoto claimed to have loved video games in college. After some licenses fell through, Donkey Kong was born and made a huge hit.

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, including Mario. While Miyamoto has mentioned that he finds it difficult to say who his favourite Nintendo character is, he states that some of his more beloved favourites include Mario, Princess Peach, Luigi, Bowser, Princess Zelda, Toad, Link, and Donkey Kong.[1] His favorite Mario game is Super Mario World for the SNES.[2] His favorite games for the NES is Baseball, Golf and Mario Bros..[3] Miyamoto's favorite non-Nintendo game is Angry Birds. [4]

Miyamoto at the 2007 Video Game Developers Conference.

Miyamoto starred in a Mega 64 sketch about New Super Mario Bros. [5] Despite being an influential figure in video games and responsible for multi-million dollar franchises, Miyamoto is said to be very humble, insisting on settling for an average income. Miyamoto is also ambidextrous. He favors his left hand and likes to make characters that are left-handed. For example, Bowser Jr. and Link are left-handed. He has also been referred to by Mario in the game Mario vs. Donkey Kong.

In early December of 2011, it was rumored that Miyamoto has announced his retirements. Thankfully, a few days later, the rumor was confirmed a fake. [6]

Awards and honors

Shigeru Miyamoto showing the New Super Mario Bros. Wii cover.
  • The first ever Inductee to the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences Hall of Fame
  • A star on the Walk of Game
  • French 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
  • The Spanish prize Príncipe de Asturias in Communication and Humanities.[7]
  • The 'Fellowship' award in the British Academy Video Game Awards.

Hand-drawn artwork


  • "Who knows how Mario will look like in the future. Maybe he'll wear metallic clothes!" - 1991
  • "Videogames are bad for you? That's what they said about rock 'n' roll."
  • "A delayed game is eventually good, a bad game is bad forever."
  • "My favorite video game character is not Mario, it's Pac-Man."
  • "A great idea can solve multiple problems at the same time."


  • Miyamoto did not attend his college classes half the time, causing him to stay a full five years.
  • Miyamoto is ambidextrous. He favors his left hand and likes to make characters that are left-handed. For example, Bowser Jr. and Link are left-handed.
  • Miyamoto can play both the guitar and banjo.
  • He starred in a Mega 64 sketch about New Super Mario Bros.
  • When Shigeru was in Elementary School, he wanted to be involved in puppet shows and wanted to be making puppets, designing sets, and writing stories for puppet shows.
  • Shigeru Miyamoto has been openly referred to by Mario in the game Mario Vs. Donkey Kong.
  • In Donkey Kong 64 level Frantic Factory there is a part of the level called R&D; this might be a reference to R&D 4.


External links