Codex Gamicus
Shigeru Miyamoto
Shigeru miyamoto.jpg
Biographical Information
Game designer and game producer
Date of Birth
November 16, 1952
Featured in...
The Legend of Zelda (series)
Mario (franchise)

Shigeru Miyamoto is a Japanese video game designer in affiliation with Nintendo. He designed such influential videogames such as the Mario Brothers series, The Legend of Zelda series, and Donkey Kong. Because of his contributions to the gaming community, he has achieved somewhat of a cult following among those who have witnessed his work. He was inducted to the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences' Hall of Fame in 1998.

It appears as if every time he designs a game, it has something to do with his mundane real life hobbies such as: his love of gardening (Pikmin), his professional dog breeding (Nintendogs), and his strange fascination with backpacks(Luigi's Mansion, Super Mario Sunshine). He has also supervised many titles published by Nintendo on behalf of other developers, including Metroid Prime and Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games.

Miyamoto is a world-renowned game designer, and has been called the "father of modern video games" and "the Walt Disney of electronic gaming".[1] Video games designed by him typically feature refined control-mechanics, intuitive gameplay, simple story lines, and imaginative worlds in which the players are encouraged to discover things by themselves.

Employed by Nintendo as an artist in 1977, he was given the task of working on one of their first coin-operated arcade games. The resulting title was Radar Scope,[2] which was not as successful in the United States as Nintendo had hoped. Miyamoto later reused the game's hardware and modified it into Donkey Kong, which was a huge success as well as a turning point in video game history. The game's lead character, Mario (then called Jumpman), became an easily recognizable video game character and Nintendo's mascot. Miyamoto quickly became Nintendo's star producer, designing many franchises for the company, most of which are still active.


Early life[]

Miyamoto was born in Sonobe (now Nantan), Kyoto, Japan. He is the second child of Iijake Miyamoto and Hinako Aruha. As a young boy, Miyamoto loved to draw, paint pictures and explore the area surrounding his house. Stories describe his boyhood discovery of hidden caves, lakes and other natural features near his home which were linked to his later work. The Legend of Zelda, in particular, took inspiration from his childhood exploration.[3] As a child, Miyamoto was menaced by a neighbor's dog - kept at bay by a chain attached to a post - inspiring the Chain Chomp enemy from the Mario series.[4] In 1970, he enrolled in the Kanazawa College of Art and graduated five years later — though he later remarked that his studies often took a backseat to drawing. Miyamoto was said to have had an eclectic taste in music for his age, being interested in such groups as the Lovin' Spoonful, the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, the Ramones and The Beatles.[citation needed]


In 1977, having completed a degree in industrial design, Miyamoto arranged a meeting with his father's friend Hiroshi Yamauchi, head of Nintendo of Japan. Yamauchi hired Miyamoto as a "staff artist" and assigned him to the planning department.

In 1980, the fairly new Nintendo of America was looking for a hit to establish itself as a player in the growing arcade market. After successful location tests using prototypes, then-NoA CEO Minoru Arakawa ordered a very large number of units of the arcade game Radar Scope. However, by the time the arcade machines could be produced and shipped to the U.S., interest had evaporated, and the game flopped. To stay afloat and clear the costly inventory of Radar Scope, Nintendo of America desperately needed a smash-hit game that the unsold machines could be converted to play. Yamauchi assigned Miyamoto the task of creating the required game.

Miyamoto consulted with some of the company's engineers, composed the music on a small electronic keyboard, and created Donkey Kong. When the game was complete, the chips containing the new program were rushed to the U.S. and Nintendo employees worked around the clock converting the Radar Scope machines. It was fortunate that Nintendo had so many units on hand, because Donkey Kong was an overnight success, and not only saved the company, but introduced a character who would be eternally identified with Nintendo.

The three famous characters Miyamoto created for the game were Donkey Kong, Jumpman, and Pauline. It was Jumpman, who would later be known as Mario, who has found the most success. Since his debut in Donkey Kong, he has appeared in more than 100 games spanning over a dozen gaming platforms.

Miyamoto is usually listed as "Producer" in the credits of Mario games. The few exceptions include the Super Mario Land series for the Game Boy, with which he had virtually no involvement (Gunpei Yokoi, Miyamoto's mentor, produced the Super Mario Land series). In The Legend of Zelda, Zelda II: The Adventure of Link, and Doki Doki Panic, he was credited as "Miyahon", a mistranscription of the kanji in his name ( — which can be read as either hon or moto). The misread surname was Miyamoto's development nickname in the 1980s (having a nickname was a common practice among Japanese game developers at the time).

At E3's convention in 1997, Miyamoto revealed that he was constantly working with around four hundred people on a dozen or so projects at a time.[5]

Competition with Sony and Microsoft[]

Miyamoto has claimed his peers in the industry have been "too focused on hardcore gamers".[citation needed] His belief that his project could outsell PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 is influenced by his business motto; "Games should be what we would want to play". However, he admits changes had to be made before the Wii was a serious contender. "There was a time when Nintendo was not influencing the world in the way it would have liked," Miyamoto claims, "That's why I've spent so much time trying to find new, exciting control systems we can use."[citation needed]

In the first six months of straight competition, Wii outsold both its rivals, Sony and Microsoft, with gamers buying more than twice as many Wiis as Xbox 360s and four times as many Wiis as PlayStation 3s. When asked about his vision of this rivalry in the future, he said, "My dream is that the Wii becomes this device everybody sees as being the natural thing next to the TV."[6]

Awards and Recognition[]

File:Ancel Miyamoto Raynal.png

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Miyamoto was the first person inducted into the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences' Hall of Fame in 1998, an award that outlines his lifetime achievement and dramatic effect on the video game industry. In March 2005, Miyamoto was among the first honorees in 2004 to receive a star on the Walk of Game: a section of San Francisco's Metreon Center that is modeled on Hollywood's Walk of Fame.

As part of the French video game policy effort, on March 13, 2006 the French honored Miyamoto by inducting him as a Chevalier ("Knight") into the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, with game designers Michel Ancel and Frédérick Raynal.

The name of the main character of the infamous PC game Daikatana, Hiro Miyamoto, is an homage to Miyamoto.[7]

The rival character in the first generation of Pokémon games was named Shigeru. Likewise, the main character was named Satoshi, for the developer of the Pokémon series.

In Perfect Dark, enemy soldiers' faces are mapped from the game staff and Nintendo employees. Shigeru Miyamoto's face is seen on the patrolling guard in the opening cut scene of the Pelagic II stage.

A hidden Easter egg in Nintendogs reveals a character named Shiggy (Shigeru) and his Sheltie Pik (Pikku). At events, though, such as ones at Nintendo World Store in New York, his name is Miyamoto with the Daschund Mario.

On November 28, 2006, Miyamoto was featured in TIME Asia's "60 Years of Asian Heroes" with Hayao Miyazaki, Mahatma Gandhi, Mother Teresa, Bruce Lee and the Dalai Lama.[1]

At the Game Developers Choice Awards, on March 7, 2007, Shigeru Miyamoto received the Lifetime Achievement Award for a career that spans the creation of Donkey Kong, Super Mario Bros. and The Legend of Zelda. He was also credited for the company's recent consoles, the Nintendo DS and Wii. He was a keynote speaker at that conference, along with Eiji Aonuma and Satoru Iwata.[8]

Shigeru Miyamoto was chosen as one of the 100 TIME Magazine's 2007 Most Influential People of the Year.[9] He has once again been nominated for the list in 2008, and topped this list.[10]

Shigeru Miyamoto appeared on a Mega64 video as himself, along with Rocco Botte and Derrick Acosta who were dressed as Mario and Luigi and Shawn Chatfield dressed as Link who comes out of a door behind Miyamoto.

A Sunday New York Times profile published in May 2008 called Miyamoto "the world's most famous and influential video-game designer".[11]

GameTrailers awarded Shigeru Miyamoto the first spot on their "Top Ten Game Creators" list.[12]

Current activities[]

Miyamoto developed Wii Fit and Wii Music for the Wii and has supervised Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games for the Wii and Nintendo DS. Both versions of the latter were developed by Sega, not Nintendo. Miyamoto unveiled Wii Fit at E3 2007.

He pointed out in an interview that he likes to focus on "games in order, one by one" rather than concentrating on many games at once.[13] Miyamoto also announced at E3 2008 that the next installment of the Pikmin series is in development.

Personal Life[]

Although a game designer, he spends little time playing games. In his spare time, Miyamoto plays the guitar and banjo.[14] Shigeru Miyamoto has two children with his wife, Yasuko Miyamoto, who was general manager of Nintendo of Japan in 1977. Neither of their children has expressed a desire to go into the family business. He claims that Yasuko does not like video games, but she is beginning to enjoy playing games like Brain Age and using the Wii's Everybody Votes Channel. His son, Kenshi Miyamoto, has allegedly expressed a desire to become a pro surfer rather than a professional gamer.[15] Miyamoto has a Shetland Sheepdog named Pikku (pronounced Pick) that was the inspiration for Nintendogs.[16] Miyamoto is described as being a semi-professional dog breeder.[17]


As producer and R&D member of several games, Miyamoto has had Nintendo implement delays "in order to make a game [...] of the high quality standards that Nintendo is known for."[18] At times, the entire development of a game is scrapped.

Miyamoto and fellow developers refer to this scrapping as "Chabudai Gaeshi" (ちゃぶ台返し, "upending the tea table"), a reference to manga and anime Star of the Giants.[19] It is also referred to as "Miyahon Check" (Miyahon is an alternative kanji reading of Miyamoto) or "Miyamoto Test".[20]

  • "Twinkle Popo" was a completed product with a pre-order of 26,000 units. It was supposed to be released under the game's developer, HAL Laboratory. Miyamoto intervened, arguing that with a tiny bit of tweaking it would become a great game. After canceling the pre-order, the game was eventually released under Nintendo with the title Kirby's Dream Land.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time was supposed to be released immediately after the release of the Nintendo 64 (Japanese release date, 6 June 1996). Instead, Miyamoto, who was the producer, repeatedly ordered the game to be redone, resulting in numerous announcements of delays by Nintendo until the game's eventual release on 21 November 1998.
  • Eiji Aonuma was initially the producer of The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess. However, between 2005 to 2006, he assumed direction duties while Miyamoto replaced him as producer. Aonuma stated that the switch was the result of a year-long development being Template:Ql.[21] In the same interview, Miyamoto said that he had to clean up the mess from his Template:Ql, so he joined as a producer and assisted in the development of the GameCube and Wii versions of the game.

See also[]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Wright, Will. Shigeru Miyamoto: The video-game guru who made it O.K. to play. TIME Magazine. Retrieved on 2006-11-28
  2. Developer Profile: Intelligent Systems. IGN (2001-01-10). Retrieved on 2007-09-19
  3. Vestal, Andrew, et al. (2000-09-14). History of Zelda. GameSpot. Retrieved on 2006-09-30
  4. Sheff, David (1993). Game Over. Random House. ISBN 0-679-40469-4. 
  5. Imamura, Takao; Miyamoto, Shigeru (August 1997), "Pak Watch E3 Report "The Game Masters"", Nintendo Power 99: 104–105 .
  6. interview - LIVE Magazine, 29 July 2007.
  7. A Hardcore Elegy for Ion Storm 5. Archived from the original on 2006-12-06 Retrieved on 2007-09-19
  8. Carless, Simon (2007-02-12). 2007 Game Developers Choice Awards To Honor Miyamoto, Pajitnov. Gamasutra. Retrieved on 2007-02-12
  9. Wendel, Johnathan. The TIME 100 (2007) - Shigeru Miyamoto. TIME Magazine. Retrieved on 2007-05-03
  10. Who is Most Influential? - The 2008 TIME 100 Finalists. TIME Magazine. Retrieved on 2008-04-12
  11. Schiessel, Seth (2008-05-25). Resistance Is Futile. New York Times. Retrieved on 2008-05-26
  13. N-Europe: News: Wii Music On Track For 2008
  14. Shigeru Miyamoto Developer Bio. MobyGames. Retrieved on 2007-09-19
  15. Williams, Bryn (2007-03-08). Miyamoto's Creative Vision. GameSpy. Retrieved on 2007-09-19
  16. Totilo, Stephen (2005-09-27). Nintendo Fans Swarm Mario's Father During New York Visit. VH1. Retrieved on 2007-09-19
  17. Gibson, Ellie (2005-08-23). Nintendogs Interview // DS // Eurogamer. Eurogamer. Retrieved on 2008-05-02
  18. An Interview with Shigeru Miyamoto. on 2007-10-24
  19. Iwata Asks: The Indefinable Essence Of Zelda. Nintendo. Retrieved on 2006-11-16
  20. スクリーンショット
  21. 【任天堂】ラウンドテーブルにて『ゼルダの伝説 Twilight Princess』の全貌が明らかに! (Japanese). Famitsu (2005-05-18). Retrieved on 2007-09-19

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