Childhood & Early Life
Shigeru Miyamoto was born on November 16, 1952, in the rural town of Sonobe, located northwest of Kyoto in Japan, to Iijake Miyamoto and Hinako Aruha as their second child.
Little Miyamoto developed a knack for doodling and many a times his studies would take a back seat to this hobby.
He also remained close to nature and would explore natural surroundings in the countryside of Kyoto. Such expeditions including discovering caves and water bodies later motivated him in crafting many of his popular video games, most prominently ‘The Legend of Zelda’.
He started attending ‘Kanazawa Municipal College of Industrial Arts’ in 1970 and five years later he graduated obtaining a degree in industrial design.
Prior to embarking on a career in video games, Miyamoto even contemplated a career as magna artist due to his sheer love for the subject.
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After obtaining his degree in industrial design, Miyamoto, had an interview with Hiroshi Yamauchi, president of ‘Nintendo’, a Japanese company selling playing cards, toys, games and other novelties. Impressed by the toys created by Miyamoto, Yamauchi inducted him into the planning department of the company as an apprentice in 1977.
Eventually, he became the first artist of ‘Nintendo’ and in 1979 he aided in developing the art of ‘Sheriff’, an arcade video game developed by Nintendo R&D1.
The first game that he helped develop was the cabinet arcade game ‘Radar Scope’ published in December 1979 in Japan and in November 1980 worldwide. The game although thrived moderately in Japan, its overall commercial failure left ‘Nintendo’ on the brim of huge financial catastrophe.
Under such circumstances, he was designated by Yamauchi to transform unsold units of ‘Radar Scope’, large in number, into an entirely new arcade game. This marked development of ‘Donkey Kong’, an early instance of the platform game genre released by ‘Nintendo’ on April 22, 1981.
While conceiving ‘Donkey Kong’, Miyamoto concentrated on formulating a story line first before focussing on technical and programming aspects marking first such instance in development of video game.
The monumental success of ‘Donkey Kong’ paved way for Miyamoto to work on two of its sequels ‘Donkey Kong Jr.’ (1982) and ‘Donkey Kong 3’ (1983).
Moving ahead, he created a platform game, ‘Mario Bros.’, based on the character of Jumpman from ‘Donkey Kong’ who he remodelled as Mario giving the character some superhuman skills. He added the character of Luigi, Mario’s brother in the game.
‘Mario Bros.’ is featured in the ‘Super Mario Advance’ series as a mini-game releasing for the first time in 1983. The game garnered modest success and re-released in several platforms over the years.
Next, he created a sequel to ‘Mario Bros.’ titled ‘Super Mario Bros.’, which remains one of his most remarkable creations. It was released in 1985 in Japan and North America and after a couple years in Australia and Europe.
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The monumental success of ‘Super Mario Bros.’ led to development of a series of sequels over the years and an extended franchise comprising an anime film, ‘Super Mario Bros: The Great Mission to Rescue Princess Peach!’ (1986), a TV series, ‘The Super Mario Bros Super Show’ (1989), and a big-screen flick, ‘Super Mario Bros’ (1993).
On February 21, 1986, ‘Nintendo’ released ‘The Legend of Zelda’, yet another phenomenal creation of Miyamoto designed along with Takashi Tezuka. The action-adventure video game emerged as a best-seller for ‘Nintendo’ selling over 6.5 million copies.
‘The Legend of Zelda’ often included in the list of greatest and influential games, led to the development of the expanded ‘Legend of Zelda’ series that has over years garnered acclaim both from the critics and the public.
As his responsibilities in ‘Nintendo’ increased, Miyamoto started heading ‘Nintendo Entertainment Analysis & Development’
He worked on the rail shooter video game ‘Star Fox’ (1993) that became the second three-dimensional video game developed by ‘Nintendo’. Its success again led to the development of the ‘Star Fox’ franchise including sequels, spin-offs, and several media adaptations.
Other notable video games and series that Miyamoto worked on include ‘Metroid Prime’, ‘Pikmin’ and ‘F-Zero’.
He became the first video game developer to be inducted in the ‘Hall of Fame’ of the ‘Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences' in 1997.
He remained instrumental in developing Nintendo’s home video game console ‘Wii’ that released on November 19, 2006. That year French Minister of Culture, Renaud Donnedieu de Vabres, honoured him as a Chevalier (knight) of the French Ordre des Arts et des Lettres.
He alongside Genyo Takeda was inducted as an acting Representative Director of ‘Nintendo’ after its president Satoru Iwata died in July 2015. He held the position till September 2015. During that time he was also formally appointed as "Creative Fellow" of the company.