The Nintendo brand name meant nothing only 25 years ago. A long time toy and trading card maker in Japan, Nintendo wanted more than anything to find success in America in the video game arcade industry that they saw as so lucrative. After a first time flop they turned to the young and talented Shigeru Miyamoto to craft for them a game that could compete in a crowded quarter pushing market place in the States. His answer was Donkey Kong, and from there on he was Nintendo’s Golden Touch.
Shigeru Miyamoto was born on November 16, 1952 and raised outside of Kyoto, Japan in a rural setting devoid of the touches of modernity we see around us everywhere. He had no television or popular culture and was left to view the world as he imagined it. The imagination of a genius was born and thankfully proved to be a perfect fit with the gaming industry 30 years later. As a child he found his natural surroundings a wonder to explore, with stories of caves discovered and streambeds forded as a child. One can only imagine the adventures he had that ended up in games we’ve all played a hundred times through.
After attending the Kanezawa College of Art in 1970 he found work at Nintendo of Japan in 1977 through a friend of his father as a production artist in a company that had no need for one. When Nintendo of America’s first foray into video gaming failed in 1980 with Radarscope, they had an abundance of leftover cabinets and needed a game that could help them make up lost revenue. They turned to the only man around who was available, Miyamoto and asked for a game that would sell.
Miyamoto had no idea how to program a game; his education was in the arts, so he talked with the engineers and programmers and composed the music himself on a personal keyboard for Nintendo’s first massive success, Donkey Kong. The game was immediately a success and spawned the development of Miyamoto’s favorite work partner, having appeared in dozens of games now, Mario.
Miyamoto went on to develop all of the main sequence Mario games, his name appearing in the producer credit in almost every one except the Mario Land games for the gameboy, and eventually created The Legend of Zelda, Star Fox, and more. His name is synonymous with quality. Nintendo is infamous for delaying its games, and its usually because of Miyamoto’s willingness to start the entire process from scratch if he thinks a game is being poorly made. He doesn’t accept poor work, and if his resume is any indication, it appeals to the gamers of the world merely with his name on the cover. He’s been recognized the world over as one of the fathers of video games and one of the most influential people in modern pop culture. Numerous awards have been bestowed upon him and he continues to remain in the humble position as imaginer and developer of new projects and ideas for Nintendo.