Shigeru Miyamoto (in Japanese: 宮本 茂) is a Japanese video game designer, producer, and game director at Nintendo, best known for being the creator of the Mario, Donkey Kong, The Legend of Zelda, Star Fox, and Pikmin series, among others. He joined the industry as a designer for character art in 1977.
In his early childhood, he 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.
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 College of Art in 1970. Miyamoto only attended his classes half the time, and it took him five years to graduate.
Miyamoto was 24 when his father contacted 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.
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 waned. 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. Donkey Kong was born and made a huge hit.
With Donkey Kong's success and the series it began, Miyamoto was given his own team: the Creative Department, 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 favorite Nintendo character is, he states that some of his more beloved favorites include Mario, Princess Peach, Luigi, Bowser, Princess Zelda, Toad, Link, and Donkey Kong. His favorite Mario game is Super Mario Bros. 2 for the NES. His favorite games for the NES are Baseball, Golf, and Mario Bros. Miyamoto's favorite non-Nintendo game is Angry Birds.
Miyamoto starred in a Mega 64 sketch about New Super Mario Bros. 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 (Bowser Jr. and Link being two examples). He has also been referred to by Mario in the game Mario vs. Donkey Kong. 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).
In early December of 2011, it was rumored that Miyamoto has announced his retirement. A few days later, the rumor was confirmed a fake.
Following the in-office passing of Nintendo president Satoru Iwata, Miyamoto worked alongside Genyo Takeda as Representative Director of Nintendo, both leading the company until Tatsumi Kimishima's appointment as Iwata's successor.
Awards and honors