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The Rise and Impact of Shigeru Miyamoto
The history of Nintendo and the rise of Miyamoto.

Mario's first game! Mario, who was not named Mario then, but "Jumpman" (When Donkey Kong came to the US and Europe, jumpman had been renamed Mario), tries to save the beautiful Pauline from the horrible Donkey Kong, who stands on the top of a scaffold throwing big barrels after Mario. Mario must avoid the barrels and the flames that "walk" around on the courses by either jumping over them or, if he finds a hammer, simply smashing all those that get in his way! The limited numbers of courses (3) (The arcade version had 4) makes this a dull game that you will get tired of after only a few days. One good thing is that, once you have completed the 3 courses, the game goes back to course number 1 but now it is in game B, which means that the game is more difficult. A breakthrough in itīs day but not so good anymore. For die hard Mario fans only. Shigeru Miyamoto is without question the greatest influence in video game history. The largest gaming legacies to date have all come from the originality of his mind. Mario, Donkey Kong, Zelda, StarFox, Kirby, and the list continues. They have all come from this one man. Miyamoto is a true genius that has been developing all the brilliant Mario games and has also had his magic hand in the developing of the Zelda, Kirby and Donkey Kong series and most of the other brilliant games that Nintendo has made! He is still working on new Nintendo games and has a finger in nearly all the games that are being developed to nintendoīs newest console, the Nintendo 64. Some has said: "Shigeru is to video gaming what John Lennon is to Music!" In June Shigeru became the first person to get into the The Interactive Academy of Arts and Sciencesīs Hall of Fame! This is a price that is given only to the ones that has developed new and extraordinary things within the digital industry. THE BEGINNING Miyamoto grew up in Sonebe, a small town outside Kyoto where he spent his time exploring the surroundings around his house and playing baseball with his friends.In the evenings he intended heroic dance dramas and he was a master of making various puppet shows. Since his family didn't have a TV or a car Shigeru didn't saw movies that often, instead he read a lot and painted. He was also a skilled cartoonist and organized a cartoon club at his school. "Video Games are bad for you? That's what they said about Rock 'n Roll." -Shigeru's comment when he heard a report about Video Games, made by the watchdog organization Action for Children's Television... Miyamoto was first a student at the Kanazawa Munici College of Art and Crafts. His interests in music and guitar playing took much of his time so it took Shigeru 5 whole years to graduate since he only attended class half the time! After his graduation he didn't know what he wanted to do and he knew that he wouldn't survive a ordinary boring and monotone job for a too long time. Shigeru then asked his father to contact one of his old friends, Hiroshi Yamauchi (who ran and still runs Nintendo). Hiroshi agreed but pointed out to him that "We needs engineers not painters". In 1977, two years after his graduation at the age of 24, Shigeru was called to Yamauchi's office. At first Hiroshi was skeptical but when Miyamoto their next meeting showed him some of his ideas for toys Yamauchi hired him as the company's first staff artist although that Nintendo didn't need one at the time! Instead he was an apprentice at the planning department until one day in 1980 when Hiroshi called him to his office told him to start working as a games designer, creating artwork for their arcade games etc. Donkey Kong His first project (1980) was to continue on a sad shoot em up game named Radarscope, but Miyamoto trashed the whole project and with the guidance of Gunpei Yokoi he started working on a Popeye game but when their license for the Popeye name fell Shigeru decided to do something on the Beauty and the Beast them and he came up with Donkey Kong starring the new character Mario (although that he wasnīt named Mario yet)! How did he come up with the name Donkey Kong then? We'll the Kong part came from the popular movie King Kong and he came up with the Donkey part when he looked in an english/japanese dictionary for a translation of the japanese word for stupid/goofy. Donkey Kong soon became Nintendoīs first real smash hit! After that Shigeru was assigned to design new Game&Watch games. He did a simpler version of Donkey Kong and he also got the chance to do a Popeye games. "Miyamoto, it was soon apparent, had the same talent for video games as the Beatles had for music. It's impossible to calculate Miyamoto's value to Nintendo, and it's not unreasonable to question whether Nintendo would have succeeded without him" - From GAME OVER -Nintendo's battle to dominate an industry by David Sheff Miyamoto gets his own R&D team! In 1984 Shigeru got his own team called Joho Kaihatsu (Entertainment-team) or the R&D4 team with whom he has done all the Mario and Zelda games. Many great NES games followed like Zelda 1&2, Mario Bros, SMB1,2,3 just to mention some... When Shigeru after a while was promoted and became a Producer he became very proud and honoured. Now he had the same title as his big idol George Lucas! Apart from the sentimental bit some new changes was also made in his routines. Instead of just working on one game at the time Shigeru was now the producer of several big games at once. Influences for Shigeru, in his game designing. Shigeru takes much of his ideas for his games from folklore, books, popular Tv series but also much from his own experiences as a kid. For example: the the warpzones in SMB comes from Star Trek. The Super Mushrooms comes from Alice in the Wonderland. The dungeons in the Zelda games was inspired by his Family's in Sonebe with it's many sliding doors and maze like design. His memory of his parent's attic which he often used as a haven has inspired him to create many of the safe places in his Mario games. His games encourages the players to explore and try to find new secret areas by rewarding them we they do find one. If there's one thing the Mario and Zelda games are famous for it's all their secrets! The Origin of Zelda Miyamomto has openly admitted that "The Legend of Zelda" game series was based on both the fantasy of young children to explore those woods out beyond your house (ala Narnia), and the movie "Legend". The movie "Legend" was released just before "The Legend of Zelda" was made, back in 1986. "Legend" was directed by Ridley Scott (Alien, Bladerunner, Gladiator), and starred Tom Cruise. I encourage all Zelda fans to watch the movie. Besides the title being similar, the story is also: Young scrawny elf like boy is sent out by various dwarves and pixies to delve into the dark dungeons and rescue the princess captured by the evil Gannon like demon. In his way are many smaller demons and the such. It also has the exact same mythological and medival fantasy feel to it. But, don't get all upset, it's not like he copied it. Let's just call it "inspiration". Kind of how "Alice in Wonderland" was an inspiration for Super Mario Bros. (and the movie, along with combining already existing characters and themes). The best is inspired by the best. Thanks to Ed "ible" Price for this piece of information. THE SNES When the SNES was developed Shigeru and his team got 15 months to develop both Super Mario World, F-Zero, Pilotwings and Zelda III, pretty tight or what! After that, his main task at Nintendo has been to improve all sorts of games, but Shigeru has also produced some games, for example Super Mario World 2, and Super Mario RPG. "An adult is a child who has more ethics and morals. That's all" - Shigeru Miyamoto THE N64 To the release of the Nintendo 64 he was set to develop the consoles flagship Super Mario 64 but was at the same time involved in almost all the other companies N64 games at the same time! Now he is currently working on the soon to be released The Legend of Zelda -The Ocarina of Time and F-Zero 64 just to mention some titles. Shigeru is truly a bussy man! PERSONAL INFO Miyamoto has got a wife named Yasuko (who worked in Nintendo's general administration department when he met her) and 2 kids. Miyamoto has other hobbies than videogames: he plays softball, swims, skies and plays guitar and piano. Many have been the artists/celebrities that have pilgrimaged to see Mr. Miyamoto. A name worth mentioning is Paul McCartny who when he was on a Japan tour turned the Mount Fuji down to go and see Miyamoto instead! He is very surprised how fast the development of computer and videogames have gone (who isnīt). In an interview in 93- 95 he said that he was looking forward to be working on 3D-games. He has also said "I like to create trends not follow them!" His favourite video game character isnīt Mario, as you might think, but Pac-Man because as he sad it -"itīs excellence in graphics expression of digital operation and accurate time judgment" which basically means that itīs a hell of a good game that require good reflexes or something like that! The game he enjoyed the most to produce is the conversion of Sim City to the SNES. The first Zelda game was the most difficult game to develop. Shigeru's all time favourite game to produce are Super Mario Bros 1 and Donkey Kong because they both revolutionized the whole videogame market. Shigeru is very attached to his characters and often gets very nervous when other people uses them. On the question "what is the secret behind a good game?" he replied: "You has to lay down much work on the game and be willing to let the private life suffer a bit too" (This appears to be the key in creating good websites too!). Shigeru never releases a game if it doesnīt "feel good" or unfinished. Many games hasnīt been released because of that they didnīt felt right and he always tries to satisfy the player and surprise them. Shigeru doesnīt have much spare time to play games on his sparetime but he likes to test new games. This is what he said when someone asked him about the Sonic-games in 1993 or something: "I havenīt been able to play them much but I think that Sonic is the best of all the Mario-copies". If there's one person we admire itīs Shigeru Miyamoto! In 1981 Shigeru Miyamoto guided by Gunpei Yokoi made the first game for Nintendo starring our dear Mario. It was the arcade game Donkey Kong. By then Mario didnīt even had a proper name! He was just called "jumpman" and was a carpenter! (When Donkey Kong came to the US and Europe jumpman had been renamed Mario, though.) Yes its true, Mario was first a carpenter before he became a plumber! Shigeru once described his character in Donkey Kong as "a funny hang-loose kind of guy" and designed his character to be goofy and awkward! He also starred in the sequel to Donkey Kong: Donkey Kong Jr. In Dk jr. Mario had gotten his real name (read more about how below). Then Mario Bros came out and his brother Luigi was born. How did Mario get his name then? When Minoru Arakawa, the president of Nintendo of America in New York, first saw "jumpman" he thought: "Hey! He looks just like the landlord of our office!"; and the landlordīs name was Mario Segali and he came from Italy so that's how it is! Why does Mario look like he does? The main reason Mario looks like he does is that it was easier to make him that way, because of the problem with the low resolution and few colors available on the NES and the early arcade machines. They gave him a mustache instead of a mouth and a cap instead of hair because it was easier to see in the low resolution (and because Shigeru Miyamoto wasn't too good at designing hair). One other thing with the cap was that it was static, which made easier to animate than hair. Mario was gven an overall because then you could see his arms easier when he was moving. The gloves that he sometimes wears, only appeared in the drawed art work, never in the games. This was because of the limited number of colors in the NES and arcade machines could handle and therefore his hands had to be in the same color as his head. How come Mario became a carpenter? Shigeru Miyamoto wanted to make his character a hard working person so that the players could identify him/herself with him. He aslo wanted him to be a ordinary man neither heroic nor handsome. How did they get the idea of the Super Mushroom and Mario becoming Super Mario? Nintendo was developing a new technique that made it possible to make bigger sprites on the NES than before and at first they decided to make Mario big all the time, until Shigeru came up with the idea of Mario resizing when eating mushrooms! He got the idea of using mushrooms as powerups from the popular book Alice in the Wonderland. Mario has appeared in over 100 games now EXTRA NINTENDO HISTORY Star Fox - Just a testing program Star Fox, or Star Wing as we Europeans know it, was just an testing program to test the FX-chip capabilities, but the designers continued working on it and finally Nintendo released it and it became a big success R.O.B. = shit? Before the NES was about to be released in the US, Minoru Arakawa (the NOA president at that time), showed of the ROB (A strange robot for the NES) for the buyers at the CES exhibit but they didnīt like it so Minoru decided to do a "test" to prove that the kids would love the ROB. From behind a one-way mirror he watched a selection of kids play with the ROB utility and heard how the kids said things like "This is shit" and "It sucks"! But Minoru was stubborn and released it anyway and as you might guess it wasnīt any success at all! The Nintendo 64, preferred by many Some burglars broke into a Radio and TV store and stole all their Nintendo 64s, but they didnīt even touch the PlayStations! At least the burglars had good taste!! Super Mario 64 a Super FX game? Did you know that Nintendo planned to release a 3D Mario game for the SNES using their S-FX chip, but it didn't work out so the advent of a 3D Mario game had to wait yet a couple of years?! Nintendo deliberately programmed SNES games to crash when used with a Game Genie! When Nintendo lost their trial against Galoob and Galoob was free to distribute their Game Genie freely, Nintendo started programming their games and SNES systems with a chip that made the games screw up if the Game Genie was present. That's why there is about 3 or 4 versions or Final Fantasy 3 and Chrono Trigger... 10 million Super Mario 64 The most sold 32 and 64 bit game today is Super Mario 64. It has sold in over 10 million copies. This may sound much but if you compare it with Super Mario Bros 1 that has sold in 40 million copies, and Super Mario Bros 3 that has sold in 18 million copies, it fades in comparison. The second most sold game for the 32 and 64 bit consoles is no other than Mario Kart 64, sold in 8 million copies. On third place we find Zelda : Ocarina of Time. Super Mario Bros 40 Super Mario Bros 2 10 Super Mario Bros 3 18 Super Mario Land 14 Super Mario World 17 Super Mario Allstars 8 Super Mario 64 over 14 Mario Kart 64 8 NES Game Boy (all versions) SNES N64 Consoles sold: 62 million (1999) nes 110 million (2001) gameboy 48.4 million (1999) snes 30 million (2001) n64 Games sold: 500 million (1999) nes 283.8 million (1999) gameboy 377.5 million (1999) snes 88.7 million (1999) n64 In 1993 Nintendo celebrated their 100 millionth sold Mario-game! Just before the release of Super Mario World 2 the number of sold games were 117 million! With both Supet Mario World 2, Super Mario RPG and Super Mario 64 it should be up in nearly 135 - 140 by now! In 1994 Nintendo celebrate their 1 billionth gamepak sold! Zelda 1 was the first video game to sell in 1 million copies, if you donīt count Super Mario Bros since it came bundled with the NES. In 1992 Nintendo had 90- 95% of the japan market and 70% of the american market In 1991 the American video game market renewed 5,3 billion dollars while the whole movie industry the same year only renewed 5,0 billion dollars Last year (1997) Nintendoīs profit was calculated to around 7.2 billion dollars! The NES has/had about 90% of the 8-bit market! Where's Zelda?... One of Nintendo's weirdest commercials must be the one they did to advertise Zelda 1. It featured a wiry-haired, rather nerdy guy wandering through the dark repeatedly screaming Zelda... (Honestly!) Mike Tyson's Punch Out commercial In an 1987 Nintendo did a commercial for their new Mike Tyson's Punch Out game featuring Mike Tyson walking into a room and picking up a NES controller in his hands and putting a NES cartridge in the NES. A wall full of screens appear and Tyson breaks out laughing. Ice Hockey commercial This commercial for the NES game Ice Hockey game featured a kid playing the game when suddenly a puck came hurtling through the TV screen into his living room. Mario Merchandise Mario merchandise is (or at least was) sold everywhere in japan! A real Mario fan can completely surround him self with Mario stuff! Some examples of all the Mario merchandise are: Super Mario World Pasta - pasta shaped like our beloved plumber, cheese, remote controlled karts from Super Mario Kart, Mario Slippers, alarm clocks, dolls, Marioames. Mario Bros and Super Mario Bros- Mushroom World. Eat Mario for breakfast! Did you know that Super Mario Bros and Zelda 1 has both become both cereal brands and board games? The Keychains (1997) SMB3 Walkie Talkies (1991) Mario Shampoo Mario Beanie Babies Super Mario Ice Cream Super Mario Water Squirter Mario Marionette Mario shower head Mario stickers Mario TV Tray Super Mario Bros 2 wallet Mario Watches Bowser T-shirt Iron-on Mario cookie cutters Mario and Bowser statuettes Mario MCDonalds Happymeals LONDON (Reuters) -- Global video game sales are projected to grow nearly 10 percent this year, extending a decade-long surge that has a lot of life left, analysts said. London-based market research firm ScreenDigest and trade association Entertainment and Leisure Software Publishers Association (ELSPA) released their annual forecast, predicting sales in 2003 would hit $18.5 billion, another record. According to the report, the sale of video game and so-called "edutainment/reference" software would grow 9.5 percent in 2003 from $16.9 billion, suggesting that waging a virtual bombing raid or racing a stolen car through city streets now rivals trips to the cinema as a favorite entertainment pastime. Famicom (NES) / MSX Home Computer 1986 - Dragon Quest 1.5 million copies sold by 3/31/00 1987 - Dragon Quest II: Pantheon of Evil Spirits 2.4 million copies sold by 3/31/00 Famicom (NES) 1988 - Dragon Quest III: And Then, Into the Legend 3.8 million copies sold by 3/31/00 1990 - Dragon Quest IV: The Chosen Ones 3.1 million copies sold by 3/31/00 Super Famicom (SNES) 1992 - Dragon Quest V: Heaven's Bride 2.8 million copies sold by 3/31/00 1992 - Torneko no Daibouken (Taloon's Great Adventure) Sales figures not available. 1993 - Dragon Quest I and II Remix 1.2 million copies sold by 3/31/00 1994 - Dragon Quest VI: Illusionary World 3.2 million copies sold by 3/31/00 1996 - Dragon Quest III Remix Sales figures not available. Playstation 1999 - Torneko no Daibouken (Taloon's Great Adventure) II Sales figures not available. 2000 - Dragon Quest VII: Warriors of Eden 4 million+ copies Game Boy Color 1998 - Dragon Quest Monsters: Terry's Wonderland Sales figures not available. 1999 - Dragon Quest I and II Remix Sales figures not available 2000 - Dragon Quest III Remix Sales figures not available. 2001 - Dragon Quest Monsters II: Lucca's Journey Sales figures not available 2001 - Dragon Quest Monsters II: Ill's Adventure Sales figures not available Sales figures provided by DQNN NES 1989 - Dragon Warrior 500 thousand copies sold 1990 - Dragon Warrior II 150 thousand copies sold 1991 - Dragon Warrior III 95 thousand copies sold 1992 - Dragon Warrior IV 80 thousand copies sold Playstation 2000 - Torneko: Last Hope Sales figures not available. 2001 - Dragon Warrior VII Sales figures not available. Game Boy Color 2000 - Dragon Warrior Monsters Sales figures not available. 2000 - Dragon Warrior I&II Sales figures not available 2001 - Dragon Warrior III Sales figures not available. FC Nintendo Super Mario Bros 6.18 FC Nintendo Super Mario Bros 3 3.83 FCD Nintendo Super Mario Bros. 2 2.66 FCD Nintendo Volleyball 1.98 FC Nintendo Golf 1.95 FC Nintendo Baseball 1.94 SFC Nintendo Super Mario Kart 3.73 SFC Nintendo Super Mario World 3.50 SFC Nintendo Super Donkey Kong 2.98 SFC Nintendo Super Donkey Kong 2 2.17 SFC Nintendo Super Mario Collection 2.06 SFC Nintendo Yoshi's Island 1.74 SFC Nintendo Super Mario RPG 1.47 SFC Nintendo The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past 1.15 PS Enix Dragon Quest VII: Soldiers from Eden 4.06 PS Enix Dragon Quest IV (Remake) 1.20 FC Enix Dragon Quest III 3.80 FC Enix Dragon Quest IV 3.10 FC Enix Dragon Quest II 2.40 FC Enix Dragon Quest 1.50 SFC Enix Dragon Quest VI 3.20 SFC Enix Dragon Quest V 2.80 SFC Enix Dragon Quest III (Remake) 1.40 SFC Enix Dragon Quest I & II 1.20 GB Enix Dragon Quest Monsters: Terry's Wonderland 1.85 GB Enix Dragon Quest Monsters 2: Mysterious Key of Martha 1.30