He’s the creator of some of the greatest video games of all time – maybe Super Mario Bros., Donkey Kong and The Legend of Zelda ring a bell? His name is Shigeru Miyamoto and he’s been a Nintendo video game designer since 1980 – and rumors are he is retiring.
In an interview yesterday when Miyamoto visited Wired offices in San-Francisco, the 59-year-old head of Nintendo’s game design department said through an interpreter, ”I’m going to retire, I’m not saying that I’m going to retire from game development altogether. What I mean by retiring is, retiring from my current position. What I really want to do is be in the forefront of game development once again myself. Probably working on a smaller project with even younger developers. Or I might be interested in making something that I can make myself, by myself. Something really small.”
Whew. The excerpt of the interview which will be published next week caused an uproar and Nintendo quickly responding to clarify he was just retiring from his current position.
Shigeru Miyamoto is probably best known for Mario, the plucky little plumber that re-launched the game industry after Atari’s fall in the early 1980′s. But Mario was not Miyamoto’s first big game. That was the 1981 video game classic, Donkey Kong. In the game, a carpenter climbed a series of platforms to save his best girl as a gorilla hurled barrels at him.
That carpenter, originally called Jumpman, inspired Super Mario Bros. Miyamoto was trying to create a game that featured Popeye characters but was unable to secure the license. “Mr. Video” as he was called became Mario when Nintendo of America’s warehouse employees needed to pacify their landlord Mario Segale for back rent.
Mario got his trademark mustache because in his 8-bit pixelated design, his mouth looked like a mustache.
Focus on Game Development
Miyamoto, is generally respected as the world’s most influential and creative video game designer. And while the man who is responsible for the Wii Fit as well as many of the cutting-edge Wii features, he’s seems more than eager to work on new ideas with a smaller and younger staff.
A career in game development can be very lucrative. Many young people are focusing on game and character design as viable career – and follow in Miyamoto’s footsteps. Yes, playing and making video games can pay your bills – Miyamoto’s net worth is estimated at around $40 million.
Wired.com’s full interview with Miyamoto, including his thoughts on 3-D & mobile gaming, The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword and developing Mario Kart 7 using a Western development will be published by Wired next week.
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