Feature

The Walt Disney of video games

In Japan, Shigeru Miyamoto is regarded as a Japanese version of Walt Disney. He has been creating video games for Nintendo for more than three decades.

You might not know his name, but you probably know Shigeru Miyamoto’s work, said Nick Paumgarten in The New Yorker. For more than three decades, Miyamoto has been laboring for Nintendo, creating some of the most popular video games ever, from Super Mario Bros. to Zelda to the Wii gaming system. In Japan, Miyamoto is regarded as a Japanese version of Walt Disney, with a gift for knowing what people want. “You are constantly providing the players with a new challenge,” he says, “but at the same time, providing them with some stages where they can simply, repeatedly, do something again and again. And that itself can be a joy.”

As a child, he didn’t have many toys, so he invented magical realms, most of which have made it into his games. So have his own experiences. When Miyamoto gave up smoking and started exercising, he developed Wii Fit. His colleagues were skeptical, but the game sold 37 million units. He laughs at the notion that video games are harmful. “That’s what they said about rock ’n’ roll!” Nonetheless, he admits to policing his own children’s gaming habits. “Inside our house the video games are my property,” Miyamoto jokes. “When the children want to play, they have to borrow them from me.”

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