Header Image Credit: New York Times
Shigeru Miyamoto is perhaps one of the most well-known people at Nintendo, if not video games period. His creations include some of gaming’s most beloved and celebrated franchises, including Mario, Zelda, Pikmin, Metroid, and Star Fox.
He’s had his hand in countless projects at Nintendo in various different roles. In that time, he’s had the ability to implement some of his best ideas across some of Nintendo’s most iconic titles.
Here are some of Shigeru Miyamoto’s best ideas that have helped shape both Nintendo and the industry as a whole.
Looking Back on Some of Shigeru Miyamoto's Best Ideas
Photo Credit: Venture Beat
His Job Interview with Nintendo
Instead of a resume or art portfolio, young Shigeru Miyamoto had a different approach for his initial interview with Nintendo. The famous game designer and creator brought something a little different.
He brought clothes hangers he had repurposed for children. These hangers had a long, little cross shape that could latch onto the notches on the wall. He then used these to hang up paintings of elephants he had made.
And of course, the rest is history. Nintendo hired Shigeru Miyamoto, perhaps due to witnessing the imagination and wonder that could only come from the mind of Miyamoto. Or maybe those were just some super cool elephant paintings. Either way, that job interview worked out pretty well for everyone.
Oracle of Ages
Photo Credit: Nintendo Life
Ocarina of Time was almost a different game but it’s hard to imagine the experience being any different than it is. It’s not just one of the most iconic games of all time. Ocarina of Time has also influenced countless titles, not only in terms of story and structure but also with its approach to game design and use of 3D technology.
It was Miyamoto’s decision to have Link appear as both a child and an adult. He wanted Ocarina of Time to cover a lot of ground in terms of story and how time can impact us all. And that absolutely needed to include the Hero of Time.
Details aside in case you’ve yet to finish this classic retro title, but this decision came with some big ramifications. The timeline and overall framing of the series have been forever changed by this decision. These two different periods in Link’s life carried some big consequences that affected things for the rest of time.
It was worth it though. Yeah, it made the Zelda series a little more complicated but it also doesn’t matter. They’re just video games and they’re all pretty great. Even Phantom Hourglass … But few games in the series carried the same impact as Ocarina of Time, and Miyamoto’s dual-age story decision helped make Ocarina of Time all the more meaningful.
Super Mario 64 and The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time are some of the earliest 3D titles. They’re also some of the best games from the N64/PS1 library of titles. Games had been 2D, top-down, isometric, and any other kind of perspective you can imagine for years but 3D games were challenging.
And no, it’s not just because of better graphics. In fact, a lot of early 3D games look pretty rough. 3D games made it more difficult for developers to maintain the invisible relationship between them and players. It was much easier to predict and anticipate player actions when their perspectives were more linear.
But Super Mario 64 helped lead the way. And while it’s pretty ugly to look at now, Miyamoto and Nintendo helped show the developers everywhere how to play in 3D.
Mario, Zelda, and the Imaginative Worlds He Helped Create
Shigeru Miyamoto has worked on so many games that Wikipedia doesn’t even list them all. It feels appropriate to give credit where it’s due before moving on to some of Miyamoto’s lesser ideas.
He’s known all around the world as the person that created Mario and Donkey Kong, but he also created and helped create countless other digital worlds. Shigeru Miyamoto also helped create the Pikmin series. He thought of the original concept that inspired the series and worked as a producer on the first two games in the series.
His work also includes Super Mario Galaxy and Super Mario Galaxy 2, which are both quite honestly two of the best titles from the platformer genre.
Miyamoto is able to capture pure magic when his ideas are properly captured on-screen, which oftentimes is the case. There have been a few lesser good titles, such as Star Fox Zero, but Miyamoto has definitely left a positive mark on video games that will be felt forever.