1. Shigeru Miyamoto’s work has impacted the lives of young people all over the whole world. He is quite famous in his own way; yet, if he were walking down the street beside you, chances are you wouldn’t give him a second glance. That’s because Miyamoto isn’t a movie star, a hip-hop artist, or a well-known athlete. He is, however, the most influential video game designer in the world.
2. Miyamoto was born in Japan in 1952. As a child, he was not a very diligent student. He was usually too busy drawing cartoons. He was also a dreamer. He liked to wander the countryside hiking, exploring caves and creating secret adventures.
3. These skills served him well when he was hired by Nintendo in 1977. At the time, Nintendo was not particularly successful. Miyamoto’s first job was to create the artwork for an arcade game called “Radar Scope.” Not too many people bothered to spend a quarter on the game. It was a low point in his career.
4. But then Miyamoto reworked the game into a new version. It was one of the first “platform” games, in which a character had to move along and jump from one area to another. It was called “Donkey Kong.” Miyamoto also introduced a new character called Mario. Mario’s looks were based on his landlord, an overweight plumber with a big black moustache.
5. Donkey Kong was an extraordinary success, and it seemed that game players related to Mario. He was a lovable character – an everyday guy instead of a superhero. Over the years, Mario has appeared in 100 different Nintendo games, and more than 200 million copies of those games have been sold.
6. The success of Donkey Kong was just the beginning for Miyamoto. He also created games like “The Legend of Zelda,” with countryside and escapades that drew on his childhood memories. As he created many more successful games that helped Nintendo earn a great deal of money, Miyamoto also was promoted to the top of the company.
7. These days, Miyamoto no longer works as an artist. He is a project manager, which means that he is in charge of teams of writers, computer programmers, and artists. He works with them to create new games and devices. In the last few years, Miyamoto was in charge of teams that developed the Nintendo DS system and the Wii. The Wii is the most popular gaming device in the world.
8. It seems that the young boy who did not do very well in school has done very well in his work!