At the Soho Apple Store in New York last night, Nintendo’s Shigeru Miyamoto made a rare public appearance to discuss in detail the company’s highly-anticipated Super Mario Run on iOS. The game, which launches December 15th, is a landmark of sorts for the Kyoto-based company, as it’s the first real Nintendo title to appear on a non-Nintendo platform (not counting this year’s weird Miitomo social app, Niantic’s Pokémon Go, or Zelda on the long-forgotten CD-i). Here are the top takeaways straight from the mouth of the original Mario maker.
Nintendo Almost Didn’t Hire Miyamoto
Pretty much anyone who’s made a game in the past 30 years owes some level of debt to Miyamoto. Whether it’s the invention of a 3D camera system or analog controls, or entire genres that exist purely because Miyamoto was there first. Of course, none of this would have happened if Nintendo hadn’t hired him in the first place – and they almost didn’t.
“I called up a recruiter [and asked,] ‘Are you looking for any designers?’ I studied industrial design in college, but [Nintendo] told me they weren’t looking for any industrial designers, and yet I somehow forced them to give me an interview,” he says. “Then I went to the department head of one of the design teams, and I showed him one of the things I had created for my portfolio and that’s how I got the job.”
Space Invaders Paved the Way For Donkey Kong
Space Invaders and Donkey Kong are both iconic video games associated with the golden age of arcades. They’re all over Eighties movies, from Tron to Terminator 2 to Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, but one came before the other, and if it weren’t for Tomohiro Nishikado’s landmark shooter, Miyamoto may never have had a shot at designing games at all.
“About a year or two after I joined Nintendo,” he says, “Space Invaders came out and became a huge hit, and so Nintendo decided to go into the video game business, and that’s how I got my start, designing graphics.”