Shigeru Miyamoto has been designing video games for the last 22 years.
Children, adults, and video game players of all ages have been taken on many quests
to save the princess or an imaginary world from the clutches of a
number of evil antagonists. If you've ever entered an arcade or watched
someone play a video game, chances are you've seen his work. His most notable
accomplishments are the
Zelda series, including the recent blockbuster
Legend of Zelda: Majora's
Japan, Miyamoto was an explorer as a child. He would explore the caves,
mountains, and wooded areas that surrounded him. These childhood exploits would
serve as the foundation for his limitless imagination and incredible storytelling capabilities.
"As with the Mario series, I came up with the concept for the
Zelda series from my adventures as a child exploring the wide
variety of places around my home," Miyamoto says through an interpreter. "There
were plenty of caves and mountains. We didn't have that many toys to play with, so I would make slingshots or use sticks and twigs to make puppets and keep myself
Miyamoto got the name for the Zelda series--which has spanned four
video game platforms--from a most unlikely source.
"Zelda was the name of the wife of the famous novelist
Francis Scott Fitzgerald. She
was a famous and beautiful woman from all accounts, and I liked the sound of
her name. So I took the liberty of using her name for the very first
Zelda title," Miyamoto explained.
Making a video game as epic in
scope as Majora's Mask
required a team of more than 100 programmers, designers,
artists, and testers. They developed the game over a three-year time frame,
costing Nintendo nearly the $10 million it spent developing the last
Zelda game, 1998's
Why a Hollywood-size budget for a video game? Nintendo expected to
sell more than 2.5 million copies of the game in North America by the end of
2000, and more than 5 million copies of the game worldwide by April, 2001. That
translates into more than $300 million in revenue--a number that rivals the
biggest blockbuster movies.
Each time he makes a game, Miyamoto raises the bar on the way games are
designed and played. In May of 1997, the Academy of Interactive Arts and
Sciences recognized him and his contributions to the craft in the field of
interactive entertainment by inducting him into its Hall of Fame.
has recognized his contributions, too. He was recently brought on to Nintendo
Co. Ltd.'s board of directors, and was named general manager of entertainment
analysis and development.
And though Majora's Mask
is poised for blockbuster
success, Miyamoto and his team members surely are not sitting down on the job.
They are currently working on the next installment of the series, which will
debut on Nintendo's next-generation console
GameCube, with some added
functionality handled by the upcoming handheld game system
Game Boy Advance. Although the final
details haven't been worked out, Miyamoto foresees the Game Boy Advance as playing minigames and as a controller for future Zelda games.
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