Shigeru MiyamotoGame Designer / Animator
Born: 16 November 1952
Birthplace: Sonebe, Japan
Best known as: The creator of the video game Donkey Kong
Shigeru Miyamoto is the electronic artist who designed Donkey Kong, Super Mario Bros., and other smash Nintendo video games of the 1980s and 1990s. As such he is regarded as one of the video game industry's great pioneers. Miyamoto was only 24 when he became a staff artist of the Nintendo company in 1977. Donkey Kong (1981) was a breakout game in the early era of Pac-Man and Asteroids, and it introduced Miyamoto's signature character, Mario, a mustachioed everyman in blue overalls and a cap. Miyamoto's creative influence -- and his signature blend of of playful fantasy and cheery humor -- spread as Nintendo expanded into home video games and hand-held Gameboy systems over the next decades. Donkey Kong was followed by Super Mario Bros. (1985), The Legend of Zelda (1986), the racing game F-Zero (1990), and the 21st-century Wii home system, among many other games. Time magazine dubbed Miyamoto "the Spielberg of video games" in 1996, and in 1998 he was the first inductee into the newly-created Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences Hall of Fame.
Extra credit: Miyamoto attended the Kanazawa Municipal College of Industrial Arts and Crafts, graduating in 1975... Mario was called simply "Jump Man" in the original incarnations of Donkey Kong... In a 2003 interview with Nintendo's official magazine, Miyamoto said, "What's kind of a mystery is, why did I title the game Donkey Kong? The main character, the player, was Mario. That much was decided. But really Donkey Kong's personality was the most fleshed-out of all of them. I really think it's best to name a game after its strongest character."
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