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Shigeru Miyamoto, The Walt Disney of Our Time 195

Posted by kdawson
from the thirty-years-of-fun dept.
circletimessquare writes "The New York Times has a gushing portrait of Shigeru Miyamoto. His creative successes have spanned almost 30 years, from Donkey Kong, to Mario (as well known as Mickey Mouse around the world, the story notes), to Zelda, to the Wii, and now to Wii Fit — which according to some initial rumors is selling out across the globe in its debut. The article has some gems of insight into the man's thinking, including that his iconic characters are an afterthought. Gameplay comes first, and the characters are designed around that. Additionally, his fame and finances and ego are refreshingly modest for someone of his high regard and creative stature: 'despite being royalty at Nintendo and a cult figure, he almost comes across as just another salaryman (though a particularly creative and happy one) with a wife and two school-age children at home near Kyoto. He is not tabloid fodder, and he seems to maintain a relatively nondescript lifestyle.'"
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Shigeru Miyamoto, The Walt Disney of Our Time

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  • by Mordok-DestroyerOfWo (1000167) on Sunday May 25, 2008 @03:39PM (#23537689)
    We get to freeze his head as well!
    • by canajin56 (660655) on Sunday May 25, 2008 @03:54PM (#23537803)

      It's an urban legend that Walt Disney became increasingly interested in cryogenics in his later years, requested to be frozen when he died, and was frozen after he died.

      All three parts are untrue. It's impossible to rule out that Walt Disney had even heard of cryogenics, but there's certainly no proof he did, let alone that he became obsessed with the idea. He was, in fact, cremated, the polar opposite of being frozen, if there is one!

    • by Culture20 (968837)
      Elian! [robotchicken.org]
  • "With a net worth of around $8 billion, Nintendo's former chairman, Hiroshi Yamauchi, is now the richest man in Japan, according to Forbes magazine. (Nintendo does not disclose Mr. Miyamoto's compensation, but it appears that he has not joined the ranks of the superrich.)"

    That darn Yamauchi took all Miyamoto's money to the top of a steel girded ramp and started throwing barrels down at Miyamoto!

  • by vertinox (846076) on Sunday May 25, 2008 @03:56PM (#23537821)
    Does that mean we will have a Nintendo-land theme park in Florida anytime soon?
    • That would be awesome.

      • Seconded! We need to petition Nintendo to start a Nintendoland!
      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by iminplaya (723125)
        Yeah, right... Let's see if you can get out of the place without being hammered to death.

        - Rides not operating today:
                - Head Basher
                - Blood Bath
                - Mangler
                - Nurse's Station
    • by morari (1080535)
      Let us hope against hope that it wouldn't actually be in Florida. Why anyone wants to visit that hot, sticky, humid, wasteland of a peninsula is beyond me. Then add to the fact that the only people actually around are retirees and tourists and you have all the trappings of a hellhole.
  • "and now to Wii Fit â" which according to some initial rumors is selling out across the globe in its debut"

    So now it can join the Wii in the vaunted ranks of "perpetually sold out" :)

    What the hell. I've got karma to burn :)

  • by Kohath (38547)
    There are many game designers out there making good games.

    Walt Disney didn't have 20 competitors who were arguably as good and as successful as he was.
    • by westlake (615356)
      Walt Disney didn't have 20 competitors who were arguably as good and as successful as he was.

      MGM had Hanna and Barbera, Tex Avery. Warner, Chuck Jones and the other denizens of Termite Terrace. Paramount, Max Fleischer.

      The difference is that Disney was willing to take animation into feature production. He was willing to invest in the talent, training and technology that would make that possible.

  • by moosesocks (264553) on Sunday May 25, 2008 @04:21PM (#23538037) Homepage
    If I recall correctly, Disney wasn't particularly well-liked by his employees or colleagues.

    A creative force to be reckoned with, to be sure. However, not a terribly ethical individual on the other hand.

    I can easily see how the analogy works, though I'm not quite sure I'd like to be compared to Walt Disney....
    • by bomanbot (980297)
      Good point about that not being the best comparison, especially since Miyamoto always gets described as very humble and friendly and is well-respected by his peers.

      IIRC, Sid Meier (of Civilization fame) even said that Miyamoto is sort of a role model for him, which I think is high praise.
    • by mqduck (232646)
      Walt Disney, the gentle genius behind Mickey Mouse and Disneyland, loved and cared about almost all the peoples of the world. And he, in turn, was beloved by the world... except in 1938, when he was criticized for his controversial cartoon "Nazi Supermen Are Our Superiors".
      • You bring up something I'd forgotten completely.

        During WWII, Disney was commissioned to create a number of short films to aid/promote the war effort, along with several PSAs and the like.

        A while back, a friend and I watched through a DVD of these shorts, and they were absolutely fascinating. While several of them would prove to be quite iconic, some were astonishingly offensive. I give enormous kudos to Disney for having the balls to have provided an essentially uncensored glimpse into the past. (I'm tol
    • If I recall correctly, Disney wasn't particularly well-liked by his employees or colleagues. A creative force to be reckoned with, to be sure. However, not a terribly ethical individual on the other hand.
      Oh, he was a demanding SOB, no doubt about that. But to call him unethical... I don't recall any actions that would warrant that label.
    • by Rolman (120909)
      I actually find this comparison offensive. Walt Disney had many interesting projects, but he could never hold a candle to Miyamoto's genius. Nintendo has almost always created their own stuff from scratch and most of it is Shigeru's. Some very rare cases involve other creators bringing original stuff to Nintendo (Pokemon comes to mind).

      In contrast, most of the stories depicted in Disney movies were created by someone else. Miyamoto usually doesn't take something from the public domain to try to re-convert i
  • Why not (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fan of lem (1092395) on Sunday May 25, 2008 @04:27PM (#23538079) Journal
    Hayao Miyazaki [wikipedia.org]?
    • This was my first reaction as well. I guess I don't get the comparison of Miyamoto to Disney, I mean one guy made feature length animation films and the other made video games for crying out loud! If anyone deserves a comparison to Disney it's Miyazaki for his ability to visually tell a story.

    • by Khaed (544779)
      I get the feeling it's how well known his characters are. I imagine far, far more people know who Mario is than any one of Miyazaki's characters.
  • he almost comes across as just another salaryman (though a particularly creative and happy one) with a wife and two school-age children at home near Kyoto. He is not tabloid fodder, and he seems to maintain a relatively nondescript lifestyle


    Wow, that's the exact same with me, except I don't have the fame.

  • by SanityInAnarchy (655584) <ninja@slaphack.com> on Sunday May 25, 2008 @04:43PM (#23538167) Journal

    âoeI feel that people like Mario and people like Link and the other characters weâ(TM)ve created not for the characters themselves, but because the games they appear in are fun,â he said. âoeAnd because people enjoy playing those games first, they come to love the characters as well.â
    That sums it up perfectly. He's the polar opposite of games like Final Fantasy, where the characters and story are the most memorable parts, and gameplay supports them.

    It fits in nicely with the reason the Wii works -- it's about gameplay, and everything else is secondary.
  • by Jackie_Chan_Fan (730745) on Sunday May 25, 2008 @06:09PM (#23538701)
    Learn about Hayao Miyazaki, then watch all of Studio Ghibli's work.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hayao_Miyazaki [wikipedia.org]

    Also do yourself a huge favor and see Grave of Fireflies by Isao Takahata. It's a Studio Ghibli film by Miyasaki's long time friend and partner. Its incredible, especially since its based on a real story.

    Learn about Isao Takahata here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Takahata_Isao [wikipedia.org]

    • by zobier (585066)
      Everyone should at least see: Laputa: Castle in the Sky, My Neighbor Totoro, Kiki's Delivery Service, Spirited Away & Howl's Moving Castle.
      • How can you leave Princess Mononoke out of that list!?

        I wasnt a fan of Howl's moving Castle. It wasnt a great Miyazaki film.

        I also recommend, Naussica, and Whisper of the Heart.

        • Princess Mononoke was the first one I saw, and it annoyed me so much that I didn't bother watching anything else of his until this year. It took My Neighbor Totoro to convince me that I actually do like some of his stuff. Mononoke came across as a bunch of hippie-dippie, femi-nazi, Luddite bullshit to me and just irritated me more and more as it went on. Visually it was well done, although not really my preferred style, but the characters mostly annoyed me, and the plot was ridiculous. I enjoyed Totoro
          • heheh Hate to break it to you, but the message or theme whatever you want to call it, is very much Miyazaki and is also apart of many of his other films. All of his films have a bit of conserving wildlife, nature, the environment etc. Spirited Away is a great film about personal growth but there is a segment of the film that deals with nature conservation etc.

            I can see the Femi-Nazi's in Mononoke but it doesnt bother me much as i know its not his message. Infact i beleive if i remember right, was that the m
            • In general, I'm fine with and even enjoy those kinds of themes in movies/books/TV shows/games. I actually really liked the Shinto/respect for nature themes in My Neighbor Totoro, for example, and Jade from Beyond Good and Evil is one of my favorite new characters in the past few years. Something about how it was presented in Mononoke felt forced and overbearing to me, though. I wish I could explain it better, but it's been a while since I saw it. I'm still hopeful about some of the other movies, since p
    • I would recommend that you only rent Graveyard of the Fireflies. I, and everyone I know whose seen it haven't been able to get the stomach up to watch it more than once. Something you should see, but very, very hard to watch.
  • I'd recommend Slashdotters (especially from the UK) have a look at a 2000 documentary called Thumb Candy [wikipedia.org], presented by Ian Lee. It is about the history of computer games, and it has an interview with Miyamoto. Search for 'Thumb Candy' on YouTube to see it.

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