23 February 10
Nintendo's Shigeru Miyamoto received the Academy Fellowship at the 2010 GAME British Academy Video Games Awards.
SHIGERU MIYAMOTO, the creative force behind some of the world's most popular and enduring video games received the Academy Fellowship at the GAME British Academy Video Games Awards in 2010.
General Manager of Nintendo Entertainment, Analysis & Development, Miyamoto is celebrated globally as the “Steven Spielberg” of the gaming world and is often referred to as “the father of modern video games.” His design credits read like a who’s who of classic gaming and include: Mario Bros, Donkey Kong, The Legend of Zelda, Nintendogs and Wii Music.
The word ‘legend’ is often overused. Broadly, it's aimed at those who have had a sustained and significant impact on the development of the industry – but in the case of this year’s Fellowship recipient, it's entirely appropriate.
Shigeru Miyamoto is a name that will be familiar to people working in all spheres of video games, and undoubtedly a big number of gamers too – but if the name of one of our most treasured designers isn’t yet so universally familiar as the likes of Spielberg or Scorsese, the names of some of his creations certainly are.
Donkey Kong, Mario and Zelda have underpinned the progression of video games worldwide for nearly three decades, and propelled Nintendo to both hardware and software success on multiple occasions.
It began in 1977, when a young Miyamoto was hired by a family friend – Hiroshi Yamauchi, then president of Nintendo – as a staff artist. His early career included work on its first video games titles, Sheriff and Radar Scope, but in 1981, following a tough time breaking into the US, Nintendo's fortunes were down.
A re-working of Radar Scope was ordered by Yamauchi, who selected Miyamoto to make the conversion, and after working on a range of new options, he eventually settled on the characters and composition which became Donkey Kong.
Miyamoto-san’s legacy rivals the greatest contributions made by anybody in the history of any entertainment medium...
Two years later, Miyamoto took the lead character from his first hit and created a new identity for him – Mario. The Italian plumber has since featured in scores of spin-offs and sequels on his way to becoming one of the most iconic video games characters of all time.
As games moved into people's homes with the advent and increasing popularity of consoles – spurred on by Nintendo's own hardware offerings – Miyamoto's influence increased further as he became involved in the development of innumerable NES, Super NES, GameCube and Nintendo 64 titles, including The Legend of Zelda, Star Fox and Super Mario 64.
But arguably his greatest contribution to the video games business has been his more recent work, as swathes of people entirely new to games have embraced the DS and Wii platforms.
As well as the hugely popular Super Mario 64 DS, his creation of Nintendogs in 2005 heralded the start of a new direction for the company into wider thinking and broader appeal. That manifested itself more fully with the release of the Wii, and in particular the rise in social games such as Wii Sports and Wii Play, and more recently Wii Music.
Miyamoto-san’s legacy is not only unmatched in the video games industry, but rivals the greatest contributions made by anybody in the history of any entertainment medium. His work over the decades has inspired countless others to pick up the baton and pour out creativity of their own, and as a pillar of design genius, he can take responsibility in part for the global appeal of video games today.
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