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The Asian ApertureNintendo's Top Dog
POSTED BY JASON FETTERS, December 16, 2012    Share

Hayao Miyazaki has been called the Disney of Japan but there is one individual who is far more influential in the US. Studio Ghibli movies, with the backing of the mighty Disney, have been releasing Miyazaki’s movies such as Spirited Away, My Neighbor Totoro, and Princess Mononoke. The problem is that those movies usually have limited screenings and only play in major cities, which leaves children across the country content with animated movies from Pixar and Dreamworks. However one Japanese creative artist has made characters that have made a huge impact on the West. Most every American has heard of Super Mario and video game fans who remember the glory days of arcades back in the 80’s have played Donkey Kong. All these games were created by Shigeru Miaymoto, the true Disney of Japan. His characters have stood the test of time and have a long shelf life.

Shigeru Miyamoto was born in Kyoto, Japan in 1952. He used to love playing in the woods near his home and this love of adventure was put into his much beloved Zelda series. At the time that Zelda was first released in 1986, it was considered a daring move due to nonlinear game play that allowed players to wander around freely and solve riddles and puzzles. Miyamoto studied at the Kanazawa Municipal College of Industrial Arts and following his graduation, got hired at Nintendo’s headquarters in Kyoto.

He was just another engineer and finally got his initial break by helping to develop Radar Scope, a Space Invaders type game that failed miserably throughout arcades in the US. Radar Scope almost bankrupted Nintendo and the CEO, Hiroshi Yamauchi told Miyamoto to fix it. Instead of fixing Radar Scope, Shigeru created Donkey Kong, based on King Kong (1933) and the Popeye cartoons. Radar Scope arcade machines were converted to Donkey Kong and shipped to the US. Suddenly, Donkey Kong became a major hit in the early 80’s.

The Donkey Kong game featuring a little Italian plumber named Jumpman. The name for Jumpman was later changed to Mario and brother Lugi was added for Mario Brothers. Quite naturally Super Mario Brothers came next and in 1986 the game was included with the Nintendo Entertainment System, which was called Famicom in Japan. This 8-bit machine was a tremendous success in both Japan and the US and Shigeru Miyamoto was the game designer with the golden touch. Soon The Legend of Zelda was released as Miyamoto’s winning streak continued.

Years later the Nintendo 64 debuted in 1996 and Miyamoto was the go to game designer who created what many believe to be the greatest video game of all time called The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. Upon release in 1998 it sold 2.5 million copies and received perfect scores from Video Game reviewers from most of the gaming magazines in print, as well as, online sites. Ocarina of Time is frequently number 1 in greatest video games of all time polls.

At the moment Shigeru Miyamoto is contributing all his creative energies to the Wii U. Miyamoto is a master at taking each new Nintendo home console and creating breathtaking games that lead players into his wonderful imagination.

Unlike anime that appeals to a niche fan based, more people, all over the world, are playing video games and Nintendo is still a best seller thanks to Miyamoto’s wonderful characters. Each new generation of video games fans soon discover Mario Brothers, the Zelda series, Star Fox, Pikmin, and Metroid Prime, making Shigeru Miyamoto, one of the most successful game designers of all time and influential worldwide.

"The Asian Aperture" is ©2012 by Jason Fetters. All contents of Crazed Fanboy are ©2012 by Nolan B. Canova and Terence Nuzum.

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