This is the 1985-1989 page of the Shigeru Miyamoto Archive.

1985-1989 | 1990-1994 | 1995-1999 | 2000-2004 | 2005-2009 | 2010-2014 | 2015-2019 | 2020-2024

 

1986

Famimaga (interview with Masanobu Endo)

Publication Date: February, 1986 (translated February 27, 2023)

Subject(s): Mario’s origins, game design

Format: Transcribed interview

People: Masanobu Endo, Shigeru Miyamoto

Link: https://shmuplations.com/miyamotoxendo/

Archive Link: https://web.archive.org/web/20230227180839/https://shmuplations.com/miyamotoxendo/

Scans:

Translator: shmuplations

Notes: The scans are by Gaming Alexandria.

Summary: He’s a big fan of Xevious and Tower of Druaga, but he got stuck on floor 60.

Lode Runner is a fresh, novel game.

Donkey Kong Jr. Math is a good time with two people, Nintendo employees play it.

He originally called Mario “Mister Video”. He struggled with the design, Mario got a mustache to show the nose better, and overalls for his running animation. His wish was for Mario to keep being used in Nintendo games.

A president of a game company keeps saying that games are movies.

He’s not a programmer but he offered suggestions when the programmer of Super Mario Bros. got stuck. It’s a bit of a problem if a game designer doesn’t understand programming at all. He’s disliked by the programmers since he makes small changes during development. People say that you’ll have a mountain of work if you work for him.

TV directors would say that you should try a variety of things, just join a studio if you want to be a director. It applies to being a game designer, too.

When he had more time he’d play pachinko or bluegrass music.

He’d never ridden a motorcycle when he made Excitebike.

He’s looking forward to seeing what kind of games the next generation makes.

The Famicom Disk System will have better audio and it will be cheaper. We may see whole new types of games.

 

Famimaga Q & A (untranslated from Japanese)

Publication Date: May 2, 1986

Subject(s): The Legend of Zelda

Format: Q & A

People: Unknown questioners, Takashi Tezuka, Shigeru Miyamoto

Scans:

Notes: Via Hyrule Interviews. The scans were done by Gaming Alexandria

 

Famimaga Q & A (untranslated from Japanese)

Publication Date: May 16, 1986

Subject(s): The Legend of Zelda

Format: Q & A

People: Unknown questioners, Takashi Tezuka, Shigeru Miyamoto

Scans:

Notes: Via Hyrule Interviews. The scans were done by Gaming Alexandria

 

Famimaga Q & A (untranslated from Japanese)

Publication Date: June 6, 1986

Subject(s): The Legend of Zelda

Format: Q & A

People: Unknown questioners, Takashi Tezuka, Shigeru Miyamoto

Scans:

Notes: Via Hyrule Interviews. The scans were done by Gaming Alexandria

 

Famimaga Q & A (untranslated from Japanese)

Publication Date: June 20, 1986

Subject(s): The Legend of Zelda

Format: Q & A

People: Unknown questioners, Takashi Tezuka, Shigeru Miyamoto

Scans:

Notes: Via Hyrule Interviews. The scans were done by Gaming Alexandria

 

The Leader-Post – Electronic game hero is the rage in Japan

Publication Date: September 2, 1986

Subject(s): Mario’s name, Luigi’s name

Format: Transcribed interview

People: Unnamed Reuters interviewer, Shigeru Miyamoto

Scans: 

Link: https://news.google.com/newspapers?id=LYlWAAAAIBAJ&sjid=VkENAAAAIBAJ&pg=3477,183775&hl=en

Archive Link: https://web.archive.org/web/20231216060147/https://news.google.com/newspapers?id=LYlWAAAAIBAJ&sjid=VkENAAAAIBAJ&pg=3477,183775&hl=en

Notes: This article is by news agency Reuters, and the interview is described as being via telephone. This is currently the earliest known interview with Mr. Miyamoto that was originally presented in English. In all other interviews Mr. Miyamoto describes Mario as being named after Mario Segale.

Summary: Mario’s appearance came to him from the fantasy and romance stories he enjoys. Mario needed bold features.

Mario was named after an Italian caretaker at a small New York hotel that Nintendo employees stayed at.

They needed similar characters to compete, and “Ruiji” is Japanese for “similar”. Luigi is a Chaplinesque hero.

 

 

1988

Terebi Game Denshi Yuugi Taizen

Publication Date: May 30, 1988

Subject(s): Becoming a game designer, making games, Super Mario Bros., The Legend of Zelda

Format: Transcribed interview

People: Tsunekazu Ishihara (presumably), Shigeru Miyamoto

Link: https://shmuplations.com/miyamoto1989/

Archive Links: https://web.archive.org/web/20170330031840/http://shmuplations.com/miyamoto1989/

https://archive.org/details/tv-games/tv-games/page/n11/mode/2up

Translator: shmuplations

Notes: Terebi Game Denshi Yuugi Taizen (Video Games – Television Games Encyclopedia according to machine translation) is a book about video game history. The author on the Internet Archive’s page is given as “Video Game Museum Project”, and it is also described as “planned” by Tsunekazu Ishihara.

Summary: He’s somewhere in between an artist and an engineer. He aspires to be an entertainer.

He wanted to make toys, but the popularity of Space Invaders made Nintendo focus more on games.

Making a game can take from six months to over a year. It depends on how complete the design is to start with and how much content the game has. Adding pre-development it can take one to two years to make a game.

Their games take six to 12 people to make. Super Mario Bros. took eight people.

He won’t comment on other media he likes so as to not give away their future games. He likes being athletic and wants to quit smoking.

Mario has a mustache and overalls to make him seem more alive and individual. Mario and Luigi’s names were added by Nintendo of America.

They wanted Super Mario Bros. use the best aspects of Donkey Kong and to be a final celebration of cartridge games.

He wanted The Legend of Zelda to give you the sense of exploring a city for the first time. He wanted the player to identify with the character and get lost and immersed. He feels responsible for the rise in mean-spirited games.

He blushes at hearing he’s being called a genius. He’s a normal person.

He wants to make games that are like toys and can be explored freely.

Video games are just a job in one sense, but he’s also a player.

 

 

1989

Unknown (interview with Yuji Horii)

Publication Date: 1989

Subject(s): Dragon Quest IV, The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, game development, silent protagonists

Format: Transcribed interview

People: Yuji Horii, Shigeru Miyamoto

Links: https://glitterberri.com/miyamoto-horii-discussion/

https://www.siliconera.com/origins-of-the-legend-of-zelda-a-link-to-the-past-and-dragon-quest-iv/

https://www.siliconera.com/miyamoto-asks-horii-do-you-think-rpgs-will-become-a-substitute-for-novels/

Archive Links: https://web.archive.org/web/20230210012154/https://glitterberri.com/miyamoto-horii-discussion/

https://web.archive.org/web/20200601193535/https://www.siliconera.com/origins-of-the-legend-of-zelda-a-link-to-the-past-and-dragon-quest-iv/

https://web.archive.org/web/20200229030629/https://www.siliconera.com/miyamoto-asks-horii-do-you-think-rpgs-will-become-a-substitute-for-novels/

Translator: GlitterBerri

Notes: I first found this discussion on Siliconera, but later found it was GlitterBerri’s work. I have included both sources. This discussion may be from Yuji Horii’s book Rainbow-Colored Dip Switches: Famicom Industry Quest. The first part is Mr. Miyamoto asking questions about Dragon Quest IV, there’s not much to summarize on his end, but check out the links if you’re interested in its development.

Summary: He’s working on four Super Nintendo Entertainment System games, from simple to huge.

The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past is going to return to the style of the original. He’s been saying the third The Legend of Zelda game will include the protagonist, who is an elf and fighter, a magic user, and a girl. The fairy in Zelda II: The Adventure of Link was designed for the third Zelda game.  The girl would be a fairy that could do reconnaissance.

He’s not picky about the stories in his games, action games just have stories to make them a bit more interesting.

He’d like to wait until Dragon Quest comes out to release the next Zelda.

They started A Link to the Past as an action game. Role-playing games have a set structure and anyone can make the overworld. Some players prefer a good story, others prefer new features.

Game structures are being improved by combining genres.

Because of deadlines he has to release games even if he finds out they contain something similar to another game. Ghosts ‘n Goblins released in arcades while they were making Super Mario Bros., and you don’t die in one hit in that game either. But it break the game to remove it at that point.

He tells people what to do and the programmers tell him if it’s possible or not. They start development with three or four people and add 20 more when get into trouble. People wouldn’t have anything to do if they added them too early.

They try to reduce the dungeon difficulty when they’re done. They make the second stage first and first stage last.

Some scenes make you feel like you’re doing everything, and others pull you against your will. He dislikes taking control away. He doesn’t like how Mario enters the castle on his own after you slide down the flagpole. Zelda II didn’t have good cutscenes.

There’s a difference between solving something by yourself and lucking upon the answer.

There’s been talk of a Famicom network. But there’s still the problem of players seeing a huge phone bill. They’ll do something interesting  when everyone can access networks easily.

He wants to make a game where you raise a child. The child would have to be taught to speak and they’d get smarter over time. Then Puppy Love came out in America. He also wants to make a game for fathers.

 

The Stars of Famicom Games

Publication Date: 1989

Subject(s): Making puppets, biggest worry

Format: Transcribed interview

People: Mitsuteru Shimaguchi, Eiichi Murata, Shigeru Miyamoto

Link: https://www.chrismcovell.com/secret/weekly/Stars_of_the_Family_Computer.html

Archive Links: https://web.archive.org/web/20231209192538/https://www.chrismcovell.com/secret/weekly/Stars_of_the_Family_Computer.html

https://archive.org/details/The-Stars-of-Famicom-Games

Scans: 

Translator: Chris M. Covell

Notes: Chris M. Covell scanned and translated this children’s picture book, which contains a tour of Nintendo’s offices and interviews with Shigeru Miyamoto, Takashi Tezuka, Koji Kondo, Toshihiko Nakago, and Hideki Konno. The book was released in late 1989, but a calendar on the wall implies the authors toured Nintendo in July.

The Video Game Library gives the name of this book as “Protagonists of Famicom Games: Production and Distribution of Game Software”.

Summary: As a child he wanted to make puppets like the ones he saw on Chirolin Village and the Walnut Tree. Now he makes games for children around the world.

His biggest worry is keeping players from being bored.

 

Beep

Publication Date: March, 1989

Subject(s): Childhood dream jobs, joining Nintendo, advice to game designers

Format: Transcribed interview

People: Unknown Beep interviewer, Shigeru Miyamoto

Link: https://shmuplations.com/success1989/

Archive Link: https://web.archive.org/web/20191202001047/http://shmuplations.com/success1989/

Translator: shmuplations

Notes: Mr. Miyamoto was one of 12 developers interviewed as part of a “Success Story” feature.

Summary: He graduated from Kanazawa College with a degree in industrial design.

As a child he watched Chirorin Village and the Walnut Tree and Accidental Gourd Island. He wanted to make marionettes like they had in the shows. He wanted to be a manga artist in middle school.

He wanted to make toys so he applied to Nintendo. They were making the Color TV-Game 15 when he joined and he was assigned to work on video games. Donkey Kong, Devil World, and Zelda II: The Adventure of Link were all important periods of his career.

His most memorable game was Donkey Kong, where he worked under Gunpei Yokoi.

He’s found success by making games that he wants to make that also line up with what the market needs. No matter how good your team is, you won’t make a good game if you don’t have a clear direction. The lead creator has to keep sight of that vision.

He’ll probably still be making things in 10 years.

People in creative fields should find a job that realizes their potential. It’s important to refine your sensibilities, you can’t just mimic what exists. Follow your curiosity and have many different experiences.

 

1985-1989 | 1990-1994 | 1995-1999 | 2000-2004 | 2005-2009 | 2010-2014 | 2015-2019 | 2020-2024