This is the 1990-1994 page of the Shigeru Miyamoto Archive.

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Rainbow-Colored Dip Switches: Famicom Industry Quest

Publication Date: 1990

Subject(s): Super Famicom shortages, F-Zero, controller buttons, The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, Dragon Quest

Format: Transcribed interview

People: Unnamed interviewer, Yuji Horii, Shigeru Miyamoto


Archive Link:

Translator: shmuplations

Notes: This book is a collection of essays by Yuji Horii, and also includes some discussions with other video game developers. You can read slightly more about it at The Video Game Library. Yuji Horii and Mr. Miyamoto also spoke in 1989.

Summary: It’s so hard to get a Super Famicom due to production shortages that they held a lottery at Nintendo so an employee could get one. Even the RF cables are in short supply. They didn’t include an AV cable to keep costs down, but they made sure to include two controllers so as not to change what kinds of games developers make.

F-Zero isn’t an F1 game due to the director’s tastes, and so they wouldn’t have to animate tires. They would have needed to show all four tires during drifting, and that wasn’t feasible. Super Mario Bros. was made so people playing games for the first time could have fun. Mario games keep getting more complicated and he’s worried Super Mario World is too hard, so he wanted to make sure F-Zero was friendly to beginners. Shigesato Itoi made it to Bowser on his own, so anyone can.

In America they made it so that in Super Mario Bros. 3 if you get hit as raccoon Mario you become big Mario instead of little Mario. In Super Mario World they tinkered a lot with the dropping item system. They removed some controls and moves.

There’s a lot of buttons on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System’s controller compared to the previous console. They put A and B together, then wanted another easy to remember group and used X and Y. There were other suggestions like 12, 3, 6, and 9 o’clock.

The theme of The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past is real-time action-adventure game. The Zelda series has never used the term role-playing game to describe itself, though is does use some elements, like how your power progresses. This is to help poor players. He wanted your stats in Zelda II: The Adventure of Link to go up to 16, to make it easier.

They can’t fudge some things with the Super Nintendo that they could before. He wants A Link to the Past to be so gorgeous that players will just want to run around.

He has played all four Dragon Quest games. Dragon Quest IV is a great game. The dialogue in Dragon Quest III and IV made the characters feel alive.

He was obsessed with Tetris for a while. Some of their developers are obsessed with Dr. Mario.

The large amount of RAM the Super Nintendo has is the biggest allure to developers. Sprite scaling and rotation are possible.

Games aren’t just for your eyes and hands, they should involve the ears and your whole body.


Unknown (Nintendo Kyoto offices interview, untranslated from Japanese)

Publication Date: 1990

Subject(s): Super Mario Bros. 3

Format: Interview

People: Unknown interviewer, Shigeru Miyamoto


Notes: The subtitles contain machine translated English. Contains footage from inside Nintendo’s offices. Uploaded by YouTube user Sir Mix-A-Lot Rare Music.


Nintendo Power – The Making of Super Mario Bros. 3

Publication Date: January, 1990

Subject(s): Super Mario Bros. 3

Format: Transcribed interview

People: Unnamed Nintendo Power interviewer, Shigeru Miyamoto


Notes: The profile on Mr. Miyamoto claims he is known as “Dr. Miyamoto” to his fans, a dubious assertion.

Summary: There’s no funny story behind Raccoon Mario, it worked well and fit in.

Talking with other designers helps him with ideas, which can even come during a hot bath.

They wanted Super Mario Bros. 3 to be a game everyone can enjoy, no matter their skill level.

They are proud of the magical wonderland and dastardly enemies they made.

He’s not famous but people write to him and ask for photos. Coming up with your own ideas is key to making games. Keeping up with popular culture will help you come up with ideas. Assembly language is essential for programmers.


The Money Programme – NINTENDO and the JAPANESE SOFTWARE boom

Publication Date: March 25, 1990

Subject(s): Working at Nintendo

Format: Interview (dubbed)

People: Unnamed The Money Programme interviewer, Shigeru Miyamoto


Notes: Footage of Nintendo offices starts at 3:03 and the narrator says cameras have never been allowed in before. There is a lot more talk about Nintendo and the Japanese gaming industry that is not part of Mr. Miyamoto’s interview. Uploaded by Youtube user BBC Archive.

Summary: They’re not paid glamorously, but Nintendo pays for and encourages them to go to museums and to see movies to get inspired. Everyone is happy to work there, especially with the prestige.


Nintendo Official Guidebook: Super Mario World

Publication Date: November 21, 1990 (approximate)

Subject(s): Super Mario World

Format: Transcribed interview

People: Takashi Tezuka, Toshihiko Nakago, Hideko Konno, Koji Kondo, Shigeru Miyamoto


Archive Link:


Translator: shmuplations

Summary: He was the producer, watching everyone and interjecting his ideas.

About 10 people made Super Mario World, most of which worked on Super Mario Bros.

Without the scrolling and color restrictions it was easier to depict things. Before they started on Super Mario World they ported Super Mario Bros. 3, and it was the same game. This made him realize they had to make something new. The memory limitations were stricter than Mario 3 because the colors took more memory.

He had the Yoshi concept art on his desk for five years.

With the last two Super Mario games they have been able to focus on polish and adding fun things rather than getting the movement to feel right.

Super Mario 3 targeted experienced players, while Super Mario World is friendly to beginners.

It’s difficult to make an action game that players of all skill levels can play. The best method is letting the player adjust the difficulty themselves while playing, like with the dotted-line blocks in Super Mario World.

The Mario and Zelda teams are very similar and they bounce ideas off each other.

He thinks The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past will be done by May 5.

He wants console games to be something children feel affection for. It’s awesome that kids have worlds they can visit within their game libraries. Parents think reading a book is good and proper for their children, but feel guilty if they play a video game. He’d like to make a game that makes a mother happy that their child is old enough to play games.


The Seattle Times – Move To Level Two – Ho A Hurdle, Dodge A Fireball On The Way To Finding The Spirit Of America’s Favorite Toy

Publication Date: December 16, 1990

Subject(s): Children playing too many video games, money

Format: Transcribed interview

People: O. Casey Corr, Shigeru Miyamoto


Archive Link:

Notes: This interview doesn’t contain many direct quotes so it’s difficult to tell what was said by Mr. Miyamoto.

Summary: Pull the plug if your kids are playing video games too much. People talking about video games being bad for kids reminds him how they talked about rock and roll.

He makes a modest amount of money, but good facilities and coworkers are more important. But more money is better.

He tries to find a commonality in his and the player’s feelings.

Donkey Kong took four to six months to make, while Super Mario Bros. 3 took 18 and cost around $800,000.




Mario Mania – The Man Behind Mario

Publication Date: August, 1991

Subject(s): Mario’s design, Mario’s future, Super Mario World

Format: Transcribed interview

People: Shigeru Miyamoto

Archive Link:


Notes: Mario Mania was a player’s guide for Super Mario World published by Nintendo Power.

Summary: He started with Nintendo in 1977 as a designer.

Mario has a mustache and a hat because they showed up better, overalls to show his arm movement, and white gloves to contrast with backgrounds. He wanted Mario to be a character that works hard and is shorter than the princesses. Mario’s appearance changes because different artists work on him and the technology improves, maybe one day he’ll have metallic clothes.

The Koopa Kids were modeled after the designers of Super Mario Bros. 3.

Sixteen people worked on Super Mario World and it took about three years.

He has never been recognized in the street.

They wanted Mario to ride a dinosaur in Super Mario Bros., but couldn’t make it work.

He isn’t sure there will be another game in the Mario series.

Challenge is the most important thing, like trying to beat the game without collecting a coin.




Famitsu/Electric Brain – ZELDA – THE MAN BEHIND THE GAME!/Super play – Shigeru Miyamoto: The Man Behind Zelda

Publication Date: January 1992 (Famitsu), Early 1992 (Electric Brain), December, 1992 (Super Play)

Subject(s): The Legend of Zelda, Zelda II: The Adventure of Link, The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past

Format: Transcribed interview

People: Unnamed Famitsu interviewer, Shigeru Miyamoto


Archive Links:


Translator: GlitterBerri and shmuplations

Notes: I learned of the Electric Brain version of this interview from a Nintendo Life article, but the original source had been deleted. However, I found a proper scan of the issue here.

I found out later (after I had written the summary) via shmuplations that this was originally a Famitsu interview, which Electric Brain makes no mention of. Shmuplations credits much of the translation to GlitterBerri, who was had access to an incomplete version of the interview. I have improved the summary based on the additional translations. This also seems to be a different January Famitsu interview than the next entry.

In December Super Play ran a portion of this interview in their second issue. They don’t explicitly claim that they conducted the interview, but do thank Onn Lee of Electric Brain.

Summary: The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past comes out this Spring, but it hasn’t been announced yet.

The Japanese version of The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past uses all 8 megabits of cartridge space, but the English localization was going to take an extra megabit. Eventually they managed to fit it all in. They wanted to release A Link to the Past as a launch title, but it ended up taking a year longer.

At Nintendo a handful of people will work on a game for about a year, and they add more people as time goes on. The small team does silly experiments and figures out the hardware limits. People asked him what he’d do when his body gives out, but he always got eight hours of sleep. Sleep is important for everyone, but it’s also bad for someone to leave at 5 PM.

They decided to keep the The Legend of Zelda part of the title, but considered some other names like Ganon’s Revenge.

They wanted to fix the issues the original The Legend of Zelda had and do what they were unable to do.

The original was based on swords and magic, you could save and load, you could buy items, and there were complex mazes. These were novel ideas at the time, but now they are standard.

For some people Zelda are adventure games disguised as role-playing games, for others they are adventure games disguised as action games. The latter group may feel they have to use the strongest weapon on the boss.

A Link to the Past takes around 40 hours to beat, but the record at Nintendo is around five hours. It was originally more open-ended, he wanted players to get lost and take a year to beat the game.

If you hear a hollow sound when you hit a wall with your sword you can bomb it.

They scrapped mechanics where you could set fire in the field and it would spread, and digging a ditch with the shovel. They’ll never run out of ideas, genres can still be created.

Ideas are limitless, a game designer has to figure out how to make them work.

A game is more than the time you spend playing it, it’s also when you’re away from it and thinking about it.


Famitsu – SNES CD-ROM – Flash Interview With Shigeru Miyamoto

Publication Date: January, 1992 (translated January 24, 2017)

Subject(s): Super NES CD-ROM

Format: Transcribed interview

People: Unknown Famitsu interviewer, Shigeru Miyamoto


Archive Link:


Translator: GlitterBerri

Notes: The scans are originally from Game Jouhou & Blog. This interview took place at Winter CES 1992 which took place January 9-13.

Summary: He has been told to say “no comment” to anything concerning the CD-ROM. He doesn’t know what has been announced.

The Super Nintendo Entertainment System changed the world of gaming. There are a lot of small PC developers at CES because 16 bit consoles allow them to do what they want to do.

The industry has illusions about the CD-ROM. Not every genre will suit it, only 15-30 out of 100. It would make him sad if developers changed their cartridge game into a CD-ROM game. A Mario game with 1000 levels would be cruel. They have plans for a Mario CD-ROM game that could only be done on CD-ROM.


Rolling Stone – Mario’s Big Brother

Publication Date: January 9, 1992

Subject(s): Creativity, limitations

Format: Transcribed interview

People: David Sheff, Shigeru Miyamoto


Archive Links:


Notes: Scans are by Vault1541. There are only a few direct quotes in this article.

Summary: If you’re on a crowded street and you see something that shouldn’t be there you’ll either shake your head or accept it. If it’s a doorway to another place and you go inside, you might find the unexpected.

The Legend of Zelda should capture the state of mind of a child entering a cave alone.

Players may go past secrets, thinking there is nothing there, but it is very satisfying when they do find it.

There’s an agony to making things that fit within limitations, but having no limits would be a greater agony.

It’s hard for him not to think of other worlds.


Shogakukan A Link to the Past Strategy Guide (Part 1)

Publication Date: January 10, 1992 (translated May 28, 2011)

Subject(s): The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past

Format: Transcribed interview

People: Shigeru Miyamoto


Archive Link:

Translator: GlitterBerri

Notes: This was part of an official guide that was only released in Japan. The original Japanese follows the English translation in the link.

Summary: He was the producer and arranged everything in The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past. The theme is the player feeling like they are doing everything themselves. There was a year of planning, a year of experimentation, and a year of production. Some things seemed impossible at first, but seemed more possible as other things came together. There were some walking animations and poses that were useless to the player. He pays no mind to what is going well, only what isn’t.

When soldiers can’t see Link they’ll still come running if they hear something. Other stupider enemies just come at Link without heeding obstacles. There was an argument about smarter enemies being weaker than dumber ones.

When players brag about their tunic it means they’re attached to their character, and that is why he wanted the player to choose their character’s name. The game got so full of puzzles that he wasn’t sure it was an adventure anymore.

There were originally going to be three worlds, but players would have gotten confused.

Deciding on the difficulty of the puzzles was difficult since some people can find hints and some can’t. People can take a minute or hours to solve a puzzle.

There are lots of details to discover by accident. People will be happy if they come back a year later and discover something new. But if there’s too many then players will forget what they’re doing.

They considered using the NES Zapper for The Legend of Zelda, but many people didn’t own one.

There wasn’t a market for fantasy games with swords and magic when The Legend of Zelda came out, so it had that appeal. Now they are forced to keep using swords and magic in the series. There’s no challenge in swords and magic. A constant stream of sidequests isn’t good. He wanted quests where you had to think, not just deliver medicine to a girl. There were actions like Eat and Dance early on.

He left Koji Kondo to do the music, but he’d tell Kondo if he didn’t like the final result. Near the end they ran out of memory for music.


Family Computer Magazine

Publication Date: June, 1992

Subject(s): Porco Rosso, movies, video games, The 7th Guest

Format: Transcribed interview

People: Hayao Miayzaki, Shigeru Miyamoto


Translator: RyiSnow

Notes: RyiSnow translated this interview and made a video where he reads each person’s responses and shows the original Japanese text on screen.

Summary: He enjoyed seeing Porco Rosso, thought it’s difficult to explain why. It’s hard to convey speed in video games the way the dogfight scenes do.

Their games start from random conversation, they don’t make a script first. They used to stay at the office until 2 a.m.

Not many in their industry can bring development to a close properly, which makes him worry.

When he doesn’t know where to go his co-workers think for him. When they’re done with a game they ask if he had everything planned, but he doesn’t know. He does what seems fun and follows his instincts. Chaos is fun, it adds charm.

Video games are tools but they aren’t the same as movies even though they share TVs, scripts, and pictures. People will watch a boring movie, but get bored of a video game quickly.

They may be able to make movie-like games with CDs. They could make a 30 hour game that’s an interactive movie.

Players want to walk the right path, but they also want challenge. Sometimes he feels like things go too smoothly in movies. A game that was in between a game and a movie could be interesting.

The developers of The 7th Guest scanned an entire house to render it in 3D. They are thinking about what to do in such a virtual environment. It took them about two years to make graphics.

Letting players feel an object and its temperature can be truly immersive. Appealing to the five senses with visuals and audio.

You can move the camera above a chandelier in The 7th Guest and look down on the characters, it’s inspiring.


Super Mario Kart Official Strategy Guide

Publication Date: August 27, 1992 (approximate)

Subject(s): Super Mario Kart

Format: Transcribed interview

People: Hideki Konno, Tadashi Sugiyama, Masato Kimura, Hajime Yajina, Shigeru Miyamoto


Archive Link:

Translator: shmuplations

Notes: I was unable to find the name of this guide that never left Japan.

Summary: He was the producer of Super Mario Kart. He more observed than participated in the development.

Early experiments started in Fall of 1990 and main development started April 1991.

They went to Nemu no Sato for a day of go-karting.

Super Mario Kart was originally a lighthearted car racing game, which evolved naturally to go-karts.

They wanted there to be more to the racing than cornering. No one was allowed to play 2-player mode during development because then it becomes about the competition. If 1-player was fun, so would 2-player.

They had to add time trial mode since it’s a racing game, but they left it for last. They about battle mode the most. It helped reinforce the idea that this isn’t a racing game, it’s a game where you drive a go-kart with your friends.

It was very difficult to get the feel of the go-karts right, they couldn’t imitate a real car. He gave some advice that didn’t make sense. It wouldn’t be fun if you couldn’t drift, but they also couldn’t just slide around too much.

Super Mario Kart is intense because you don’t know what’s going to happen.

Game design isn’t work you do with your head, it’s real labor. It probably seems cool to middle and high school students, but it’s hard work.


La folie des jeux vidéo (Untranslated from French)

Publication Date: October 9, 1992

Subject(s): Unknown

Format: Interview (dubbed)

People: Unknown interviewer, Shigeru Miyamoto


Notes: There are segments with Mr. Miyamoto talking starting at 9:06 and 14:41. Includes footage of Mr. Miyamoto playing Super Mario World.


The Super Famicom

Publication Date: November 27, 1992

Subject(s): Role-playing games, The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, Dragon Quest, Final Fantasy

Format: Transcribed interview

People: Unknown The Super Famicom interviewer, Shigeru Miyamoto


Archive Link:



Translator: shmuplations

Notes: Four game designers were separately interviewed about role-playing games for this feature. I’ve included scans of what seems to be the start of the article and Mr. Miyamoto’s interview.

Summary: He thinks of Zelda as a real-time adventure, not a role-playing game. He’s not interested in things being decided by stats. Action games are better at showing your progress in skill.

They drew on some role-playing tropes for The Legend of Zelda, but they didn’t base it on anything.

The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past was not influenced by Final Fantasy, but he sees how it could look that way. It had more role-playing elements than previous Zelda games.

Dragon Quest is said to embody the traditional role-playing game, but it has lots of puzzles. What’s done with dialog in Dragon Quest is done with player action in The Legend of Zelda, that’s the main theme.

Final Fantasy emphasizes presentation, which is different from Dragon Quest and The Legend of Zelda. Final Fantasy’s cinematic approach may not continue. There’s no single process with games, which makes it hard to define what a role-playing game is.

Since Dragon Quest has its gameplay set there’s more weight put on the story. He doesn’t put much emphasis on story, he starts with the gameplay and tries to make something that can handle a good story. Video games need to feel good to play no matter how good the story is. It’s also important that the story and gameplay match.

When designing a gameplay system he makes sure they don’t add too much and get out of control. Imitating role-playing games is like tracing your favorite manga. They like to focus on finding a new idea.

They don’t think about aesthetic in isolation, it should elevate and excite. It shouldn’t be an anime veneer either, video games can do more.

He might like to make a role-playing game with an interesting setting, but he has no interest in sword and sorcery worlds. Role-playing games shouldn’t keep using the same settings or the market will be flooded.




Unknown (Star Fox essay)

Publication Date: 1993

Subject(s): Star Fox, STGs, Super FX chip

Format: Essay

People: Shigeru Miyamoto


Archive Link:

Translator: shmuplations

Notes: I couldn’t locate the origin of this essay. STG, the Japanese term for shoot ’em up or shmup, is used throughout this essay and I will be using it.

Summary: If you had to put Star Fox into a genre it would be a STG. But all other STGs have the same formula where you shoot things on a 2D plane and memorize patterns. He doesn’t want Star Fox to be thought of like that.

They didn’t feel bound by genre convention when making Star Fox, just like they never called The Legend of Zelda a role-playing game.

There have been good 3D STGs, but they aren’t really 3D. There’s no feeling of controlling something in 3D. He’s wanted to make a 3D STG for a while, especially one where you can fly in any direction.

Star Fox’s graphics look better in person than in a screenshot. They didn’t want to add too much that would interfere with the feeling that you’re flying through space.

Star Fox is hard at first, unlike most STGs that are easy at the start. It’s easy once you understand the mechanics.

They didn’t want to add characters, but the backstory included flying with other pilots. He wanted the setting to be like Star Wars, but a puppet show setting like Thunderbirds. Not realistic or deep. They added the other pilots because it’s fun to fly with them.

The Fushimi Inari-Taisha Shrine is near his office, which is associated with foxes. There’s a place in the game where you fly through arches and the path splits, that’s from the Senbon Torii path at Fushimi Inari-Taisha.

The Super FX chip can render graphics on screen itself. The Super Nintendo Entertainment System isn’t good at rendering polygons. The Super FX chip can do other things, too, it’s similar to the Amiga.

There’s value in more realistic sounds, but it’s different for visuals. Highly detailed doesn’t mean realistic. A writer uses words to make images in the reader’s mind, and games use abstract representations of things.

Video games have come of age and shouldn’t mimic movies or novels. Graphics and stories aren’t what it’s about, it’s about exploring virtual spaces.


Star Fox: Mission File Printout

Publication Date: February 21, 1993 (approximate)

Subject(s): Star Fox

Format: Essay

People: Shigeru Miyamoto


Archive Link:

Translator: GlitterBerri

Notes: Star Fox: Mission File Printout was an official guide for Star Fox. It looks like the developers were given a few questions and wrote their answers.

Summary: He was a workplace supervisor, sometimes relieving people of work, sometimes giving them more.

It took two years to make the Super FX chip, while Star Fox took one year. It was the first time they’d worked with English developers and communication was difficult at first.

Star Fox’s perspective is between that of a movie and a play. It’s less detached than a movie because you can move the camera.


Kirby’s Adventure Nintendo Official Guidebook

Publication Date: April, 1993 (approximate)

Subject(s): Kirby’s Adventure

Format: Transcribed interview

People: Masahiro Sakurai, Hiroaki Suga, Takao Shimizu, Takashi Saitou, Satoru Iwata, Shigeru Miyamoto


Archive Link:

Translator: shmuplations

Notes: A machine translation of the name of the guide is Kirby of the Stars – Story of the Fountain of Dreams Nintendo Official Guidebook.

Summary: The first time he saw a color illustration of Kirby he though pink looked good. A character like Kirby would usually be yellow, like Pac-Man.

They wanted Kirby’s name to sound like an American idol. Nintendo of America had an important lawyer named Kirby.

Beautiful sightseeing spots have mountains, rivers, or something that calls to your heart. It’s the same for games. He’d like to see more game maps drawn by people with an artist’s sensibility.


Equinox – Serious Fun

Publication Date: May 10, 1993

Subject(s): Mario’s origins, Star Fox’s origins

Format: Interview (dubbed)

People: Shigeru Miyamoto


Notes: Contains footage of early Mario planning drawings on graph paper. Uploaded by YouTube user mcbpete.

Summary: He wanted to make a fantasy world rooted in real life. Mario can jump like a real person, but higher. Their job is to help people recall their childhood memories.

Since Mario originally had to fit within 16 pixels they were limited in what they could do. His hair was three pixels, not enough for his hair to move when he jumped, so they gave him a hat. His arms needed to be a different color from his body so it would be clear when he was running, which is why he wears overalls.

There’s a nearby shrine dedicated to a fox god that can fly, which gave him the idea of a fox that flew through arches. The polygon rendering used in Star Fox makes you feel like you’re the fox. It might look boring until you play it.


A Current Affair: Nintendo / Beam Software

Publication Date: July, 1993 (approximate)

Subject(s): Wages, his mind

Format: Interview (spoken English, dubbed)

People: Unknown interviewer, Shigeru Miyamoto


Notes: This is from the Australian TV show A Current Affair, not the American one. This contains footage of Mr. Miyamoto riding his bike to work and was filmed at Nintendo’s Kyoto headquarters. Uploaded by YouTube user ArbitraryUploader.

Summary: He did not get a raise after the release of Donkey Kong and Super Mario Bros.

He has a child’s mind.


Shogakukan Link’s Awakening Strategy Guide

Publication Date: August 1, 1993 (translated May 4, 2011)

Subject(s): The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening

Format: Essay

People: Shigeru Miyamoto


Archive Link:

Translator: GlitterBerri

Notes: Members of the development team of The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening were each presented with 13 questions, though many did not answer all of them.

Summary: He produced the game and was a tester for the latter half. His hobby is making games. He’s past the age for nicknames and players should check out the mellow places.


Famitsu (Retrospective interview, untranslated from Japanese)

Publication Date: December 31, 1993

Subject(s): His career

Format: Transcribed interview

People: Unknown Famitsu interviewer, Shigeru Miyamoto


Archive Link:

Notes: In the second picture you can see an illustration of the elephant hangar that Mr. Miyamoto brought to his interview at Nintendo, as told in All Your Base Are Belong to Us: How Fifty Years of Videogames Conquered Pop Culture. Scans are by Bultro on Internet Archive.





Publication Date: 1994

Subject(s): Mario’s design, the competition, budgets

Format: Interview

People: Unknown interviewer, Shigeru Miyamoto


Translator: Game Escape

Notes: This is a segment of a French documentary that was later dubbed in German. The subtitles are in English. I couldn’t find a more precise release date than 1994. Nintendo Soup seems to have also translated this.

Summary: He is 40 years old.

He wanted to make an Italian character with a mustache. They wanted Mario to stand out so he exaggerated the mouth, nose, and eyes.

Comparing Mario and Mickey Mouse is just an idea the media had. Mickey is 50, Mario will have to be that old before we can compare them.

The real competition is between the developer and the customer.

When kids are not playing video games they are imagining them, using their sense of fantasy. This is useful as an adult.

Super Mario Bros. 3 sold 12 million in the United States and Canada, 3 million in Japan. One third of families has a game.

He is concerned about becoming less creative. Nintendo’s budgets are unlimited. Working independently would be risky. He’s not sure if he is a creator or a manager.


Introduction to Game Design

Publication Date: 1994

Subject(s): Being a game designer and director, game design, F-Zero, working with others

Format: Essay

People: Shigeru Miyamoto


Archive Link:

Translator: shmuplations

Notes: Introduction to Game Design is a Japanese book that features essays written by several people involved in the game industry. “Game system” seems to be an equivalent term for a game engine.

Summary: Making Mario didn’t feel like making a computer game, it felt like making a toy.

There’s little point in making a game that doesn’t change the gameplay system, a Mario game that just changes the levels wouldn’t be very good.

At Nintendo they start with a team of three or four working on a game and add people until they reach 20 or so. Making the new game system is 60% of the work.

They needed a new racing game for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. Early versions of F-Zero had a horizontal view., but that didn’t allow for bank curves, which wouldn’t be interesting. Adding tires would double the memory so they changed the cars to hovercrafts.

A game has two or three minutes seize the player’s heart.

They don’t add graphics until they’ve polished the core gameplay. If they can’t make the core good they throw it away. Those kinds of failures are important.

They get lots of letters from children with their game ideas, which are usually similar to Mario or Dragon Quest games with a different story. Stories are not the heart of a game, but they only come after the game system. Aspiring designers don’t need to use their imaginations on coming up with stories, they should start from the fundamentals.

Movie directors can’t refilm footage they don’t like, but games can be changed up to the very end. Since changing a small part of a game can change it drastically you can’t rest until it’s over. Don’t give up until the end.

Game directors need to know enough about programming to convince the programmers, otherwise they may evade your suggestions. When you ask a programmer why something isn’t possible, they may ask why you’d want to do that. This can reveal a new way to solve the problem.

You have to have thick skin in game design, you will be sharing your work with people. Ask yourself if you truly enjoy creating things.


ゲーム攻略本 SFC カービィボウル(untranslated from Japanese)

Publication Date: 1994

Subject(s): Kirby’s Dream Course

Format: Essay

People: Kensuke Tanabe, Takashi Saito, Satoru Iwata, Shigeru Miyamoto


Archive Link:


Notes: This is from a guide for Kirby’s Dream Course. A machine translation of the title is “Game strategy book SFC Kirby Bowl”. 


Game Over: How Nintendo Conquered The World

Publication Date: March 29, 1994

Subject(s): Donkey Kong, Mario

Format: Transcribed interview

People: David Sheff, Shigeru Miyamoto

Notes: There is a lot of historical and biographical information about Mr. Miyamoto in this book, much of which probably came from interviews, but I will only be summarizing some of what is directly quoted.

Summary: Donkey Kong was meant to be not repulsive and to be the pet of a laid-back guy.

Noses say a lot about a character.

Mario had a hat partially because he’s not good at making hairstyles.

Mario makes adults feel primal, like a child. Adults are children with ethics.

While living in an apartment there was a building with a manhole cover mounted on it. He would wonder why it was there and where it led.

Some people say that video games are bad for you, but they said the same thing about rock ‘n’ roll.


Legend of Zelda: Sound and Drama

Publication Date: June 22, 1994

Subject(s): The Legend of Zelda, The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past

Format: Transcribed interview

People: Unnamed interviewer, Shigeru Miyamoto


Archive Link:

Translator: shmuplations

Notes: Legend of Zelda: Sound and Drama contains the soundtrack to The Legend of Zelda and The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past as well as an audio drama. This interview is from the liner notes.

Summary: The Legend of Zelda was made as a launch title for the Famicom Disk System. They were working on Super Mario Bros. at the same time for part of development.

They had lots of ideas for how to utilize the Disk System such as naming your character, better music, and saving your progress.

They were concerned about players figuring out what to do and solving the puzzles. They used some Super Mario Bros. programmers for the final stretch.

Zelda games are about a boy who grows into a hero. He wanted to make a game where you could explore the world. In adventure and role-playing games you advance the story with dialog, but they wanted players to experience moving the character with the controller.

He likes the Darknut soldiers, because of the name and his behavior, which was elaborate for the time. In A Link to the Past they’ll walk around until Link enters their line of sight. If Link makes a sound they’ll investigate. They had to make sure there weren’t too many on screen on once so the game wouldn’t slow down.



Donkey Kong 1994 Wonder Life Special – APE Inc. Official Nintendo Guide

Publication Date: August 20, 1994

Subject(s): Donkey Kong (1994)

Format: Transcribed interview

People: Unnamed interviewer, Takao Shimizu, Masayuki Kameyama, Yoshiaki Hoshino, Masayuki Hirashima, Hideo Kon, Takaya Imamura, Kenta Usui, Shigeru Miyamoto


Archive Link:


Translator: shmuplations

Notes: The scans were uploaded to the Internet Archive by Comfort Food Video Games.

Summary: There was talk about making a Donkey Kong game to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the first game, but all that happened was Donkey Kong Jr. being in Mario Kart. Now on the 13th anniversary they have this game.

Donkey Kong (1994) is a re-envisioning of the original.

The original Donkey Kong arcade game has a timer because there are safe spots where Mario can’t be damaged by enemies. Time attacks are a part of this new game.

The placeable ladders and platforms were from a stage building mode that was cut because it was too difficult for children to understand.

It’s difficult to keep track of fast moving objects on a Game Boy so they made Donkey Kong (1994) more of a puzzle game with levels that are about one and a half screens. This requires the levels to be dense, so it’s more fun to have puzzle elements.

Donkey Kong (1994) requires more precise movements than other Super Mario games. He wants people to memorize the levels. It will probably improve your memory and make you smarter.

Donkey Kong was originally Mario’s pet who kidnapped Pauline to anger Mario. They aren’t enemies, which is why the original arcade game isn’t about killing Donkey Kong.

The Mushroom Kingdom is perhaps just outside of Donkey Kong’s homeland. Maybe Mario met Peach there while he was still with Pauline.

Action games have two elements: completing the goal, and all the things you can do in pursuit of that goal. It’s important that it’s fun to move. They added as many different moves for Mario as possible. They decided not to unlock moves over time because it would be unfair to deny them to people who aren’t able to get very far.

They wanted to expand on how Mario would be set on fire in Mario Bros. when he touched a flame, so they added lots of reactions like that to this game.

A squirrel boss that flew around was cut.

They’d prefer players keep the default palette when playing with the Super Game Boy. They’ll reflect on why they’re so touchy if people change them.

Please try to beat the game without looking at the strategy guide and don’t just try to mash buttons.


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