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Nintendo: Shigeru Miyamoto’s Game Design Inspirations And Creativity

Legendary games developer Shigeru Miyamoto recently had the chance to be profiled for the LA Times.

The profile gives an interesting insight into the ideas behind the acclaimed games he’s created and also gives an insight into where Miyamoto finds his undisputed creativity and inspiration.

Early years: Growing up in the small Japanese town of Sonobe during the 1950s, Miyamoto recalled that only 1 in about 10 homes in the village had a television. The Miyamoto household was not one of them. Instead, he found entertainment in a steady stream of comic books and puppet shows.

Sources of inspiration: Miyamoto, 57, finds ideas for his digital imaginary creations in the physical world. A gardening project became the basis of Pikmin, an adventure game for Nintendo’s GameCube. A fascination with the family’s bathroom scale turned into Wii Fit, a fitness game with a wireless device that resembles the prosaic object that inspired it. And a dog training class he took when he got his sheltie puppy prompted his bestselling title Nintendogs.

Student days: Miyamoto attended Kanazawa College of Industrial Arts in Japan. Although he dutifully completed assignments, he didn’t always produce what his instructors expected. “I made a lot of strange things in school,” Miyamoto said through his interpreter, Bill Trinen. “We were given an assignment to create a chair. Most of the other students would examine chairs from a historical perspective and create a chair that was an evolution of that. When I got the assignment, I thought about what it would be like to sit on a rope. So I tied some ropes together and made a chair. I don’t think it was very comfortable.”

First job interview with Nintendo: Most job candidates would bring a resume and a portfolio of drawings or photos. Miyamoto brought clothes hangers. He had designed and made them for children who were too small to reach closet bars and too young for traditional, hooked, metal wire hangers. “I came up with a different solution,” Miyamoto said. “I made a wooden hanger that had a little cross shape which would fit into a notch on the wall. I painted pictures of elephants on them.”

The result: “Nintendo really liked them and decided to hire me,” Miyamoto said.

Advice for aspiring game designers: “It’s really important to find things that are fun and interesting to you personally, and then apply those fun aspects to a game,” Miyamoto said. “When we first got our puppy, I took him to a training class. I found out that it wasn’t a place to train your dog. It was a place to teach people how dogs behave. I thought that was interesting. As a result, I made a lot of friends who were passionate about dogs. I also started going to the pet shop to buy things for my dog. Then I thought it would be nice to make a game people can buy while they’re at the pet store.”

– LA Times profile for Shigeru Miyamoto


11 thoughts on “Nintendo: Shigeru Miyamoto’s Game Design Inspirations And Creativity”

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  2. Wow, this made me want to think outside the box for a few things. Miyamoto was very risky. He wanted to be diffrent than everybody else and look at him now. I suppose making the greatest video games of all time starts with a simple walk along the beach…

  3. Pingback: Zelda Temple » Shigeru’s Inspiration and Creativity - Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, Walkthroughs, Guides, News, Forums, and much more!

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