Shigeru Miyamoto recently did a long interview with Japanese gaming magazine Famitsu, and various highlights of the conversation are now coming out by way of Japanese Nintendo. Among other things, Miyamoto reflected with some humble sorrow on being identified as a Person of Cultural Merit in Japan recently, and he also shared some amusing anecdotes of how PR/advertising worked in the earliest days of video games at Nintendo.
Miyamoto is reluctant to accept all the praise for the impact he has had on the video game industry because it was a team effort, a team with whom he is still intimately connected:
Games are not created by a single person, so I’m very sorry for receiving this honour personally. The members with whom I started developing games together from almost 40 years ago are still developing together with me even now, while cooperating with developers all around the world. I’m deeply grateful that this team – which has a sense of stability – is getting valued, and also for video games to be given spotlight as Japanese culture. I shall continue devoting myself to make people worldwide smile even from hereafter.
And on a lighter note, at one point in the interview Miyamoto discussed how Nintendo used to do PR for its handheld Game & Watch games. He said he had his illustrator friends bring Game & Watch to various publications to show it off, and Miyamoto said he was told, “What a strange company where PR is done by developers instead of promotion staff.” However, when a computer magazine finally started covering video games, that generated excitement at Nintendo.
Finally, one more notable thing Miyamoto discusses is the age when games finally went “mainstream” around the time of Wii and Nintendo DS. He cites the ability of these consoles to create family experiences as one reason that games went mainstream. A child being able to create a Mii out of their grandfather and share it with him created an inimitable bonding experience, for example. (This sentiment precisely echoes a recent feature by our A.K. Rahming about Miis’ legacy.)
Otherwise, Miyamoto repeats recent sentiments he’s had, such as lamenting how parents are okay with kids watching Disney movies but not playing games.
In any case, what do you think of Shigeru Miyamoto’s reluctance to accept a pedestal at the top of the video game pantheon? It’s true that creating a great game is a team effort, but… well, this is a pretty special dude we’re talking about.