Shigeru Miyamoto Nintendo challenge Disney Mario Mickey

You can never accuse Nintendo Creative Fellow Shigeru Miyamoto of not being ambitious. He wouldn’t have created Mario and changed the paradigm for game design otherwise — or earned Japan’s Person of Cultural Merit award for that matter. Along those lines, Miyamoto recently spoke at a Japanese media event, which was reported by Nikkei, and he made comparisons between Nintendo and international juggernaut Disney.

Miyamoto notably said, “Many parents want to keep their children from playing video games. But these same parents have no problem allowing them to watch Disney movies.” Then he added, “We cannot seriously challenge (Disney) unless parents start feeling comfortable about their children playing Nintendo.”

Mario has already been thought of as the video game equivalent of Mickey Mouse for decades, and in fact, Miyamoto recently also said, “I wonder if (Mario & Mickey) will be able to stand alongside each other in the years to come.” Considering Super Nintendo World is in development at Universal Studios Japan and abroad, and a Super Mario movie is in development, Nintendo is certainly trying to claw its way into a new stratosphere of cultural significance.

But Miyamoto’s initial statement holds true: Parents don’t seem to care how many times their kids watch Frozen, a completely passive activity, but some do care how much time they spend playing Nintendo Switch, an activity that requires problem-solving skills and imagination. It is a hurdle that very well might address itself with time though, as younger generations with more inherently positive opinions about video games become parents.

Do you think Nintendo can compete with Disney — culturally, if not in the literal “make endless money” sense? Share your thoughts with us!


John Friscia
Head Copy Editor for Enthusiast Gaming. I'm a writer who loves Super Nintendo and Japanese role-playing games to an impractical degree. I really miss living in South Korea.


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