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Profile of Nintendo’s Shigeru Myamoto from the vaults of The New Yorker

Master of Play @ The New Yorker

Shigeru Myamoto is one of the great videogame pioneers and the father of Mario (metaphorically speaking of course). His entire profile is worth a read, but here’s a sample:

Fishermen have a saying, in reference to the addictive sensation of a fish hitting your line: “The tug is the drug.” Gamers, as video-game players are known, thrill to “the pull,” that mysterious ability that good games have of making you want to play them, and keep playing them. The pull used to extract quarters from your pockets. Then it became a force that pinned you to a couch. Later, it got your entire family to shadowbox in the living room. Whatever the interface, a great game invites and rewards obsession, and Miyamoto’s games are widely considered to be among the greatest. He has been called the father of modern video games. The best known, and most influential, is Super Mario Bros., which débuted a quarter of a century ago and, depending on your point of view, created an industry or resuscitated a comatose one. It spawned dozens of sequels and spinoffs. Miyamoto has designed or overseen the development of many other blockbusters, among them the Legend of Zelda series, Star Fox, and Pikmin. Their success, in both commercial and cultural terms, suggests that he has a peerless feel for the pull, that he is a master of play—of its components and poetics—in the way that Walt Disney, to whom he is often compared, was of sentiment and wonder. Certainly, in Mario, the squat Italian plumber who bops around the Mushroom Kingdom in a quest to rescue Princess Toadstool, Miyamoto created a folk hero—gaming’s first—with as great a reach as Mickey Mouse’s.

Read the whole thing here.


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