Friday, July 04, 2008

Interesting profile of Shigeru Miyamoto, inventor of Nintendo games like Mario and Donkey Kong (and now Wii Fit), in USA Weekend:

After a series of odd jobs, including playing the guitar in a bluegrass band ("which is not," he says, "a terribly popular brand of music in Japan"), he was hired by Nintendo in 1977.

At the time, Nintendo was looking for new ventures and badly overestimated the appeal of a coin-operated arcade game machine called Radarscope. The company wound up with a warehouse full of them in Redmond, Wash. "For some reason, I was assigned the task of figuring out what to do with the machines," Miyamoto recalls. He came up with a simple game featuring a character scaling a set of girders while avoiding barrels tossed by an oversize ape. That game, of course, was "Donkey Kong," and by 1982 its hero, Jumpman (later rechristened "Mario" in honor of the warehouse's portly manager), would appear on everything from cereal boxes to neck ties.

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