The Man Behind Mario


Over the break last weekend I read an article about the creator of mario, donkey kong, zelda and other famous Nintendo characters (luigi?!?). The New Yorker article about Shigeru Miyamoto kept introducing ideas that seemed really relevant to the work that we've been doing in the tinkering studio.

And although he focuses on the end product of entertainment instead of designing for education, the strategies that he and his team employ spark curiosity, sustain interest, and provide challenges in a way that seems oddly similar to something like electricity boards or marble machines. Maybe all those hours I spent playing video games as a child were worthwhile after all!

Some quotes I really liked were:

“I can still recall the kind of sensation I had when I was in a small river, and I was searching with my hands beneath a rock, and something hit my finger, and I noticed it was a fish,” he told me one day. “That’s something that I just can’t express in words. It’s such an unusual situation. I wish that children nowadays could have similar experiences, but it’s not very easy.”

"In his own games, Miyamoto said, 'You are constantly providing the players with a new challenge, but at the same time providing them with some stages or some occasions where they can simply, repeatedly, do something again and again. And that itself can be a joy.'"

"With the appropriate level of difficulty, people may feel like challenging it again and again. As they repeat it, the amount of information they can acquire naturally increases. . . . I always try to be conscious about that kind of gradual improvement."

“It’s about enjoying something,” he said. “I used to draw cartoons. I’d just show them to some of my friends, expecting that they were going to appreciate them, that they were going to enjoy reading them. And I haven’t changed a bit about that. When I’m making video games today, I want people to be entertained. I am always thinking, How are people going to enjoy playing the games we are making today? And as long as I can enjoy something other people can enjoy it, too."

Go and read the article here : Master of Play: The Many Worlds of a Video Game Artist

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