Miyamoto: The Interview

Interview: Mario, Wii success and that Mario movie

He is riding high on the deserved success of Super Mario Galaxy. We wanted to know, what does the master, Shigeru Miyamoto think about how other entertainment media have influenced his work on the Mario games? Next-Gen spoke to gaming's most illustrious designer...

In this exclusive interview, the creator of Mario talks about his most famous creation, and adds his thoughts on why Hollywood doesn't always get it right with movie adaptations. He also talks about why Wii has been such an overwhelming success.

Narrative is important to all entertainment. Donkey Kong was the first game that introduced a narrative story. Where did you come up with that idea?

Shigeru Miyamoto: I have been a big fan of comics since I was a young boy and so one idea I had in creating that game was to apply a little bit of story to it in order to help people understand the concepts of the game better. It was a similar way to what you see with comics.

What did you like besides comic books?

Miyamoto: Actually, another thing that I did when I was younger was that I often would create little flip-book animations and made my own puppets and played with them quite a bit. And when I started working on videogames I realized that it was a very good medium for doing those types of creative activities.

How did Mario, the character, evolve from Jumpman to Mario?

Miyamoto: Well, the first thing I should probably explain is that when I originally created the Jumpman character my goal was to be able to use a character in a lot of videogames going forward. This stems from something that we often see in Japan, where comic book artists will create their own character and use that character in a lot of different comics. So I was hoping that Mario, or Jumpman, would be kind of a "Mr. Video" type of character who would appear in lots of different games.

When we released Donkey Kong, the character was originally just called Jumpman, but what we found out was that the people had started to call him Mario. And the reason for that was that the character design apparently resembled the landlord of the warehouse that Nintendo of America was using and his name happened to be Mario.

So when I heard that the people in the United States were calling my character Mario, I thought, "Oh, you know, that's a catchy name. That's a good name. I think maybe we could use that for the character." So there was kind of a character evolution there, where it evolved into something bigger and better.

What are your thoughts on the Disney Super Mario Bros. movie?

Miyamoto: Well, when we first initiated talks about a Super Mario Bros, movie, I tried to emphasize the point that the Mario Bros. games are fun as videogames and if we were going to make a Mario Bros. movie, that movie should be entertaining as a movie, and not a translation of the videogame.

I think that they tried very hard and in the end it was a very fun project that they put a lot of effort into. The one thing that I still have some regrets about is that the movie may have tried to get a little too close to what the Mario Bros. videogames were. And in that sense, it became a movie that was about a videogame, rather than being an entertaining movie in and of its self.

Did you collaborate a lot with Disney to create this movie?

Miyamoto: I didn't collaborate with them a whole lot. Obviously, I was involved in the initial pitch about them wanting to make a movie. After they had started production and had filmed some scenes, there was a step there where we were a little bit involved.

Read the rest of this article on Next-Gen