Gambling, Banjos, And George Lucas: Surprising Facts About ‘Super Mario’ Creator Shigeru Miyamoto

11.20.15 2 years ago
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Getty Image/Nintendo

Nintendo likes to present Mario Bros. creator Shigeru Miyamoto as a sort of twinkle-eyed, video game-producing Willy Wonka, which is understandable, but the real man behind the public image is far more complex and interesting. Here’s a few things you might not know about the man who made most of our childhoods a lot more fun…

Shigeru Miyamoto’s lack of a TV when he was a kid helped shape his games.

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Nintendo

Miyamoto’s family wasn’t poor, but they lived in the country outside of Kyoto, and in the 1950s, TVs were still a rarity, especially in old-fashioned rural Japan. Children were expected to find their own entertainment outdoors (and out of their parents’ hair) and lil’ Shigeru spent hours exploring forests and dark caves no child today would ever be allowed near. These childhood adventures would form the basis of games like Super Mario Bros. and, especially, The Legend of Zelda. In other words, Miyamoto has basically made his career packing and reselling his exciting, enriching childhood to today’s sedentary kids who aren’t allowed to cross the street on their own. If you can’t have the real thing, it’s a pretty good substitute.

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