Shigeru Miyamoto, the illustrious creator behind iconic Nintendo franchises such as Mario and Donkey Kong, continues to defy ageist expectations as he surpasses 71 years of age. In an exclusive interview with The Guardian, Miyamoto expressed his unwavering commitment to his craft, asserting that retirement is not on his immediate horizon. Despite contemplating a succession plan, he envisions himself working for the foreseeable future, passionately embracing his role as a driving force behind Nintendo’s success. With a whimsical smile, Miyamoto jovially stated, “More so than retiring, I’m thinking about the day I fall over.” This sentiment exemplifies his dedication to his craft, even as he ponders contingencies for the future.
Miyamoto’s creative prowess has spawned an abundance of beloved characters and innovative games that resonate with gamers worldwide. However, he humbly recognizes the collaborative nature of his work, acknowledging the tireless efforts of others who have contributed to the growth and cultivation of his creations. Grateful for the “so much energy” that has surrounded his endeavors, Miyamoto no longer feels an overwhelming sense of ownership over his creations. Instead, he acknowledges the contributions of his team, emphasizing that his hope lies in their remembrance of him as the visionary behind these timeless works. Drawing inspiration from a scene in Iron Man, he playfully reflected, “But I really hope that the teams I work with, at least, remember me as the creator of these things!”
Back in 2011, Miyamoto’s comments about a “soft retirement” sent shockwaves across the gaming community. He hinted at stepping down from his current duties at Nintendo and transitioning into a different role within the company. This news sparked intense debates and even led to concerns about Nintendo’s share price in certain circles. In response to the escalating frenzy, Nintendo swiftly released a statement refuting claims of Miyamoto’s traditional retirement. Although Miyamoto acknowledged in 2013 that retirement was an inevitable topic for consideration given his age, he never intended to abruptly leave the company. His strategic approach involved fostering a new generation of talent by assuming a background role in some projects, encouraging younger staff to take the lead.
In the past decade, Miyamoto has diversified his portfolio by venturing into non-gaming projects. Notably, he has been involved in the creation of The Super Mario Bros. Movie and the development of Super Nintendo World theme parks. Evolving beyond his conventional title of game designer, Miyamoto now embraces his role as a facilitator, seeking out “unique opportunities” to leverage Nintendo’s beloved brand and characters. With a voracious appetite for knowledge, he has immersed himself in the intricacies of the Hollywood process, investing time in reading various scripts to explore ways to bring the distinct Nintendo essence to the silver screen. These endeavors showcase Miyamoto’s adaptive nature and his determination to push the boundaries of his creative abilities.
While Miyamoto’s direct involvement in directing games has diminished, his presence and guidance remain integral to Nintendo’s operations. Currently holding the title of Representative Director and Fellow, Miyamoto plays an advisory role within the company, allowing others to shoulder day-to-day responsibilities. Nevertheless, his influence continues to be felt profoundly, evidenced by the astronomical success of 2023’s The Super Mario Bros. Movie, which grossed over $1.3 billion and claimed the position of the second highest-grossing film worldwide. This accomplishment further solidifies Miyamoto’s legacy and intrinsic value to Nintendo.
As Shigeru Miyamoto marches forward in his lifelong odyssey, his impact on the gaming industry endures. His unwavering dedication, humble perspective on legacy, and insatiable thirst for innovation have solidified his status as a creative genius. While the day of his retirement may indeed arrive one day, his contributions will undoubtedly be celebrated and remembered by fans and his colleagues alike. May future generations continue to draw inspiration from the legacy of Shigeru Miyamoto, a driving force behind the magic and wonder of Nintendo’s timeless creations.