Dream maker. Inspiration. Hero. The father of modern gaming. To Nintendo fans, Shigeru Miyamoto is all these things and more. To Nintendo, he's a hit maker and arguably the company's saviour. Editor-In-Chief Chandra Nair draws up a chair and tries to find the words to do the moment justice.
Chandra Nair: How involved do you get with games development these days? Do you think back and miss the 'good old days'?
Shigeru Miyamoto: For me, the idea of being more deeply involved in games is less about the nostalgic feeling and more something that I just want to continue doing. The challenge lies in the fact that as I've got older I'm simply not able to work as many hours as I used to when I was young, so then it becomes a matter of really focusing my attention on the right game.
So, for example, I was deeply involved in the design of Pikmin 3. Games like Mario and Zelda are ones that I'm really involved in too. So, for Super Mario 3D World, I've been in deep discussions with them, so for me it's more about how can I balance my time so that I can remain more deeply involved in the games that I really want to be involved with.
CN: Speaking of time management, do you ever get the chance simply to sit down and play a game from scratch any more?
SM: I do play all of the games that I'm working on but I don't get the time to play other people's games, sadly.
CN: So, what was the last non-Nintendo game that you played?
SM: There's a videogame in Japan called Puzzle & Dragons [it's a drop-down puzzle game - Ed]? That's a game that I've sat down simply as a consumer and played.
CN: You said a few years ago that you were looking to train directors and producers. All these years later, who would you say your star apprentices were?
SM: As you saw at our presentation at E3, Mr Aonuma [Eiji Aonuma, Director of the Legend Of Zelda series] chased me off stage... he doesn't need me any more! The final responsibility for the title still comes down to me and I'm still involved with the games, but I'm definitely able to leave the series up to him in a way. I don't have to look at every minute detail of every game any more. I know there's going to be the level of quality that we expect under his supervision.
Similarly, we have Koizumi-san [Yoshiaki Koizumi] who's the producer of the Mario series and it's the same type of situation. And certainly Konno-san [Hideki Konno] with Mario Kart, too. And although he wasn't on stage with us at the event, Mr Eguchi [Katsuya Eguchi], producer of the Animal Crossing series... these are the main producers that we've trained who are talented enough and we can allow them to oversee the project and manage all the details and still maintain the Nintendo level of quality.
With these producers in particular... for many years what they would do is look at me and develop a game that they would bring to me to get my approval. The feedback I always gave them was, "Don't bring it to me and look at me for feedback. Think of the consumer who's going to play the game and make the game in a way that's going to make them happy." And so, over the years, they've managed to be able to take more of that perspective on their games.
CN: I guess they must've got fed up of you up-ending the tea table all the time!
SM: Thankfully I don't have to do that any more!