Shigeru Miyamoto is the electronic artist who designed Donkey Kong, Super Mario Bros., and other smash Nintendo video games of the 1980s and 1990s. As such he is regarded as one of the video game industry’s great pioneers. Miyamoto was only 24 when he became a staff artist of the Nintendo company in 1977. Donkey Kong (1981) was a breakout game in the early era of Pac-Man and Asteroids, and it introduced Miyamoto’s signature character, Mario, a mustachioed everyman in blue overalls and a cap.
Miyamoto’s creative influence — and his signature blend of of playful fantasy and cheery humor — spread as Nintendo expanded into home video games and hand-held Gameboy systems over the next decades. Donkey Kong was followed by Super Mario Bros. (1985), The Legend of Zelda (1986), the racing game F-Zero (1990), and the 21st-century Wii home system, among many other games. Time magazine dubbed Miyamoto “the Spielberg of video games” in 1996, and in 1998 he was the first inductee into the newly-created Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences Hall of Fame.