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Nintendo's Miyamoto On Competition, Retirement

Nintendo's Miyamoto On Competition, Retirement

April 19, 2010 | By Kris Graft

April 19, 2010 | By Kris Graft
More: Console/PC

At 57 years old, Shigeru Miyamoto is approaching retirement age, but he doesn't think he'll ever stop making video games, he recently told UK games publication GamesTM.

"I am one of [Nintendo's] workers and the company has to retire me some time. So from that perspective, yes I may have to retire from Nintendo some day," he said.

"But when I look around and see how aged cartoonists continue to work on their manga and how movie directors create new movies all the time, I understand that they would never retire," Miyamoto added. "And by the same token, I guess I will still be making games somehow. The only question is whether the younger people will be willing to work with me at that far point in the future."

Miyamoto has created some of the game industry's most iconic characters, including Donkey Kong, Mario and Zelda, as well as more recent games like Wii Fit. Currently he serves as director and general manager at Nintendo EAD (Entertainment Analysis and Development) in Japan. He's been with the company since the late 1970s.

Miyamoto hasn't had much time to think about retirement lately, as he's been working closely on the upcoming Super Mario Galaxy 2 for Wii, due next month. It will be the first numbered Mario sequel in many years.

During the subsequent 16-bit era, Mario wasn't the only platformer genre heavy-hitter. Nintendo was in close competition with Sega and its Sonic the Hedgehog and various other company mascots. These days, with Mario dominating the mascot-based platformer landscape, Miyamoto said that his games were never about competition.

"From the beginning of my career ... I have never approached development in terms of competing with any other existing or future game software from other companies at all," he said. "Our own goal is to try to make some unique games that cannot be compared with anything else on the marketplace, so I think that because there are no rivals to Mario Galaxy 2, we really needed to make a game that people consider to be very new."

He continued, "Of course, there is also some fear that if there are fewer creators working in this particular genre then that might mean that the audience for platform games will grow smaller. However, looking from a different perspective, I think that as long as we can successfully communicate the appeal of the genre then it is possible that a great many people will be intrigued enough to play."

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