How the inventor of Mario designs a game


This is Shigeru Miyamoto. If you’ve played video games any time in
the past 30 years, you’re probably familiar with his work. Donkey Kong. Zelda. Star Fox. And then, of course, this guy:
It’s a me, Mario! When Miyamoto makes games, he always tries
to do things differently than other designers. Here he is — back in 1998 — explaining
why he wasn’t focused on online gaming. And why he wasn’t adding small in-game purchases
to Mario for iPhone in 2016. Miyamoto has helped define a lot of what makes
a game great. So how does he do it? In 1981, one of Miyamoto’s first assignments
at Nintendo was to design a replacement for a game called Radar Scope. It had performed poorly in the US,, leaving the company with 2,000 unsold arcade units. This is what he came up with: Miyamoto based the story on the love triangle
in Popeye between a bad guy, a hero, and a damsel in distress. But since Nintendo couldn’t secure the rights
to use those characters, Miyamoto replaced them with a gorilla, a carpenter, and his
girlfriend. In later games, that carpenter became a plumber. And his named changed, from Mr. Video, to
Jumpman, and then to Mario, after this guy, the landlord of a Nintendo warehouse near
Seattle. This was one of the first times that a video game’s
plot and characters were designed before the programming. That change in approach came at a key time
for video games. When Donkey Kong was first released in 1981,
the video game market in North America was on the verge of collapse. It was saturated with a lot of different consoles,
and the boom in home computers made a lot of people question why they’d want a separate device
just to play games. But the storytelling in games like Super Mario
Bros. and The Legend of Zelda — which you could only play on Nintendo’s own hardware — helped set them apart as best-sellers. A lot of Miyamoto’s genius can be seen in
the first level of Super Mario Bros. — probably the most iconic level in video game history. It’s designed to naturally teach you the
game mechanics while you play. If you look at a breakdown, there’s a lot
of really subtle design work going on here. Though Mario is usually at the center of the
screen, in this first scene he starts at the far left. All the empty space to the right of him gives
you a sense of where to go. This character’s look and movement suggest
it’s harmful. But don’t worry. If you run into it, you’ll just start the
game over without much of a penalty. Next, you see gold blocks with question marks. These are made to look intriguing — and
once you hit one, you’re rewarded. That then encourages you to hit the second
block, which releases a mushroom. Even if you’re now scared of mushrooms,
the positioning of the first obstacle makes it just about guaranteed that you’re gonna run
into this thing. When you do, Mario gets bigger and stronger. And just like that, you’ve learned all the
basic rules in the game without having to read a single word. Immersiveness in a video game has a lot to
do with the controls — the more precisely you can move your character, the more you
feel like you’re part of the story. And Nintendo has always been a pioneer with
controllers. It was the first to have the classic setup of the directional pad on the left and buttons on the right, the first to have left and right shoulder buttons,
the first to have a 360-degree thumbstick, and the first to bring motion control to the
mass market. But with 2016’s Super Mario Run, Nintendo,
for the first time, made a game for a controller it didn’t design: the iPhone. The Wii U flopped when it came out in 2012,
and Nintendo 3DS sales are far below those of its predecessor. But the number of American gamers playing
on mobile phones has doubled to more than 164 million between 2011 and 2015. You can think of Super Mario Run as a shift
from immersiveness to accessibility. And that’s kind of been Miyamoto’s design
philosophy from the very start: make fun games that everybody can play. The rest is in our hands. “These controls direct the characters, the better your eye-hand coordination, the better you do.”

100 comments

  • Hangin

    "it's a trend and I try to avoid all trends"
    There's something some YouTubers can learn from

    Reply
  • Brandon Bravos

    This man is a legend. So much of my childhood was shaped because of this man. Zeldas such a big part of my life too. What a guy.

    Reply
  • An Dre

    with analog drift of course!

    Reply
  • Anon CO

    Mobile phones are just a phase.

    Reply
  • CMP A

    This is one of Vox's only good videos

    Reply
  • Horsehorsehorsekkk Bugg

    The best game maker

    Reply
  • Lauren Klitsch

    Miyamotosan

    Reply
  • JENJEN mILk

    I hope this guy was immortal.

    Reply
  • jesus robles

    I want to cry

    Reply
  • Roberto Montero

    Not all heroes wear capes

    Reply
  • the patriot

    Nintendo is still doing everything to save video game industry, they are trying to bring local offline multiplayer in videogames , with online multiplayer shooters gaming industry won't last long

    Reply
  • Adalberto dos Santos

    Nice to meet your face!!! You have designed an amazing game

    Reply
  • aska

    いまや、ただの老害

    Reply
  • jon snow

    When I was 6, my friend had a NES with Super Mario Bros 1. I envied him so much. When I lie on the bed at night, I imagined playing Super Mario Bros 1. My father loved me so much and he bought me a Genesis with Tatsujin and Space Harrier 2. (for the record, the Genesis was the ahead version of video game than the NES.) I could play Super Mario by purchasing Gameboy with Super Mario Land later at 12.

    Reply
  • Gail Wade

    I’ve been playing Mario since I was 3

    Reply
  • Jos. C

    If gaming can be compared to football
    then he is MESSI

    Reply
  • EnerieEffex

    Too much is made of the console gaming crash in North America during the early 80's, like games were pulled from the brink of death. Internationally, home computers, indie game programming and the coin op markets were still in ascendency.
    Not to downplay Miyamoto's contribution to video games though. His legend will deservedly live on for generations well beyond our years.

    Reply
  • Funny and Amazing Videos

    You made my childhood great! Arigato Miyamoto-sama

    Reply
  • RAP64

    Miyamoto is more legendary than Mewto.

    Reply
  • Lostjoy IX

    "So that you get that sense of satisfaction of completing something."

    He mentioned a boss fight though. Subs seem to not fully convey his message.

    Reply
  • K K

    I don't know what to feel about it. It seems that as the world progress, the 'sense of accomplishment' today transformed from hardwork to comfort.

    Reply
  • Ian Tolentino

    Miyamoto is still handsome

    Reply
  • Lucky Barbieri

    This man is a god. Our collective childhoods thank you, good sir

    Reply
  • Aleksandr Nevskij Nevskijo

    The video would have been better if it would have lasted three minutes.

    Reply
  • Studiozh

    @SHIEGRU FAVOURITE SAW FILM??

    Reply
  • Dark Soul

    This guy is a genius .. he made me love mashrooms when I was a kid 👏❤

    Reply
  • Pac Meez

    It would be a dream come true to meet this man. Like many others including myself. He made many childhoods wonderful

    Reply
  • ramboram03

    Thank you sir for giving a good chunk of my childhood in the late 80s and early 90s

    Reply
  • tumblr life

    Mario is an Italian character that is created by a japanede person in an American company

    Reply
  • J Fontana C

    I love his games.

    Reply
  • YourFellowGamer

    As an aspiring video game programmer, the way the first level of SMB is designed to teach you the rules of the game in the first 5 seconds is ingenious! Shows the genius of the man himself.

    Reply
  • AllySmiles201

    He really didn’t create something new. He copy Popeye and they think he’s a genius. 😂😂😂

    Reply
  • Film Making with Siddharth Sai

    First-ever work on Artifical Intelligence !!!

    Reply
  • Ordinary Mevaker Edwin

    Thanks for lettting me play mario series during childhood.

    Reply
  • Kelvin Thenedy

    Miyamoto: "Should I sit here?"

    Editor: *Used it as thumbnail*

    Jk xD

    Reply
  • Thinking Tech

    Legend now fast forward in 2019 where games are all about political agendas and designed not to hurt someone's sensitivity

    Reply
  • Daniel Barajas

    El documental es externo , qué mala onda que se lo rippen

    Reply
  • alexxcabanas

    Inventor???? Shigeru miyamoto is a legend

    Reply
  • S.J

    the god himself

    Reply
  • Hadi el Hadia

    That Guy is my hero

    Reply
  • Bossfight fan 101

    Is he an inventor of a creator🤔

    Reply
  • mane

    I love how happy he seems just to make games for people to enjoy.

    Reply
  • Master Ben

    If this guy dies my whole childhood is over

    Reply
  • Master Ben

    Me noticing that he's only 67 😐

    Reply
  • Shindeiru

    i hope miyamoto will Never leave nintendo !!!

    Reply
  • Diptee Kashelkar

    If this guy made Minecraft,It would be more worse

    Reply
  • Stephen Mach

    This guy should do a masterclass

    Reply
  • Ivan Hernandez

    Who still plays Mario on iPhone?

    Reply
  • Michael Fleming

    I’m 32 years old and was never a gamer (except of course playing video games as a kid like we all did). Now as an adult, I find fun and great nostalgia in going back and playing these old games from my childhood. Very grateful this gentleman created such a lovable and enduring character like Mario (and all the others). He’s given me endless hours of fun. It brings back great childhood memories every time I play those old games. Thank you, sir!

    Reply
  • The Ultimate Gamer

    0:44 like star wars Battlefront?

    Reply
  • Udderchaos

    3:53 breath of the wild though

    Reply
  • John Williams

    Good job on zelda

    Reply
  • judassss

    WHAT A COOL GUY!

    Reply
  • ShaneTV

    can anyone in the comments link me to a tutorial that will teach me how to make these video effects?

    Reply
  • Alistair Blaire

    Miyamoto deserves a place at the top of greatest game designers of all time, along with people like Yuji Naka, Hideo Kojima, and John Carmack.

    Reply
  • Anonymous

    I've always been aware of Nintendo's pioneering ability of the video game controller design.

    Reply
  • suyog shinde

    This guy made our childhood awesome…thank u sir.

    Reply
  • Marley Proffitt

    YouTube recommending right before Mario Kart comes out on mobile. I'm hyped

    Reply
  • Yurek Hunt

    This guy makes Steve Jobs looks like an amateur with no design skills. Wait … Steve Jobs looks like that anyway … but Miyamoto is still awesome.

    Reply
  • Cool Banana Comics

    I think that first is that a game needs a sense of accomplishment – Freckin Toad at the end of the Mario levels being like Peach is in another castle 😤

    Reply
  • The Retreat

    3:56 just right there he kinda looks like he's being Ness

    Reply
  • GrowForIt Gaming

    0:00 me when i look myself in the mirror

    Reply
  • Max Mustermann

    The living legend!

    Reply
  • Gill Harsimrn

    Legend

    Reply
  • X Kobe

    I love how it's so easy to learn games in the past. Now you have to read huge walls of text just to understand one ability let alone an entire game.

    Reply
  • Neel Waghmare

    I dont care about trends. I like to do what I feel is good

    Reply
  • Jamie Owns

    Surprised that he left out that stealing from companies that gave them prototype games really helped.

    Reply
  • SGT FOXSHOT

    And smash

    Reply
  • Des Gardius 2012

    Shigeru Miyamoto should be Japan’s next prime minister.

    Reply
  • Wellplay

    Eh, the Nintendo Switch saved nintendo.
    They arent a flop anymore baby!

    Reply
  • William Jennings

    Motion controls don't have a mean-centering function, so the technology is not completely mature yet.

    Reply
  • Desmond Alloffo

    3.6million views ———-something positive that brings people together from allover the world 🌻

    Reply
  • Sankofa NYC

    4:13 you missed "the first to have a rumble feature in a controller" but that just goes to show how legendary they are

    Reply
  • megavolt67

    The arrangement of the four face buttons on the right side of the SNES controller has been copied and reused by both Sony and Microsoft from the debut of their Playstation and Xbox consoles to this day.

    Reply
  • MARCVS

    I giapponesi stanno sempre avanti. Che Popolo meraviglioso.

    Reply
  • defensivefob

    I love this man

    Reply
  • Transfusions

    0:30 the translation is incorrect. He said “ i don’t like hearing people say ‘ this is the way’ ‘ this is how things work ‘ The important thing is ‘what we want to do’. “

    Reply
  • Hoolican

    Im playing my switch right now in honnor of this man

    Reply
  • mr mrmr

    The man who single handedly saved the entire video game industry after Atari nearly destroyed it all. Every producer, developer and manufacturer owes this one man a huge debt of gratitude. He's literally the Walter Elias Disney of Nintendo, and should be regarded as such. Truly a living legend.

    Reply
  • Jakubova Herna

    Mario zelda forever

    Reply
  • skilarbabcock

    It seems miyamoto was reflecting on Zelda here when talking about immersive worlds

    Reply
  • John Gotte

    uh-oh shiggie!! i think i found you mario , check out ace ventura when nature calls the scene where jim carrey has the monopoly man on his shoulders , just watch and see!

    Reply
  • Raven Moore

    We would love to play Mario but I am not buying a brand new system just for that game release it to other consoles and watch sales go back up

    Reply
  • supergauchito

    Cómo le gusta la fafafa al ponja ese eh. Sabes lo papeado que habrá estado para imaginarse hongos que te hacen más grande, princesas frigidas y tortugas voladoras. Se daba del bueno man!

    Reply
  • Kela12

    Watching this while waiting for Mario Kart Tour to finish its maintenance at 3 AM 🙃🙃

    Reply
  • Jeremy Raglin

    Fascinating video, it's amazing to think of how many people around the world may be playing some version of a Mario game at any moment.

    Reply
  • Orang Jaringan

    32 kilobytes game

    Reply
  • Shaun Marais

    Lovely

    Reply
  • jason lu

    this man is a video game god

    Reply
  • 『 Vinicius 』

    I really love you, Vox. <3

    Reply
  • Adrian

    0:25 they should tell him not to implement in app purchase if they want him to do it.

    Reply
  • mae flowers

    Why make Mario an Italian though? Never understood that.

    Reply
  • Ping Carlson

    Thank you for giving us a huge part of our childhood!!!

    Reply
  • MїĈhÃЭĹ ĴoЯđÃй

    0:25 Microtransactions. This didn't age very well considering the Mario Kart Tour they bought out to phones and has expensive microtransactions and a pointless and expensive subscription as well.

    Reply
  • timothy selix

    a sense of pride and accomplishment~

    Reply
  • Hazukichan X

    Two words.
    Argonaut Games.

    Reply
  • Yu Xuan Kei

    Do not forget that Miyamoto is the father of the Mii Channel, right?

    Reply
  • Amir Asror

    0:24 …except for Mario Kart Tour

    Reply
  • Animation Tips

    Miyamoto is an absolute legend he
    Has greated the greatest games ever

    Reply
  • shaiz lygo

    U didn't mention how its made

    Reply

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