Shigeru Miyamoto on Why Mario Is Finally Coming to Smartphones


Shigeru Miyamoto is hoping that Pokemon Go‘s summer magic will rub off on his Nintendo legend.

“The Pokemon Go phenomenon shows the power of the smartphone,” Miyamoto, 63, told USA TODAY through a translator. Game developers Niantic created the raging hit in partnership with Pokemon creators Nintendo. “Before the summer, there were questions about Pokemon‘s popularity. Now, millions are playing.”

Miyamoto was speaking shortly after Apple’s iPhone 7 event, where he announced that his fabled Nintendo gaming character – Mario – would be coming to the App Store in December. Also announced was that Pokemon Go would be coming to Apple Watch.

Shares of Nintendo’s U.S. listed shares jumped 29% to $36.32 Wednesday on the news. In contrast, Apple’s stock (AAPL) inched up 0.6% to $108.38 after the event.

In a wide-ranging conversation, the Japanese gaming icon talked about the limits of virtual reality, the genius of George Lucas and his passion for American bluegrass music.

Miyamoto’s road to fame started in 1981 with the creation of Nintendo’s first big arcade hit, Donkey Kong. The game designer later added a mustachioed Italian character to the mix named after a warehouse landlord. Soon, Mario, his brother Luigi and their Super Mario Bros. antics were powering the at-home console and hand-held gaming device trend of the ’80s and ’90s.

Miyamoto said that the iPhone version of Mario’s latest gaming adventure, called Super Mario Run, has been a year in the making. The delay in bringing the jumping character – originally called Jumpman – to a smartphone was “because up until recently we found that mobile devices weren’t best suited to gaming. But that’s changing.”

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SOURCE: USA Today, Marco della Cava