Saying Shigeru Miyamoto is my favorite game designer feels like a cop-out, it’s like saying sugar is my favorite sweet. Miyamoto-san has, for the record, had a hand in creating Donkey Kong, Super Mario Bros., the Legend of Zelda, Star Fox, Nintendogs, and the Wii Brand games; each one a genre-defining (if not genre-creating) series of games.
The Super Mario franchise in the greatest selling in video game history, while the Legend of Zelda franchise is widely regarded as the highest quality games of all time. Equally amazing to me is the fact that he seems to get bored with repeating himself and hands development of sequels over to other designers so he can re-invent himself again. Most recently, he has stated that he may leave game design altogether to focus on the creation of new hardware and interaction methods, perhaps seeking to invent the next step in-game control beyond the DS touch screen and Wii’s motion control.
Miyamoto-san’s 2001 title Pikmin is a perfect amalgam of his simple genius. The story goes that the idea for the game came to Miyamoto while he was working in his garden and spotted ants going about their various responsibilities. This simple observation was translated into the various abilities of the colored Pikmin, presenting a strategic challenge that was instantly engaging but eventually deep. Good stuff, can’t wait to see what is next.