Miyamoto was born in the Japanese town of Sonobe, Kyoto on November 16, 1952. Miyamoto's later work was greatly influenced by his childhood experiences in the town. From an early age, he began to explore the forest around his home. On one of these expeditions, Miyamoto cameupon a cave, and, after days of hesitation, went inside. Miyamoto's expeditions into the Kyoto countryside inspired his later work, particularly the Nintendo Entertainment System version of The Legend of Zelda. Miyamoto graduated from Kanazawa Municipal College of Industrial Arts with no job lined up.
When the Nintendo Company began branching out, Miyamoto helped design thecompany's first original coin-operated arcade game, Sheriff. He first helped the company develop a game with the 1980 release Radar Scope. The game achieved moderate success in Japan, but by 1981, Nintendo's efforts to break it into the North Americanvideo game market had been a complete failure, leaving the company with a large number of unsold units and on the verge of financial collapse. In aneffort to keep the company afloat, Nintendo president Hiroshi Yamauchi decided to convert unsold Radar Scope units into a new arcade game. He tasked Miyamoto with the conversion,with Nintendo's head engineer, Gunpei Yokoi supervising the project.
Gunpei Yokoi worked with Miyamoto for many years in the company and became his mentor.
Miyamoto imagined many characters and plot concepts, buteventually settled on alove triangle between a gorilla, a carpenter, and a girl. He meant to mirror the rivalry between comic characters Bluto and Popeye for the woman Olive Oyl. Bluto evolved into an ape, a form Miyamoto claimed was "nothing too evil or repulsive". This ape would be the pet of the main character, "a funny, hang-loose kind of guy."Miyamoto also named "Beauty and the Beast" andthe 1933 film King Kong as influences. Donkey Kong marked the first time that the formulation of a video game's storyline preceded the actual programming, rather than simply being appended as an afterthought. Miyamoto had high hopes for his new project, but lacked the technical skills to program it himself; instead, he conceived the game's concepts, then consulted technicians on whetherthey were possible. He wanted to make the characters different sizes, move in different manners, and react in various ways. However, Yokoi viewed Miyamoto's original design as too complex. Yokoi suggested using see-saws to catapult the hero across the screen; however, this proved too difficult to program. Miyamoto next thought of using sloped platforms and ladders for travel, with barrels forobstacles. When he asked that the game have multiple stages, the four-man programming team complained that he was essentially asking them to make the game repeat, but the team eventually successfully programmed the game. When the game was sent to Nintendo of America for testing, the sales manager hated it for being too different from themaze and shooter games common at the time. When...