Shigeru Miyamoto: Adventures in the Kyoto Countryside

Legendary Designer Shigeru Miyamoto: Inspired by nature's wonders and adventures

Shigeru Miyamoto: Adventures in the Kyoto Countryside
Source: IGN

Inspiration is a sneaky thing, you know?

As a designer myself, I haven't discovered a quick fix for finding inspiration. It's not like stumbling upon a magical well of creativity that you can instantly tap into whenever you need it.

Many books, YouTube videos and courses will promise to help you find it quicker, but the reality is, is that each person has a distinct approach to seeking inspiration.

Frustrating though it may be, I think that's quite lovely. Inspiration, and therefore the work of an individual, is an inherently personal experience.

Your struggles are your art, essentially.

So inspiration, it takes time and it takes patience.

It doesn't always come knocking when you expect it. Often it hides in the corners of your memories, waiting to pop up when you least expect it.

Sometimes it appears whenever you're in the shower, sometimes it comes to you just as you're about to enter the land of nod.

Even distant memories from years ago can influence the way inspiration takes shape.

When legendary video game designer Shigeru Miyamoto is asked about his source of inspiration, his answer is everything as lovely and as wonderful as one could hope.


The Need to Wander as a Child

Secret Kyoto: A Guide to the Area's Countryside and Lesser Known  Attractions | Tokyo Weekender
The Kyoto countryside. This picture looks like it could have been plucked from various Ghibli movies. Source: Tokyo Weekender

When Miyamoto was young, he used to venture into the natural landscapes near his home. Wandering for hours at a time, he was fascinated with the solitude and freedom nature often provided him.

Each day brought its own uniqueness, as he frequently devoted time to observing animals and engaging with the locals he encountered.

"The designers of games can have the mind of scientists, the passion of artists, the skills of engineers, and the ambition of explorers." - Shigeru Miyamoto

One day, he stumbled upon a cave and, after a few days of uncertainty, finally mustered the courage to explore its depths.

Does that remind you of anything?

30 years of Zelda: See the Hero of Time through the ages (pictures) - CNET
The Legend of Zelda. Perhaps his finest work? Source: CNET

It's these adventures in the Kyoto countryside that served as a profound inspiration for his future creations, notably influencing the development of the iconic video game, The Legend of Zelda.

Miyamoto fact: Regarded as one of the most influential video game designers and creators in history, Shigeru Miyamoto took a different path. Instead of a degree in technology or computers, he graduated from Kanazawa College of Art in Japan, specialising in industrial design.

Throughout his career, Miyamoto has consistently aimed to instil in players a profound sense of exploration and boundless wonder, particularly evident in the enchanting world of his Zelda titles.

His dedication to crafting immersive experiences goes beyond mere gameplay; it's about creating virtual realms that beckon players to venture into the unknown, discover hidden treasures, and embrace the limitless possibilities that each gaming journey unfolds.

In the realm of Zelda, Miyamoto invites players to not just play a game but to embark on an odyssey where curiosity is rewarded, and the spirit of adventure is alive at every turn.

I believe this perfectly mirrors his childhood explorations, where he engaged with curiosity the wonders of the Japanese countryside and the people he encountered.

This experience crafted a unique perspective and a deep sense of empathy, elevating gaming experiences for players, years later.

It's often been said that Miyamoto envisions games with a universal appeal, striving to fashion experiences that connect with players emotionally, be they newcomers or seasoned gaming enthusiasts.

Refusing to Retire

Miyamoto's impact on the gaming realm is beyond measure, earning him a plethora of awards and global acclaim.

His journey includes prestigious honours such as a place in the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences Hall of Fame and the distinguished Fellowship from the British Academy of Film and Television Arts, alongside numerous other accolades.

In 2007, Time magazine acknowledged him among the 100 most influential people globally.

Shigeru Miyamoto | Mystic Media Blog
It's a cliché, I know, but... We must protect this man at all costs. Source: Mystic Media

Yet, Miyamoto's influence extends far beyond trophies and titles. Rooted in his profound connection to nature, he envisions a world where individuals hone their professional skills, reconnect with their inner selves, and cultivate empathy through the medium of games.

His commitment to crafting interactive experiences goes beyond mere entertainment; it's a transformative journey. Miyamoto's humility persists even in the face of success, driving him to constantly innovate game design.

He seeks novel approaches, inspired by the beauty and complexity of the natural world, to weave meaningful narratives that resonate deeply with players, fostering a harmonious connection with the world around them.

I can't imagine what the game industry would be like without his inspiration, and his inspiration? Well, it's something we can all learn from, one step at a time, by embracing nature.