By Jennifer Dewinter
Published by Bloomsbury
This book, released on May 21st, 2015, takes an academic look at the career and contributions of Shigeru Miyamoto. I found its scholarly approach immediately apparent- there are A LOT of citations. Everything from David Sheff’s Game Over to Jeff Ryan’s Super Mario to even Iwata Asks interviews are referenced throughout the book. As the most current published work on Mr. Miyamoto, the book makes use of past and recent sources when chronicling Miyamoto and Nintendo’s journey from Donkey Kong to the company’s current struggles with the Wii U.
The journey is focused and brief. The bulk of the attention and analysis in the book is devoted to the original Super Mario Bros., The Legend of Zelda, Nintendogs, Mario Paint, Wii Fit, Wii Sports, LoZ: Twilight Princess, and Super Mario Galaxy. While these games obviously only represent a fraction of Miyamoto’s output, you can glean quite a bit about his design philosophy from them.
The primary text is only 128 pages, with the last 50 or so consisting of Miyamoto’s gameography, the (extensive) works cited, and the index. There are a few typos here and there, some misinterpretations of particular game structures/mechanics, and an unfortunate reliance on frequently lambasted website VG Chartz for sales information.
Despite these quibbles, I found Dewinter’s book to be a well-researched and enjoyable read about Mr. Miyamoto and his work. It reinforced some beliefs I already had, exposed me to some new perspectives, and made some connections that had been in front of me all along, but I hadn’t noticed until now. It’s not the definitive book on the man and his work, but it’s a step in that direction and a focused and worthwhile approach.