Shigeru Miyamoto’s Creative Process Never Stops, Says Reggie Fils-Aimé

Image: Nintendo

Today saw the launch of Disrupting the Game, From the Bronx to the Top of Nintendo, written by Reggie Fils-Aimé; we’ve shared our thoughts on it in a review. It gives intriguing detail on Fils-Aimé’s broader career outside of Nintendo, as well as insights on the big N from a Nintendo of America perspective. A big part of this is forming relationships with the executives and management in Kyoto, and while Fils-Aimé developed a close relationship with Satoru Iwata, he describes his partnership with Shigeru Miyamoto as ‘much more formal’.

In the book Fils-Aimé shows a great deal of admiration for Miyamoto-san — even when the designer wasn’t happy — sharing examples of insight into what he calls his ‘creative genius’. One point was that in many meetings Miyamoto-san would often be relatively quiet, taking notes in a leather-bound journal; this was done to capture ideas, “I am always thinking about new ideas”.

One nice story relates to a social occasion in New York. Fils-Aimé was taking NCL’s Yasuhiro Minagawa for a nightcap at Keens Steakhouse, due to a strong selection of whiskies and wines. Despite not drinking alcohol, Miyamoto-san went along for a coffee and became fascinated by the ceiling, which holds hundreds of customer’s traditional smoking pipes. Being traditionally made from clay, the idea was that due to their delicate nature they would be stored in the premises for valued customers in a ‘Pipe Club’, so they could request them on visits. An old-fashioned premise, undoubtedly, maintained for the history of the restaurant.

Fils-Aimé observed Miyamoto-san as the story was relayed to him.

During all of this, I focused on Mr. Miyamoto. He was smiling throughout the translations by Mr. Minagawa as he heard this story. He would tilt his head and gaze at the pipes on the ceiling. I was imagining all the ideas that were churning inside Mr Miyamoto’s brain. When you next see a game from Nintendo that features a room with long, thin-stemmed smoking pipes on the ceiling, you will know where the idea came from.

I am fortunate to have partnered with him and Mr. Iwata, learning from two of the most creative and innovative minds in the gaming industry.

We’ll keep an eye out for that detail, maybe the idea will be used in a Nintendo title some day.

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