Super Mario Bros. creator wins major Spanish prize

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Shigeru Miyamoto

Shigeru Miyamoto

Shigeru Miyamoto, cre­ator of such hit video games as Super Mario Bros. and Don­key Kong — both adapted into car­toon series — won a $64,000 award Wednes­day for “rev­o­lu­tion­iz­ing” the industry.

The Nin­tendo game designer received an award for com­mu­ni­ca­tions and human­i­ties from the jury of Spain’s pres­ti­gious Prince of Asturias Prize.

The prize is given to an indi­vid­ual or insti­tu­tion whose work “rep­re­sents a sig­nif­i­cant con­tri­bu­tion to uni­ver­sal culture.”

DiC Entertainment’s 1989 The Super Mario Broth­ers Super Show included the 104-episode The Super Mario Broth­ers and the 13-episode The Leg­end of Zelda. Miyamoto, now 59, cre­ated the lat­ter in 1986. The res­cue game was inspired by the lakes, caves and forests around his house where Miyamoto would spend hours playing.

Also from DiC came The Adven­tures of Super Mario Bros. 3 (1990) and the brief 1991 series Super Mario World.

Don­key Kong inspired the 1983 Ruby-Spears Pro­duc­tions series Don­key Kong and Don­key Kong Jr., both seg­ments of Sat­ur­day Super­cade, in addi­tion to Nel­vana Limited’s Don­key Kong Coun­try (1998–2000).

Prince of Asturias Prize jurors praised Miyamoto for “exclud­ing vio­lence from his cre­ations” and mak­ing video games “a medium capa­ble of bring­ing peo­ple together regard­less of sex, age or social or cul­tural status.”

Miyamoto said he was “very hon­ored” and “hum­bled” to receive the award. The cre­ator of over 100 games added in a state­ment: “I will con­tinue my efforts so that video games will con­tin­u­ously be able to offer fun and joy to peo­ple of all gen­er­a­tions all around the world.”

The com­mu­ni­ca­tions and human­i­ties award is one of eight given annu­ally in var­i­ous fields by the Asturias Foun­da­tion. Beyond the cash prize, win­ners receive a sculp­ture designed by late Cata­lan artist Joan Miro.

Miyamoto was born in Sonobe in Kyoto, He joined Nin­tendo in 1977 after study­ing indus­trial design. His love of design and music as first par­layed into suc­cess in 1981 with the launch of Don­key Kong.

Pre­vi­ous Prince of Asturias Prize win­ners include Google, the National Geo­graphic Soci­ety and CNN. Britain’s centuries-old sci­ence insti­tute The Royal Soci­ety received the award last year.

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