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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