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September 2015 Retro Gaming Article


September 19, 2015 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Shigeru Miyamoto is the first focus in the “Influential Video Game Designer” book series

Shigeru Miyamoto Influential Video Game Designer Influential Video Game Designers: Shigeru Miyamoto: Super Mario Bros., Donkey Kong, The Legend of Zelda, by Jennifer deWinter, is the first in this in-depth series of books. It offers a more scholarly approach to examining Miyamoto's career, style and influence. While most coverage of legendary game developers skim the surface, the Influential Video Game Designers series goes deeper into the real people behind some of gamings greatest games.

While some see video games as children's toys, the larger populace is aware of the role of developers and the hard work that goes into creating a game - be it a AAA console title or a small smartphone app. But even deeper than that is the target are of the Influential Video Game Designer. This series seeks to go into the philosophies of the designers as well as how they relate to the characters the create, develop and evolve over the duration of a successful franchise.

This is a promising venture. I really like the idea of an academic or scholarly approach - as though it were a collegiate text. However, the validity of the facts has been called into question due to an unfortunate editorial oversight. In the book's forward, Atari developer Warren Robinett is called "Will". The extent of this error is compounded as they explain how he hid his name in Atari's Adventure game. With such mention, it's important to deliver his name correctly. A few other errors have been pointed out as well.

While some feel this error, in the forward, makes the entirety of the book questionable, I think those who read it will be ver interested in it's depth and how it links personality and human factors to the pixel'd wonders we "play" on the screens. Gaming's history needs needs an accurate reference while many of it's pioneers are still alive to confirm, correct and corroborate facts. Mistakes will always occur, but the more diligent this effort becomes, the better it serves the rich (and whacky) history of video games.

We live in a digital era that lets us correct most things with a few mouse clicks. Print is permanent and this error can't be corrected until the next printing. While some wish to call the books entirety into question, let's give the author the benefit of the doubt until all the egregious errors in Wikipedia's myriad of video gaming entries are all corrected!

Like most factual books, it's difficult for the average reader to vouch for the authenticity of all the facts, but I think a majority of gamers will be interested in the deep detail of this book and it's unique approach to a gaming tome. When most books might dedicate a chapter to Miyamoto, Jennifer deWinter's book makes him the singular focal point. Influential Video Game Designers: Shigeru Miyamoto can be purchased via Amazon.

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