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Shigeru Miyamoto, visionary godfather of Nintendo, and creator of The Legend of Zelda, Donkey Kong and Mario is not retiring, or stepping down to take “a smaller role in the company”. Miyamoto was quoted during a rant at the Nintendo offices where he was reportedly saying, “I’m going to retire, I’m going to retire.” In a clear indictment of perceptions that Nintendo has no creative depth left, stock prices for Nintendo instantly fell by two percent.
Miyamoto quickly went on record to correct his mistake, “I’m not saying that I’m going to retire from game development altogether. What I mean by retiring is retiring from my current position.”
A Nintendo spokesperson quickly quelled rumours of Miyamoto’s retirement plans. “This is absolutely not true. There seems to have been a misunderstanding. He has said all along that he wants to train the younger generation. He has no intention of stepping down. Please do not be concerned.”
The departure of Miyamoto, seen as the leading light in camp Nintendo, could deal a finishing blow for for the Kyoto giant, which is currently struggling to make a profit of the likes it reaped in 2009, owing mostly to the low-cost, high-quality iOS and Android games. Sales of the Wii have plummeted, the Nintendo 3DS has been an outright market failure… and it has only released one killer title for 2011, namely Miyamto’s The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword.
In Miyamoto’s homeland of Japan, the 3DS has managed to soldier onwards, partly on the back of the gaming godfather’s Mario titles such a Mario Kart 7 and Super Mario 3D Land.
Miyamoto began his tenure in the 1980’s, helping to develop breakthrough arcade titles such as Popeye, which later became the blueprint for Donkey Kong. The lead character from Donkey Kong, Mario (known then as “Jumpman”) eventually developed into the world’s most popular gaming icon.