1989 Book Shows Miyamoto Working on Super Mario Bros. 3

James Covell has translated an old Japanese children’s picture book from 1989, which, back in the day, showed kids how Nintendo games were made, from start to finish. These particular scans show some fantastic pictures of Miyamoto and his team at Nintendo(including Koji Kondo recording the score) putting together the old school classic, Super Mario Bros. 3.

He writes,

The book was published in late 1989, based on a tour and interview session at Nintendo of Japan in July of that same year (this will become evident in a later picture). They interview Shigeru Miyamoto, Koji Kondo, all the major players in Nintendo’s games.


Pictured is the bag that Mr. Miyamoto always carries with him when he goes walking. He’s used it so much that the color has faded. But inside the bag are many little items that he says will aid him in thinking up fun ideas. What’s in the bag is a secret to everyone.

Shigeru Miyamoto (37 years old) has spent his whole career at (Famicom maker) Nintendo designing and producing games.
As a child he loved drawing. He says that he had wanted to design a puppet like those that appeared at that time on the TV show “Chirolin Village and the Walnut Tree”. Since starting drawing comics in junior high school, he has now become what he calls the originator of games that thrill children the world over.
Miyamoto surrounds himself with fun things in order to enrich his creativity. If he doesn’t keep dreaming, pleasing characters and stories will never show up in his imagination.

Taking charge of Mario’s music is Koji Kondo (27 years old). He began his studies on the electric organ when he was in kindergarten. He doesn’t begin composing for a game after the story and images have all been completed, but rather he joins in the same brainstorming meetings as everyone else and imagines the sound of the game from these sessions. However, once Kondo has begun full-scale composition and arrangement, he doesn’t consult anybody.
Even when no interesting characters or good game ideas appear, days and months still pass by quickly.
When he makes the computer produce the sound of a piano, he is always thinking of what kind of tone it will have in the final product.

Both chatting and playing are vital to making games.
The man acting as director of the Mario games is Takashi Tezuka (27 years old). He was pulled into this type of work by Mr. Miyamoto. Before entering the company Tezuka says that he knew nothing at all about video games.
From the initial planning of Super Mario 3 to its completion took about two years. Ideas did not come easily.

Mr. Tezuka majored in design at university before starting at Nintendo. As a child, he liked arithmetic and drafting, but says he was poor at languages. In fact, many on the Mario team say they were poor at languages. Indeed, many people who think in images rather than words were assembled (on purpose?) for this team.

Tezuka also often looks to movies, music, events, art exhibitions, etc. for ideas. He often watches music shows on TV and reads lots of comic books. While to some this might look like play, it is serious work to him. After this, he conducts a brainstorming meeting with the staff. It might be called a meeting, but most of the time is spent chatting about things not directly related to the theme. In many cases, fresh ideas are discovered out of these chats. For example, he got the name “Koopa” from once when he was hungry (an onomatopoeic sound); and a mushroom he drew resembled more of a chestnut, so he named it “Kuribo” (“Goomba” in the west.) Even the name “Mario” and the idea for his moustache were borrowed from a man living in the same apartment as a Nintendo employee in the United States.
If an idea comes in a flash and Tezuka makes a new character, he will always see how it looks animated on the TV screen.
No matter how interesting an idea, there are certain restrictions placed on it when moving it on-screen. Thus thinking about how to make it move in a fun way inside of those limitations is difficult. Other small items, such as a boomerang, also have to be animated.


We asked the creators all about the birth of Super Mario.
After the start of television broadcasting, the cathode-ray tube has continued to bring various worlds to people, and dreams and happiness to children. However, these images flowed only one way — from the television station to the home.
In 1983, video game systems that used microprocessors were developed, and thus a revolution was begun in which game systems could be attached to television sets. People were now able also to participate in the events happening on their screens.
Scattered all around Mr. Miyamoto’s work desk are many fun things: an RC car, comic books, a Princess Peach doll bought in the United States, and so on. Miyamoto’s chair has a Super Mario cushion on it. He has a Mickey Mouse necktie.

Planning out how our heroes will move
To make anything move on a computer, it is necessary to express it numerically through programming. It takes many hours of serious work.
Toshihiko Nakago is a programmer whose job it is to convert an idea into the images shown on the computer. Even though he participates in the brainstorming meetings where everybody discusses how to make the character fun, he is more concerned with “okay, so how do I make it move, then?” If he is given the simple order to make a character “walk”, it becomes Nakago’s job to think about exactly how it will walk.

Planning out how our heroes will move
Game Machine Manufacturing Process
Game system components are brought to Nintendo’s headquarters in Kyoto from affiliated assembly plants all over the country. Since game systems are computers containing high-density and highly-integrated ICs and LSIs, even a single speck of dust can cause a malfunction.
At the main factory in Uji, quality is strictly controlled through inspections in a clean environment. A game machine which fails to produce a picture will never appear in a shop thanks to the efforts of the people at these factories.

The hand that guides changes in the project
One year passes quickly for a producer.
With this project, he is constantly wondering whether he really can have it finished by winter the following year.
The assistant director, Mr. Hideki Konno, in cooperation with Mr. Tezuka, has to manage the whole project. They are constantly taking pains during the project to accomplish the desired changes, one after the other, while struggling to fit all of the changes into the planned timeframe.

Thanks WiiNintendo