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Departing Nintendo veteran says that Shigeru Miyamoto "was very strict on himself"

Super Mario Bros.
(Image credit: Nintendo)

Nintendo veteran Takaya Imamura has reflected on his 30 years he spent at the company, telling IGN what it was like to work with legendary designer Shigeru Miyamoto.

Imamura left Nintendo earlier this year after 32 years at the company, where he helped make classics like Star Fox and The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask. But when asked to sum up three decades of work, one particular figure stood out. "The only way to sum it up is by saying that it was 32 years of working under Shigeru Miyamoto."

Imamura met Miyamoto during his interview in 1989 and would go on to work closely with him for more than 25 years, until the latter's promotion to Nintendo's Creative Fellow in 2015. Asked what Miyamoto was like as a mentor, Imamura said that "someone who has achieved his level of success is very strict. He was strict on himself as well. I was much weaker and softer than him, to the very last day. But of course, he wasn't only strict. Sometimes he could be more playful, and I have memories of being praised by him, too."

While Imamura has left Nintendo to work as a university professor and to work on a personal manga project, Miyamoto remains at the company, having temporarily acted as its president in the wake of Satoru Iwata's death in 2015. In 2019, he was awarded the title of Person of Cultural Merit, an official Japanese honor awarded to those who have made outstanding cultural contributions to the country.

Check out our list of the best Switch games, several of them inspired by Miyamoto somewhere down the line.