Features

30 in 30: Nintendo EAD

Where icons are made...

Since it was founded in 1983 Nintendo's Entertainment Analysis and Development team has developed to become the largest of the storied Japanese company's video game production divisions.

Although you might not be familiar with Nintendo's all-encompassing Jh Kaihatsu Honbu by name, you're almost certainly familiar with some - if not most - of its games. And if you're anything like us you hold a special love for them.

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EAD started off as a smaller team of designers, all with a background in art. Since then it has become a large department housing numerous divisions within it. Nintendo legends Shigeru Miyamoto and Takashi Tezuka currently serve as managers of the EAD studios.

According to Miyamoto each EAD team is made up of between 20 to 30 employees, who are supported by its two-hundred strong programming group. Overall EAD is comprised of five software development teams based in Kyoto, along with an additional 'comprehensive' software development team and two Tokyo-based development groups.

Although you wouldn't be able to guess from soulless, characterless names of its studio, EAD is the magical developer behind all of Nintendo's cherished classics. The many studios under its banner have given us games including Super Mario Bros., The Legend of Zelda, Pikmin, Star Fox, Mario 64, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Donkey Kong and literally dozens of other unforgettable titles that have defined a generation of gamers.

OVERVIEW

Founded: 1983
Location: Kyoto, Japan
Killer Quote: "Nintendo is the company which makes the most innovative products. I am not sure that I would be able to make games like that elsewhere. At Nintendo I can make the games which I want" - Miyamoto

KEY PEOPLE

Shigeru Miyamoto
A veritable game development god, Shigeru Miyamoto has created a number of the most successful video game franchises of all time. Although Miyamoto's first Nintendo project, a coin-operated arcade game, remains as one of his biggest failures, it would eventually lead to arguably his greatest success.

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After the failure of Miyamoto developed arcade title Radar Scope in North American market, Nintendo found itself lumbered more unsold Radar Scope units than that cared for. On the verge of financial collapse it was forced to convert unsold machines into a new arcade game.

Under the instruction of Hiroshi Yamauchi, Miyamoto, along with Nintendo's head engineer, Gunpei Yokoi sketched out game based around a love triangle between a gorilla, a carpenter, and a girl. The game would eventually come to be known as Donkey Kong, and as you're probably well aware, became a riproaring success.

Since then Miyamoto has gone on to create iconic video game characters, innovate in game design, bring video games to a whole new audience and dictated the landscape of console hardware. A real visionary and legend.

Eiji Aonuma
Before becoming the main creative force behind Nintendo's Legend of Zelda franchise Eiji Aonuma directed Japan exclusive Super Nintendo (or Super Famicom) title Marvelous as part of the Research & Development 2 team.

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Marvelous' A Link to the Past inspired design caught the attention of Shigeru Miyamoto, who invited Aonuma to work alongside himself as assistant director on The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time for the Nintendo 64.

Using much of the same design principles Aonuma created many of Ocarina of Time's dungeons. His efforts were recognised by Miyamoto, who decided to appoint him as the main director of Majora's Mask, the sequel to Ocarina of Time.

Since then Aonuma has become a key part of the Zelda franchise, serving as chief director on The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, Twilight Princess, the DS titles and the recently released Skyward Sword.

Hideki Konno

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Konno's name is most commonly associated with the Mario Kart series, but the Nintendo designer has also left his fingerprints on Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island, The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, Nintendogs, Luigi's Mansion and numerous other titles.

In addition to developing Nintendo games Konno also served as hardware director for the Nintendo DS and the Nintendo 3DS. During this period he also created Nintedogs - and later its 3DS sequel - and Mario Kart DS for the newly launched handhelds.

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