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Princess of Asturias Awards 05/23/2012

Shigeru Miyamoto, Prince of Asturias Award for Communication and Humanities

The Japanese video game designer Shigeru Miyamoto has been bestowed with the 2012 Prince of Asturias Award for Communication and Humanities, as made public today in Oviedo by the Jury responsible for conferring said Award.


The Jury for the Award –convened by the Prince of Asturias Foundation– was chaired by Adela Cortina Orts and was composed of José Antonio Álvarez Gundín, José Manuel Diego Carcedo, Albert Espinosa i Puig, Javier González Ferrari, Miguel Ángel Liso Tejada, Catalina Luca de Tena y García-Conde, José Antonio Sánchez Domínguez, Ricardo Senabre Sempere, José Antonio Vera Gil, Enrique de Ybarra e Ybarra and Ramón López Vilas (acting as secretary).

This nomination was proposed by Iván Fernández Lobo, president of the Spanish Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences.

Considered the father of the modern video game, Shigeru Miyamoto was born in Kyoto, Japan in 1952. A graduate of Kanazawa Municipal College of Art and Industrial Design (Japan), he is currently general manager of the Entertainment Analysis and Development Division at Nintendo Co. Ltd., a company he joined in 1977. Designer and producer of video games, Miyamoto is the author of the video game Mario Bros, among others, which has become the most marketed saga in history with sales of 275 million units worldwide.

He has designed over a hundred games, some of which, Mario Bros and Zelda, are considered the best in the history of video games. In particular, critics have defined the The Legend of Zelda series as “the best video game ever made”. In 1996, he marked another milestone with Super Mario 64, the first game made entirely in 3D which broke new ground by providing the characters with free-roaming movement and including independent camera views. Shigeru Miyamoto is the creator of the first console with two separate screens, one of which is a touchscreen. This console, the Nintendo DS, sold three and a half million units in Europe in one year. In 2012, it replaced the traditional audio-guide at the Louvre Museum. Noted for excluding violence from his creations, Miyamoto has revolutionized the industry with programs such as Brain Training, designed, as its name suggests, to exercise the mind; Wii Music, a music composition game that has become the most popular tool for teaching this subject and which is now used in schools around the world; and Wii Fit, an exercise routine which, for the first time ever, is controlled by the movement of the body and which has sold over thirty million units.

With these creations, he has converted the video game into a social revolution and has managed to popularize it among a sector of the population that had not previously accessed this kind of entertainment, while also making it a medium capable of bringing people together regardless of sex, age or social or cultural status. Shigeru Miyamoto conceives games as an element for family and social integration, an experience that can be shared by all which manages to move players and help them express their emotions.

Inducted into the Hall of Fame of the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences (1998) and Knight of the French Order of Arts and Letters (2006), Shigeru Miyamoto has also received other important distinctions. The most noteworthy of these include his naming as one of the most influential people in the world in 2008 by Time magazine (USA) and the GAME Award from the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) in 2010, at a ceremony where he was also honoured with the BAFTA Fellowship Award.

According to the Statutes of the Foundation, the Prince of Asturias Awards aim “to reward the scientific, technical, cultural, social and humanistic work performed at an international level by individuals, institutions or groups of individuals or institutions”. As part of this spirit, the Prince of Asturias Award for Communication and Humanities shall be conferred on those “whose creative work or research in humanistic activities as a whole or in relation to the social communication media, within the framework of the sciences and disciplines that both activities comprise, represents a significant contribution to universal culture”.

This year a total of 21 candidatures from Argentina, Canada, Colombia, Cuba, France, Germany, India, Iran, Japan, United States and Spain ran for the Award.

This is the third of eight Prince of Asturias Awards to be bestowed this year for the thirty-second time. The Prince of Asturias Award for the Arts went to Spanish architect Rafael Moneo and the Prince of Asturias Award for Social Sciences was given to American philosopher Martha C. Nussbaum. The rest of awards will be announced in the coming weeks in the following order: Technical and Scientific Research, Literature and International Cooperation, with the Sports and Concord awards being announced in September.

Each Prince of Asturias Award, which date back to 1981, comprises a diploma, a Joan Miró sculpture representing and symbolising the Awards, an insignia bearing the Foundation's coat of arms, and a cash prize of 50,000 Euros. The awards will be presented in the autumn in Oviedo at a grand ceremony chaired by H.R.H. the Prince of Asturias.

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