Who do you reckon?
In this thread I'll make the case for who I think it is, then you can agree, or disagree and make a case for someone else.
Right, lets get on with it then: Its Shigeru Miyamoto. No ifs, no buts. End of thread.
But just for the sake of argument:
Super Mario Bros, Super Mario Bros 2, Super Mario Bros 3, Super Mario World, Super Mario 64. (NES 1985, NES 1986, NES 1989, SNES 1991, N64 1996) - Miyamoto's Role: Director, Producer.
'Shigeru Miyamoto invented the modern videogame.'
A quote from Wired Magazine - and while he was creating the modern video game, he was also starting what would be a run of almost perfect games lasting for more than a decade, each one critically acclaimed as a classic (minimum amount of praise thats ever been given to one of these games), a masterpiece (usually closer to the mark). Bad reviews for these games do not exsist on any respected website or in any respected magazine, because no-one who knows anything about games and enjoys them could fail to appriciate the work done here.
Along the way Miyamoto perfected the 2D platformer, then took that and crafted the first, and still the best, 3D platformer (Mario 64), made Mario by far the most recogniseable video game character in history (as well as being responsible for creating Mario in the first place, just for those who don't know), made the best 8bit game ever (Mario Bros 3) and one of the best 16bit games ever (Super Mario World*) on any system, and pretty much did what no-one else will surely ever be able to do.
Super Mario Bros sold in the millions, Super Mario Bros 3 sold in the millions, Super Mario World... well, you get the idea. By the end of 1993 there were in excess of 100 million Mario titles sold worldwide. That, my friends, is the CV that crushes all others.
Or at least it would be if Miyamoto had just came along, created Mario, created most of the best games of all time, then dissapeared.
Legend Of Zelda: A Link To The Past, Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask - (SNES 1991, N64 1998 \ 2000) - Miyamoto's Role: Producer \ Director.
Just a little side-line.
Again, just like with Mario, we get the best games of their type, hands down. Zelda on the SNES is (again) a contender for one of the finsest games ever, and its still the best adventure game of any type I've played. Then, of course, it all goes 3D, and just as everyone was wowed by Mario 64, they were again when Zelda went 3D with (contender for one of the best games ever, and best 3D adventure game ever - sorry, but it is the case) Ocarina of Time.
The IGN review for Ocarina of Time started 'IGN reviews the biggest game of the decade. Does Zelda 64 live up to the hype?' and finished with 'If you're making games and you haven't played this game, then you're like a director who has never seen Citizen Kane or a musician who has never heard of Mozart. If you're a gamer looking for your next title to buy, then take it from me, this is as good as it's going to get for a looooong time.'
So, thats a yes then. Just goes to show that Miyamoto didn't get lucky with the Mario games and then keeping rehashing the concept - Mario evolved from simple arcade games to the AAA titles released for home Nintendo systems, and other characters, like Link from the Zelda series, arguably match Mario in every way. He didn't just do it once, he did it time and time again.
Turning away from platform and adventure games:
Super Mario Kart - (SNES, 1992) - Miyamoto's Role: Producer.
*The* best single player racing game of all time on any system. *The* best multiplayer racing game of all time on any system. Most of you wont agree, most of you will think of Gran Turismo or Project Gotham or WipeOut or something else, and most of you would be wrong.
Probably the most consistantly entertaining and generally fun game I've ever played. Genius idea: Mario and the gang in small, nippy karts, racing around Mushroom Kingdom tracks, smacking each other with red shells and banana skins while they do. 50, 100 and 150cc racing, 20 tracks, loads of weapons, a brilliant battle mode - all time classic.
Of course, there's much more; Donkey Kong hasn't even been mentioned yet, and alone that is more than enough to see off a lot of other games designers achivements (Without Donkey Kong things would be very different for Mario, Nintendo, Platform games, and video game history), F-Zero, Star Fox, Super Smash Bros, Metroid Prime, Pikmin, etc, etc, etc. All these games had some some of creative input from Miyamoto, as did many, many more great games.
Now, all the above 'best game ever' type comments are just my opinion, and you can agree or disagree on if these games were the best ever, but I think what there can be no disagreement on is that Miyamoto has an unmatched gaming CV, an unmatched gaming pedigree, and is, by far, the greatest video games designer ever.
What Miyamoto was doing in the 80s was so far ahead of the 'Super Triple X Wrestling FIFA Tony Hawks Pro Machine Gun 10' tripe that EA and others churn out today, its embarassing. I am very much looking forward to the Revolution and the next generation of Miyamoto \ Nintendo games.
Anyway, as this thread is about who's the best games designer ever, you can now do one of two things - either add to the general 'He is the guv'ner' type comments I've already started, and say why you agree, or (very foolishly) put the case for someone else, who you think has more talent and a better overall record of producing fun, quailty video games than the man who has clearly produced more fun, quality video games than anyone else.
Hideo Kojima, John Carmack... no chance.
EDIT - When I say Super Mario Bros 2, I mean the real Super Mario Bros 2, which was released over here as 'Super Mario Bros - The Lost Levels'. The game we (Us and the Yanks) call Super Mario Bros 2 is a completely different game, that is nothing to do with Mario, that just had a few sprites nailed onto it, to pass it off as a Mario game. This was released in Japan as Super Mario Bros USA.
The reason why the Japanese got the real Mario 2 and we got something else passed off as Mario 2? Well, its a lot harder than the first game, and Nintendo thought it would be too tough for American gamers to enjoy.