A conversation with Shigeru Miyamoto -- The ''Super Mario'' designer talks about American movies, bluegrass, and Les Paul at the Iridium

You might not know him, but you know his kids. Shigeru Miyamoto, 46, is the father/designer of Donkey Kong, Super Mario, and a host of other videogames (including the current Nintendo 64 hit The Legend of Zelda), all of which have sold, in total, more than 250 million game cartridges. During a recent visit to New York City, Nintendo’s most powerful weapon took time to talk to EW about fame, American culture — and Les Paul.

What’s it like to be so admired from the top of the industry to kids in the street?
I’m flattered and honored, [but] I don’t have a conspicuous face, so even in a small country like Japan I have no troubles.

Do you follow American movies and pop culture?
Their way of advertising impresses me. I must admit that I am often attracted to [American] movies only to leave unsatisfied. I love Spielberg’s Raiders of the Lost Ark [though], because the editing in that film is excellent.

I hear you’re really into Bluegrass
It helps me to relax when I’m not dwelling on creating the next game. That’s why I have taken up the banjo, which I have been playing for quite a while. When I am in the U.S. I try to catch whatever shows I can.

Really? You’d probably also like guitarist Les Paul’s shows at the Iridium every Monday.
[Stunned] Les Paul? Is he still alive? Wow! He’s a legend! [Pause] Tonight, we are going to see Blue Man Group.

I’m sure you’ll enjoy them.
Yeah, but I sure wish it was Monday.