Shigeru Miyamoto’s shirt may have been a subtle teaser when he appeared on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. Eagle-eyed viewers caught the image of the character he created, Mario, donning a traditional samurai outfit on a background of red when the Japanese gaming genius was given attention while sitting in the audience.
It all started when Reggie Fils-Aime took the stage and gave Fallon a peek at the upcoming iPhone title Super Mario Run. Following the trend in recent years of the constant runner, a genre where the main character cannot stand still and the gamer has to jump or perform other simple actions to avoid damage, Super Mario Run gives the Italian plumber a shot of adrenaline. It fuses the classic gameplay of Super Mario Bros. with the frantic action of being unable to stop moving.
Fils-Aime said that the demo will be available on the Apple Store, with the full game for $9.99 hitting iPhone and iPad on December 15.
The idea for this game may have come from Reggie or Shigeru watching YouTube speed runs, where people play video games and finish them as quickly as possible. The Mario series is one of the most popular sources for these speed runs, and Nintendo simply took the idea and ran with it. The controls are simple, as Jimmy Fallon demonstrated under the ever-cheerful eyes of Shigeru Miyamoto: You jump to collect coins and time it right to go where you want to, possibly even grabbing power-ups like the invincibility star along the way.
Playing the game while Shigeru Miyamoto watched apparently made Jimmy Fallon nervous, and Miyamoto even teased him about his performance of seven out of 10 stars. Shigeru held up his hand in a thumbs-down gesture and turned it into a thumbs-up, brandishing his famous smile the entire time.
Before Fallon sunk his gaming teeth into Super Mario Run, Reggie took the opportunity to reveal that Nintendo founder and the always smiling grandfather of video gaming Shigeru Miyamoto was in the audience. Miyamoto was wearing a red shirt that some may have assumed was stylish geek fashion, much like Flash actor Carlos Valdes often wears when he plays Cisco Ramon.
Of course, why would Shigeru be wearing that, and why would he be sitting in the audience? It may have all been on purpose so Reggie Fils-Aime could intentionally point him out. When the camera focused on Nintendo’s founder, we also saw Mario wearing a samurai headdress, and Miyamoto even pointed to his shirt. This may indicate that Mario could be getting a new kind of power-up in his upcoming adventures on the Nintendo Switch.
The image may also mean that Mario won’t just be traveling between worlds like he did in Super Mario Galaxy, but through time, facing off against samurai and possibly Japanese-themed denizens of the Mushroom Kingdom. It’s doubtful that it’ll incorporate sword fights, as the series has always been focused on fun non-violent gameplay (though he certainly smashes a lot of turtles and other baddies on the head).
Nintendo of America senior product marketing manager Bill Trinen saw the shirt as well, and took to Twitter to clue everybody in on the mystery image, as reported by Polygon.
“Has anyone figured out what’s up with Miyamoto’s Samurai Mario shirt? … [Because] I know.”
The same shirt made an appearance on Miyamoto when he attended a press conference in New York, meaning that he’s secretly promoting a future Mario title most likely for the Switch.
The content and gameplay involving Samurai Mario are entirely unknown except to Nintendo developers and speculation is bound to run rampant until Nintendo finally reveals the Switch title officially.
What did you think of Shigeru Miyamoto’s shirt on The Tonight Show?
[Feature Image by Stephen Lam/Getty Images]