This fascinating conversation between Nintendo Co. Ltd President Satoru Iwata and Senior Managing Director and creator of the most popular character in videogame history Shigeru Miyamoto pulls back the curtain on the early days of video games and the secret origins of everyone’s favourite dimunitive, mustachioed gentleman of presumed Italian descent.

On the psychology behind the gameplay:

Iwata:  So you wanted to know what it was that made players insert another 100 yen coin once the game was over and have another go?

Miyamoto: Right. And basically, I concluded that this was born of the players being mad at themselves.

On the design choices behind Mario’s look:

Miyamoto: Before you know it, you’ve used up 8X8 pixels. But if you draw a nose then a moustache, you don’t really know if it’s a mouth or a moustache, and it saves pixels.

Incidentally, I found this interview via Toronto writer Sheila Heti’s Twitter feed. Heti’s new book, How Should A Person Be?, comes out today from Anansi Press. You can read the prologue here.

*but were afraid to ask