Did you meet Shigeru Miyamoto in London? Find out what happened and take a look at how the day went.
Friday the 21st February 2003 was the first time that Shigeru Miyamoto made a public appearance in Europe. A signing was due to take place at Virgin Megastore in Oxford Street, London in the afternoon from 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM. Miyamoto himself would be there to sign games and artwork to promote the upcoming Legend of Zelda games for Game Boy Advance and GameCube. It had been announced that the first ten people in line would receive a signed copy of the Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past for Game Boy Advance, this brought people to the store the evening before to queue outside. Even before the store had opened in the morning there was a substantial group, with hours to wait until the event began.
An hour before Shigeru Miyamoto would walk onto the stage, a large crowd had filled the lower floor of the store. There were hundreds of people, and yet more were waiting upstairs. The floor was closed off to prevent people from entering. A Nintendo spokesperson reassured the crowd that Mr. Miyamoto would be coming in for two hours once it was 1:00 PM, and set down the rules that only one item would be signed per person and there would be no standing around to pose for photos at the table. A yell of "Konnichiwa!" from the crowd drew some laughs but not all was well. Just a few minutes later a young boy was sick in the queue. Luckily, they were at the side of the barrier so they could get away easily.
The excitement grew as the time of his appearance drew nearer. It was quite an experience just waiting, surrounded by people who had all been there for over an hour, many for much longer, just to get into this queue, all holding precious Nintendo items. The floor was quite literally packed with people; all that could be seen was heads in every direction. With a few minutes to spare before 1:00 PM a few people tried a countdown, with many of the crowd joining in, but to no avail, Miyamoto would come when he was ready. A roundtable interview with the press was taking place behind the scenes at this time, with a few questions about The Wind Waker answered and short videos of the new Kirby, Pikmin 2 and Link in Soul Calibur 2 were shown.
It was about 10 minutes after 1:00 PM when he finally walked in. The room erupted and he waved and smiled for the roaring cheers, screams, whistles, and cameras flashing in every direction. This continued for a few minutes until Miyamoto was seated and presented the first fifteen people in the queue with signed copies of Zelda for GBA. He sat there and signed one item for every person in the queue, and ended each exchange with a handshake and a big smile. He was constantly smiling and looked very happy to be greeting so many Nintendo fans.
Eventually, I ended up at the very end of the queue that snaked around the shelves of the basement. This is when standing for nearly three hours began. If there is any time you can become bored of looking at CDs, it's when you're surrounded by them hour after hour as you wait in the hope that you'll reach the front of the queue in time. Security staff often walked around reinforcing that there was no guarantee that everyone in the queue would meet Mr. Miyamoto. When it reached 3:00 PM a new message was passed around, Mr. Miyamoto would stay to shake hands with everyone who was waiting in the basement. The floor was still closed off at this point. This brightened up the prospects for people who were still waiting patiently, and eventually they allowed everyone to have an item autographed and a handshake from Shigeru Miyamoto. It was nearly 4:00 PM by the time the signing had finished; he stayed nearly an extra hour to meet everyone who had waited. He continued to smile throughout this time and as he signed Pikmin for me and laughed when we told him that we love him. It was truly wonderful and worth every moment of waiting for the fulfillment of this day.
Thinking back, I'm in disbelief about having met the great game designer. Every Nintendo fan would love to have the chance to spend a few seconds with him, and hundreds got the chance that day with a signed possession to remember it by. I know that I'll remember this day for a long time.
Please take a look at Page 2 for more photographs from the event.