On the 22 February 2003, Shigeru Miyamoto, farther of Starfox, Mario, donkey Kong, Pikmin, and many, many others, made his first ever public appearance outside of Japan. I was there, and this is mine, Guy, Ben, Simon, and many other people's story.
I live about 25 miles from Central London. I got up at 4AM Friday morning, and was at Upminster Station for the first train at 05:05. By 5:40, I was at the store, and was in the first 30 people I didn't expect to be in the top fifteen, and I was right, as some people had been there since Wednesday, Including a couple from Holland who came over just to see the shingster.
The queue @ 7:30AM. I would have been just behind the red cap guy... if I wasn't taking the photo.
Shortly afterwards, I started talking to the two people in front of me in the line. They are Guy and Ben. They actually had a DV camera, and were filming the day, mainly to antagonise a friend who couldn't make it (Hard luck, Paul...)
Left - Guy. Right - Ben
Guy was had a Japanese version of The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker to sign, and Ben was trying to get his Purple Gamecube signed
It was minus 2 degrees, and it got to the point where we had to abandon a
GBA tournament amongst all the people there due to loss of feeling in our
By 8AM, I couldn’t see the back of the line, and NoE staff were on crowd control. People kept on coming over to us, expecting there to be a pop star coming to the store, then turning away in disappointment when we told them who it was. Fools.
To try and see the back of the line, we held the camera up in the air and took a shot. Didn't quite work, though...
Due to a cleaner opening the doors, everyone in the line rushed into the store, only to be turned out again. The line got mixed up, and a fight almost broke out as people fought tooth and nail for the elusive top 15 spots.
At 9AM, there was a cheer from the crowd; A green Toyota drove past, with
Shigeru waving cheerfully out of the back window on the way to a press briefing.
We wouldn’t see him for another four hours.
At 10AM, we were let into the store to queue in front of a small stage, with Wind Waker promotional material on it. It was here that I really got talking to people, and we made an interesting bunch; People from Scotland, Brixton, Wales, France, and Norway all mingled and exchanged gaming stories.
A shot of the initial line inside the shop.
This girl later presented the artwork to Shigeru as a gift
Truly hardcore, this guy had a DD64, and bought one of his games along. Devotion above and beyond, that...
All Manor of hats, shirts, bags, coats, and Lego figurines were on display that day..
Strangely, a few people recognised me from when I had my photo in Nintendo
Official Magazine back in 2000, and I ended up standing next to the guy who used
to work in my local games store, (We miss you, Microsonic..), Simon
Simon mistook the Shingsy signing line for the Matrix audition line..
By this time, the line was getting rather large;
Oh, that’s just the basement of the store – more were on the stairwell, ground floor and outside
I was in the front row, with lots of die-hard fanatics. I thought my Collectors ocarina of time was good, but some people had Japanese Wind Waker and Mario 64, US SNES and GBA Link to the Past, Boxed original copies of Zelda I, II, Mario Bros. and Donkey Kong for NES, and some person even had a copy of F-zero expansion kit for the DD64. Lots of people were getting their ‘cube and GBA’s signed for as well. One person had an unopened copy of SNES Link to the past, with the Nintendo cellophane still on
We spent the next three hours discussing our favourite games, why the Dreamcast did/did not suck, just how insanely cool this was, and kicking each other a ChuChu Rocket!, MarioKart, and Sonic Advance. The time passed mainly uneventfully, apart from a round of applause when someone held up a Game Boy Advance SP, and a look of fear and dread when someone stupidly said "Okay, so which Zelda game happened first?" Luckily that one stopped before a massacre over multiple Links broke out...
The stress of waiting for Miyamoto wasn't going down too well with Ben...
...While this guy just looks like he's had one "Mushroom" too many..
At 1PM, Shigeru came out, to the biggest ovation I’ve ever heard – it was defending, and he was loving it. He stood for a full minute, arms In the air , and occasionally poking his tongue out. Due to extreme excitement, these pictures came out a little blurry...
After the cheering died down, he sat down to dish out the front 15 their copies of Four Swords - a special 0.9 release of the PAL version. Quantity made: Less than 30.
Then onto the signatures; Due to the number of people there (Estimated to be near on 2000 by the end), we were limited to 1 item each, so I dropped Link To The Past, and went up on stage. I can’t even begin to describe how that felt – Even if you didn’t know who he was, he radiated this kinda presence that you knew was special (And I’m not BS’ing that – everyone who met him said there “Was just something about him”) It was like the most important moment of my life. I went up to the table, and he looked up and smiled, saying “Hello.” He then took my game, and signed that wonderful signature of his onto it, than handed it back. He then made eye contact, and said “thank you for coming”, then extended his right hand to mine, and embraced it in a hearty handshake. As I walked of stage in nirvana, he said goodbye before turning his attention to the next lucky and privileged person.
The actual moment Shigery signed my Ocarina of Time collector's edition box...
I milled around the store for a bit, in a kind of daze, waiting for my new found comrades to come out. to snap them.
Ben and Guy with their signed cube/Zelda
Close-up on Ben's cube....
And someone else' black version.
Signed PAL copies of SMS and Pikmin
Signed PAL OoT and 'cube
This guy can speak Japanese, so as he had a conversation with Miyamoto, he signed both in English and Kanji
How's this for special - an unopened PAL copy of Link to the Past, with the signature on the still-intact Nintendo sealed cellophane.
After that, Me, Guy, and Ben a games store crawl with three of them around London, all the time talking about meeting "him", before having a burger king and going our separate ways, having experienced what we all thought was the single most important event in our young lives.
Well, that's all from me, but it doesn't end here - are you one of the unmanned people in the photos? Do you have more photos, or your own account of the day? Well if you do, then please E-mail me, and we'll slap it up for the world to see.