Dagbladet.no June 22nd 2006
Miyamoto talks about the upcoming game for Wii, Twilight Princess and it game-play when using the Wii controller.
"What I'm trying to do is to basically entertain myself, by making games that entertain you!"
This comes from Shigeru Miyamoto, one of the gaming world's biggest icons. The shy and always happy Japanese has in his time at Nintendo single-handedly created some of the most known game characters in history - names like Mario and Zelda should ring a bell to most of us.
And entertain us is something Miyamoto has done again and again since his first game, Donkey Kong, came out in 1981.
Dagbladet.no had the opportunity to chat with the game creator in London a little while ago.
The big unveiling of the Wii's secrets were right around the corner, and the company hadn't shown any of the games yet.
"This is an exciting time", Miyamoto glees.
Not many game designers gets drawn into the public view, but if it's one guy that deserves it, it's Miyamoto. In March he was made a knight in France for his involvement in the cultural world, together with the french Michel Ancel and Frederick Raynal (The creators of Rayman and Alone in the Dark)
Shigeru Miyamoto: I came to Paris to receive an honorary order as a representative for many friends and colleagues that I've made game with for many years. I think it's a great honor for the entire gaming industry to receive a medal like this. The French government has realized that games are an important cultural factor.
Dagbladet.no: Are you capable of viewing yourself as a cultural icon?
SM: [Laughter], Noo. I don't think so. I'm just one of many middle aged men that incidentally makes games day after day.
Dagbladet.no: Games are far from as recognized as movies and music. How long do you think it'll take before this changes?
SM: What's important to remember is that when it comes to video-games, it's an interactive way of entertaining - as opposed to movies or music. It's an unique branch of entertainment. Now that we radically change the way games express themselves, it's important to know our responsibilities as game developers. With the possibilities the gamer now will have to show his or hers views or feelings in games, games will in a while be even more important and influential than movies and TV broadcasts are today.
Dagbladet.no: Do you think this will happen when we eventually will get third and fourth generation gamers, or could today's grown ups, or parents, experience this?
We already see today that many parents play games with their kids, and in ten years from now, there will be lots of fifthy-year-olds with game experience. It's probably not so many years till most people feel that games are something that's relevant for them.
When that's said, it's important that game developers are careful in the time that's ahead. If we only continue to evolve in one direction, it will hinder us in expanding games to something everyone can participate in. We [[[Nintendo]]] are already trying to develop ourselves in several directions.
This is exactly the direction that makes Nintendo a very exciting game company right now. As opposed to Sony and Microsoft, they've chosen to turn away a bit from state-of-the-art graphics with it's new console, Wii, and rather focused on game-play. You will control the games by moving the controller around, a control method that's so innovative even those that won't play games wants to try it out.
It's the same way Nintendo's handheld console Nintendo DS
has been a success to a very broad audience. This is mainly because the machine has a broad and varying game library, but also because most games are easy to play by using the touch sensitive screen.
The DS has opened some new doors in the game market, something I think is because both under the development of the hardware and software planned to reach out to as many people as possible. This is also a strategy we plan to use in the future, with the introduction of Wii
With games like Animal Crossing
and Brain Training
, Nintendo has already succeeded in selling games to people that didn't really care much for gaming.
What we see with Animal Crossing
on Nintendo DS, is that it's been a hit to people that's been playing for a long time, but also to people that's never played a game. I know several mothers (MILF HUNTER MIYAMOTO!) that plays the game with their kids. As a result of this, the game has already sold millions, just in Japan. The last game only sold around 600,000.
Miyamoto understands English well enough to answer the questions that are asked, but lets his translator translate it to English. While the translator politely translates the answer, Miyamoto plays around with his virtual pup Luigi on the DS in front of him. Nintendogs is also one of Miyamoto's ideas.
Dagbladet.no: You've been doing this for many years now, and the people playing your games are getting older. Have you ever doubted your abilities to reach out for a younger crowd?
SM: I never think that way when making a game. Some people say that it's amazing that a game made by a Japanese man, or Japanese games in general, are appreciated all over the world. They don't get how it's possible, but to me it's a natural thing. When we make a game, we think about how this game will entertain as many people as possible over the entire world. When we think like that, we can't let national or cultural differences come in the way. Maybe that's what's the problem with many games today, that they're trying to reach only a single group of people?
Dagbladet.no: If you look five years into the future, do you thing that many of these gamers that fell off during the first NES fascination, will be back in business?
SM: We're of course working to get those back as well. We hope that most families when that time arrives has a Wii sitting next to their TV, and that it's just as natural for each member of that family to play a little, as it is to watch a little TV. If we can manage that, I think the portion of gamers in the population Wii increase drastically.
Dagbladet.no: You've made games that reach out to every age groups. Have you ever thought about the possibility to make a game that's only for adults?
I have to admit that I enjoy making games with a more adult setting, I have for example produced the Metroid
series (not created, mind you). In these days however, we have ONE priority, and that's to make games that has a certain amount of interest for everyone, everywhere. But right now I'm quite busy working on The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess
, which is a game with a much darker tone.
About that game, it'll be fun to play it with the Wii controller... (remember, this was before the announcement)
Wii will have a fantastic interface, with the ability to "point" with the controller. This is something that suits Zelda
very well. With a traditional controller it can sometimes be hard to navigate in a 3D environment. With the Wii controller it will be very easy to swing the sword or aim with the bow and arrows.
Dagbladet.no: What does your dream game look like, if you could work with no technological or economical barriers?
Miyamoto takes his time before answering this question.
SM: You know, I'm not sure. I'm that kind of person that always works out the possibilities from what I have to work with, and when you ask me about what I'd do if there were no limits, it's almost as if I don't understand it.
He still tries to give the question a real answer though:
SM: There are people that can paint pictures. There are people that can compose music. Then you of course have the people that are good at those. Everyone has a talent, but what if someone that can't compose music suddenly could learn it from a game? That would've been the best form of entertainment. So if I could make anything, I'd make a game that could show the true talents for each and everyone of us!
Dagbladet.no: So with the power of video-games, we'll end up in a world where everyone are just as talented?
SM: [Laughs] maybe! If we can't give mankind a product that lures out the best in each individual person, at least it'll be fun for the developers to try and make a game like that!
History shows that Miyamoto often makes games that are inspired by what he's surrounded by at a daily basis. The Zelda games are inspired by the surroundings during his youth in Kyoto, Pikmin was made while he were busy with his garden, and Nintendogs after he owned a dog. That's why it's tempting to ask a final question:
Dagbladet.no: What's your inspiration today?
SM: To get inspiration now, I just need to play a bit with the Wii controller. Good ideas just pour in then!