Can Nintendo grow up?

3-page article on the subject here:

Wrong tag.

I hope not. I like nintendo games. If the recent trend of ‘mature’ games like nude beach volleyball and even more nude freestyle biking is what the article is refering to, then I could do without it.

Nintendo did right by tossing Rare before they unleashed a Conkers sequel.

It’s a pretty good article, and gives a lot of fodder to those that dislike Seamus Blackley. He comes off as a corporate suit. The kind of guy that doesn’t “get” games at all. He seems to be looking for some “adult” content but doesn’t realize that to be adult doesn’t have to mean mobsters and horror. He’s also a former Microsoft employee that still has strong ties to that company, so he’s not exactly a neutral party. Lorne Lanning, another Microsoft partner, is a similarly bad choice for interview in the article.


“It was an amazing game,” says Lorne Lanning, creator of the Oddworld series. “But it was about cute little carrots.” He’s quick to add that he finds Miyamoto’s games inspiring as a designer. “But I don’t play them for the same reason I don’t watch Powerpuff Girls.”

…says all you need to know about the guy with regard to games. This macho, “I’m above that” bullshit is what keeps these guys from the same greatness of Miyamoto. Who hasn’t watched the Powerpuff girls anyway? It’s the Bugs Bunny of our time.

Anyway, I’m with Anti-Bunny. I don’t want the type of games Nintendo makes to ever go away and if they stop making hardware, that would likely happen. Same with Sega, whose designers clearly understand the same things but are now hamstrung with other company’s hardware and competition with “adult” gaming. You guys wishing for them to just disappear are fools. The closer this industry tries to get to Hollywood, the less interesting it’s going to become. It’s good to have a company bucking all the trends and doing the thing they believe in. Without Nintendo and Gamecube, things like the e-Reader and handheld connectivity to game consoles just wouldn’t be happening. The Wavebird is another innovation that’s going to become standard within a few years. Given that they’re still making plenty of money doing the games they believe in, they must be doing something right.


What does it say about your article when the quote that makes the most sense comes from American McGee?

Even GTA3 would be unthinkable without Miyamoto, according to American McGee, one of the brains behind Quake and creator of Alice, a wild, adult recasting of Alice in Wonderland. “It doesn’t matter whether it’s a bloody facade or a cute facade,” he says. “Grand Theft Auto is basically a rip-off of Zelda, because Zelda invented massive-world games that let players explore freely, rather than following a linear path. Miyamoto innovates, so he’s pushing the form. End of story.”

American McGee has never heard of Ultima?

He could have convinced me more by replacing “End of story” with the more definitive “'Nuff said”.

Mabye, although the bloody/cute facade part is probably more relevant to the point of the article.

…or about 175 other RPGs before Zelda? Man, that’s a really stupid statement by American “former glory” McGee.

Damn, Dave… ever since you determined people were “attacking” you for your Pro-Xbox, Pro-Microsoft bias you’ve sold out. Now all I hear from you are promotions of the Gamecube, PS2, Nintendo, and Sony.

I didn’t know souls were so cheap nowadays… coward.

Did you ever think that being BIASED (for good reasons) is not such a bad thing? If you see things in the Xbox that make you love it MORE than the other systems then that is not just your prerogative to express… its your DUTY.

I think Blackley is right in what he says there. Miyamoto is a genius at making games where you feel a “connection” to what is happening on screen, of taking easy-to-understand concepts that anyone can master and developing new challenges and rewards based on it.

And for better or worse, he’s making games that are only of interest to kids and hardcore gamers with a history of loving his previous work. All the “new adult” players - the 20 and 30 and 40-something people whose first console was a PS2 or Playstation and got into games because their favorite rap star or athlete was seen playing Madden on MTV Cribs or because they saw something on Grand Theft Auto on the news or whatever - those people don’t care about a new Zelda. Sales of Mario Sunshine being WAY below expected might be a result of some of this.

Blackley is saying that Miyamoto’s ability to innovate in the mechanics and the details of design implementation is being wasted, in a way, on people who are already hooked on games. Gaming could be expanded to even more people if they saw a game that conceptually was more appealing to them, more adult, and when they played it, it had that wonderful sense of connection that Miyamoto constantly delivers.

He’s not saying people shouldn’t make games for kids. He’s saying that for games to become as popular as movies or TV or music (and we’re not even close, don’t kid yourselves), we need the Miyamotos of the world to make games for kids, games for teens, games for adults, games for senior citizens.

At least, that’s what I took from it.

“People often talk about Grand Theft Auto. But I am not sure whether that sort of extreme subject matter is always appropriate. They also talk about the future of games being a kind of virtual reality. But I am not convinced that being more realistic makes better games.”

I like that quote from Miyamoto. He’s right. But GTA does not equal adults. It’s limited to adults (and kids who want adult stuff), but it’s not actually very mature. It’s a juvenile game with subject matter that is only suitable for adults. And yes, it’s a lot of fun. But one can make a mature, adult-themed game that is not GTA. Medal of Honor comes to mind. Or Deus Ex. Or something with no shooting people at all, like Civilization or SimCity.

Boy, Nintendo has suuuuuure made good use of that console-to-handheld connectivity, haven’t they? I think Sega’s VMU and Sony’s PocketStation were more innovative in that they actually got USED by developers. And does anybody actually OWN an e-Reader - other than to play a few half-baked NES games (to whioch virtually every Nintendo-published GBC and GBA game is vastly superior), I don’t see the point. Those are the sort of innovations I can live without. Kinda like the 64DD, and the Virtual Boy.

The Wavebird, on the other hand - that was a good one. I can’t stand corded controllers any more, especially with cord-eating pets. Kudos there.

" “But I don’t play them for the same reason I don’t watch Powerpuff Girls.”

Well ,that negates everything right there. The Powerpuff Girls rule!! They are hilarious, and sometimes the amount of destruction and mayhem, created in one cartoon rivals anything else I’ve ever seen. If someone can’t appreciate the Powerpuff Girls AND GTAIII at the same time, they have some serious issues.

I agree re: Powerpuff Girls, but I’d say that Blackley still has a point. There is a certain generational bias for or against this sort of content. You could argue that it’s a machismo issue, but whatever it might be, the fact remains that there are many people who simply don’t “get” the Powerpuff Girls. My two teenage brothers give me perplexed looks when I tell them I watch the show, as do my parents (and my in-laws). Whatever argument you might make about the show being mature (and I think it is) or having adult appeal, these people remain unconvinced. To them it’s a kids’ cartoon, and worse, a kids’ cartoon for girls. Whatever arguments you might make for Miyamoto’s games having adult appeal (and I think they do) will not make adults play them. Conceptually, the games have no appeal to them, however mechanically innovative they might be.

Miyamoto’s responsible for more harm than we realize!

Shinji Mikami, creator of the hit horror series Resident Evil, cites Miyamoto as a direct influence on the control mechanics of his game. “When you press the button to shoot a zombie, you’re pressing the button to make Mario jump,” he says. “It’s that simple.”

It’s all Miyamoto’s fault. :wink:

I think the biggest point is that Miyamoto chooses not to exclude a segment of the potential audience from his games, they choose to exclude themselves from his games. A game like Grand Theft Auto III excludes, by its content, a segment from its purchase and play. All “mature” (or mature rated) games by definition are doing this. Miyamoto makes games that children of all ages can enjoy. His games often have far more innovative and complex gameplay than many mature games but are all derived from simple themes and have simple controls. Pikmin is about as complex a game as he’s ever made and yet the core concepts are simple as can be.

I think he’s right in asking people to use their brains to determine what mature really means. Rather than pandering to base desires in the 18-30 male, porn-loving crowd, he’s making games that can appeal across a broad spectrum of players, almost to the exclusion of those males that aren’t able to operate without testosterone constantly coursing through their veins. Yet even they can find the genius in Zelda and be among its most ardent fans. Why else would they be objecting so vehemently to the look of the new game?

Arguably, Nintendo is the last of the game makers that’s trying very hard to find a broad audience that also includes children and women. I know in my experience speaking with families and women in particular, their first inclination is to play something like Super Mario Sunshine or Zelda over the range of titles on PS2/Xbox. Gameboy Advance clearly meets women’s needs better as well since they’re often not nearly as hung up on graphics as the average game playing male.

It’s a good article because it lets Miyamoto talk without reading into what he says too far within the text. You can make your own determination of what you think of him. As for McGee’s comments, he’s right. Legend of Zelda on NES featured a sprawling, real-time gameplay world with strong characters and story before anything like it appeared on the PC. Real-time being the key words. Everything PC/Apple-based with large worlds like that were step-style or turn based. N64 Zelda also broke the mold in a lot of ways.


"At least, that’s what I took from it. "

Me too. It would be interesting to see Miyamoto do something more adult oriented. I don’t know if he’s interested in anything like that, but seeing him tackle a game in the style of Deus Ex could be pretty cool.

Sorry Mr. Denton, but our government conspiracy is in another castle.

Legend of Zelda on NES featured a sprawling, real-time gameplay world with strong characters and story before anything like it appeared on the PC. Real-time being the key words. Everything PC/Apple-based with large worlds like that were step-style or turn based. N64 Zelda also broke the mold in a lot of ways.

Ok, but McGee didn’t tout Zelda’s real-time-ness. He said it was the first game to feature a big nonlinear world. Which is bollocks.

As far as I can tell, the sense in which Zelda is truly innovative (among all games, not just console games) is that it was (maybe) the first real action-RPG. And I’m not sure about that. Certainly there were small-scale action/RPGs on PCs long before (i.e. Gateway to Apshai). Faery Tale Adventure was a real-time action/RPG that came out in 1987. I don’t know how much overlap/influence these sorts of games had with Japanese console games at the time.

added: Not to mention 1983’s Seven Cities of Gold and 1985’s Heart of Africa, which had huge worlds that were explored in real time with an essentially fluid, action interface. They were coming out of a very different place than standard RPG’s, and so probably had limited influence if any in that direction. But they were there, and they had large worlds, and they weren’t step-based or turn-based or whatever.

Well the bottom line on the Zelda thing is that the average person remembers Zelda, right?