Even Shigeru Miyamoto gets sad sometimes. What causes the iconic game developer, who’s created some of Nintendo’s most popular series including Mario and Zelda, to feel a little blue? Loss of self, it seems. In an interview with Famitsu magazine, he told editor-in-chief Katsuaki Kato how game development at the big N was a sad affair, for him at least, during the Nintendo 64 and GameCube eras.
“The more we competed with new companies entering the market, the more we started acting similar to them. But is being number one in that competition the same as being number one with the general public? That’s the question we had. Entertainment is something that you have to look at the world with a very wide eye as you create it. I always thought that, but there were a few years where I was unable to get off other people’s trends. It was a dilemma in my mind,” Miyamoto shared with Kato.
Especially during the era of the GameCube, Miyamoto felt that the general public, outside of gamers, weren’t familiar with the console and its game and that the “creation process [was] for nothing”. While the GameCube had many titles that sold well, including Super Smash Bros. Melee and Super Mario Sunshine., it was greatly outsold by the Playstation2 and Xbox.
But the lackluster reception caused Nintendo to change their game plan. “We thought about starting over from scratch and aiming for games that can be played by people who don’t play games,” Miyamoto said. And Nintendo did just that, first with the revolutionary dual-screened DS and then with the Wii. “We did some research, and the result was the Classic NES series, which got the response we were hoping for. In the end we didn’t want a new game system, but a product that would make the entire world go crazy. And so [ex-Nintendo president Hiroshi] Yamauchi said ‘two screens.’ That turned the development lab upside down!”
So while going with the flow during the N64 and GameCube generations made Miyamoto sad, the innovation and domination Nintendo is experiencing right now seem to have made him a whole lot happier.
Famitsu via 1UP