Gamers question Shigeru Miyamoto in interview that tells his first game experience is Space Invaders and that he’s a little like Mario

22 July 2007
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Shigeru Miyamoto: Nintendo Game Designer innovators bookShigeru Miyamoto is seen as the father of modern video gaming, he created iconic gaming characters like Donkey Kong, Mario and Link. Working with Nintendo on the Wii is the company’s lattest big hit. Time magazine got to ask him some gamers questions, these are the most interesting answers:

Question: Do you think the success of the Wii–an interactive system that emphasizes physical activity–will change the gaming culture? —Will Chung, TAIPEI
I hope that in 10 years people will look back and see both the Wii and Nintendo DS [a handheld system] as devices that helped redefine what a video game is–if you can even call it a video game.

Question: Are you happy that the Wii is seen as a form of exercise? —Jonah Eaton, LAUREL, MD.
While working on Wii Fit [a new exercise game with a balance board for yoga and other activities], we got letters from fans who wanted some type of exercise program. We were very happy to see that response from consumers, but it also put a bit of pressure on us to try to get it completed.

Question: What do you say to the gamers who accuse Nintendo of catering to the casual gamer and not the hard-core gamer? —Sean Rhodes, AURORA, COLO.
At E3 [a gaming trade show], I was a little concerned about defining people as a hard-core gamer vs. a casual gamer. But there are hard-core gamers who play a lot of casual games. Nintendo’s focus is to break down the barriers between those two groups and consider everyone just gamers.

Question: Many criticize the reuse of franchises like Mario. Do you prefer to create new characters or work with old ones? —Shabaab Kamal, BETHESDA, MD.
I try not so much to create new characters and worlds but to create new game-play experiences. If a new experience is better suited to a new type of character or world than one of our existing franchises, then we might create a new character or world around it.

Question: What one game has revolutionized the industry? —Lucas Ross, SHOREVIEW, MINN.
Space Invaders. Before I saw it, I was never particularly interested in video games and certainly never thought I would make video games.

Question: Do you think violent or explicit games can negatively influence young children? —Reinhart Klein, SEATTLE
The obvious objective of video games is to entertain people by surprising them with new experiences. Violence is one means of doing that, [though] I look to make people laugh or smile. But the more we have parents playing video games themselves, the more they will understand the interactive world and how to deal with games that have a tremendous amount of violence.

Question: Are video games something we should grow out of? Are you still a kid at heart? —Christopher Solis, SAN FRANCISCO
I think that inside every adult is the heart of a child. We just gradually convince ourselves that we have to act more like adults. Nintendo wants to make it easier for people to never grow out of video games.

Question: Who is your favorite video game character? Are any based on yourself, even a little? —Deanna Trevethan, York, Pennsylvania
That is a difficult question because I don’t really have a favorite—though I have been making Mario for a very long time. I guess it is possible that I put some of my own personality into him.

Question: When you have free time, do you play video games yourself? Do you have a favorite? —Brett Arlotti, Tokyo
I spend so much time working on video games that I don’t have a lot of free time to devote to actually playing them. I have been having so much fun working on Wii Fit and Super Mario Galaxy that right now those are my favorite.

Question: Sony and Microsoft have always been stiff competitors. What’s Nintendo’s game plan for dealing with this? —Daniel Wang, Beijing
I always get asked that question, but the fact of the matter is that we don’t really view them as competition. The biggest challenges are keeping games relevant to society and trying to expand the way people can enjoy them. That is why this time we have chosen a very different path from those two companies. It is not about competition, it is about making fun and entertaining experiences that everyone can enjoy.

Question: What did you aspire to as a child, or as a young adult? —Casey Jamieson, Huntington, Vermont
When I first entered Nintendo they weren’t even making video games, I joined [the company] thinking that I was going to do product planning. Shortly after, Space Invaders came out and I thought that might be something I might want to do. Actually, when I was younger I wanted to be a puppeteer.

Question: As High-Definition adoption becomes mainstream over the next few years, how does Nintendo plan to compete in this new market? —Wes Schiel, Atlanta, Georgia
Clearly people are adopting HD and I think over time that will be something we will start to look at. We felt that with this generation, what was far more important was making a hardware system that was approachable—something people could look at and say, ‘I want this in my home. It is small, quiet and intuitive and I know how to use it.’ As HD adoption rates increase, it is likely that we may start looking at that in the future.

Question: The Legend of Zelda has enough potential to be the greatest video game based movie of all time. Could we see Link on the big screen in the future? —Jason Zarrilli, Huntsville, Alabama
[Laughs] That is a question that always comes up. We have been approached by people before and we have thought about potential ways that it could happen. But I struggle with the Hollywood process. So it is just a question of whether or not we can find something down the road that will meet our desires.

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Categories: Interviews, News

About the author

Ferry Groenendijk By Ferry Groenendijk: He is the founder and editor of Video Games Blogger. He loved gaming from the moment he got a Nintendo with Super Mario Bros. on his 8th birthday. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook and at Google+.


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