Nintendo Wii's Miyamoto Blasts Halo, Generally Chippy
Last week, Shigeru Miyamoto, the famous Nintendo developer behind the company's uber-popular Mario games, cracked Time magazine's 100 Most Influential People list. Buoyed by a flood of Wii fan votes, the designer was officially unveiled under the "Builders & Titans" category, rubbing elbows with tech moguls like Apple's Steve Jobs. Now, some gamers may be ready to accuse Miyamoto of letting that go to his head, with the designer recently taking a bite out of Microsoft's beloved flagship franchise, Halo.
In a recent interview with Entertainment Weekly's Geoff Keighley (many of you gamers will recognize him from TV programs Electric Playground and Reviews on the Run), Miyamoto answered a flurry of questions on everything from Japanese social issues to his age.
Nestled in there was one poignant question from Keighley:
"American gamers have bought more copies of Halo than they did of Metroid…Do you ever worry that you're losing touch with what young American players might want to play?"
Sounding a bit perturbed, Miyamoto turns his nose up at Keighley's leading query. The Mario-man replies bluntly,
"I could make Halo. It's not that I couldn't design that game. It's just that I choose not to."
Keighley's questioning and Miyamoto's subsequent answers reveal the divide between East and West in the gaming world. Both agree that in
Miyamoto admits this is hardly his ideal strategy. Instead, he tries "to create new experiences that are fun to play."
His snap at Halo isn't the designer's only aggressive stance. He also tells Keighley,
"I would really like to see people develop games like I do. When I show a game to people I don't ask their opinion or give them a survey. I just watch their eyes and their face while they play. Do they smile?"
At one time, many of Miyamoto's games were revolutionary. However, it's his latest hardware contribution – as a lead in developing the Wii – that has garnered Time's support. When it comes to "Shiggy's" more recent games, many are following the framework set by previous editions in their respective series (including Zelda, Mario).
Call it an unpopular observation, but with Zelda: Twilight Princess lagging behind other Wii hits in terms of innovation, is it possible Miyamoto should adopt a North American attitude towards design?
Or, at least round up some kids and watch for smiles. The last group must be voting by now.