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Nintendo Businesses Wii

Sneaking Stories Past Miyamoto 83

Posted by Zonk
from the impish-glee dept.
Chris Kohler, editor over at Game|Life, has up a great interview with Super Mario Galaxy director Yoshiaki Koizumi. They discuss the development of the Mario and Zelda games, clarifying Shigeru Miyamoto's tense relationship with stories (and sentences), and discussing the lineage of the Mario titles: "In terms of spiritual successors, I've never found that to be the case. Whereas with the Zelda series, each game seems to follow pretty closely from the last with a few stylistic deviations. But Galaxy really feels like it went back to earlier roots with Super Mario Bros., in terms of trying to find that same tempo, that same feel. But for me, it's a matter of thinking what to do with each next step. There's nothing you really throw away. You think about these ideas and refine them constantly with every iteration of a game series. So for all the camera problems that you may have found in Mario 64 and Sunshine, even though we didn't realize how to fix those problems then, those solutions presented themselves over time and found their way into this game. I feel like you really can't have Galaxy without all of the things we learned from Sunshine."
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Sneaking Stories Past Miyamoto

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  • Tutorial (Score:5, Funny)

    by Philotic (957984) on Tuesday December 04, 2007 @05:34PM (#21577855)
    Hold the A button to walk softly. If Miyamoto detects you he will send his guards. Be careful!
    • Re:Tutorial (Score:4, Funny)

      by CastrTroy (595695) on Tuesday December 04, 2007 @05:37PM (#21577891) Homepage
      Don't worry if the guards come, you can just jump on their heads.
      • Be sure to rummage through their pockets for spare change. Collecting enough coins can grant you the power to resurrect yourself, should the need arise.
      • by Dogtanian (588974) on Tuesday December 04, 2007 @07:05PM (#21579017) Homepage

        Don't worry if the guards come, you can just jump on their heads.
        Consider this- are computer games harmless? Imagine that a bunch of teenagers play out what they've learned in Mario games for real.

        They go out at night dressed in red and blue costumes and viciously assault their enemies by jumping on their heads. This sounds more like something out of "A Clockwork Orange" to me. :-/
        • by aichpvee (631243)
          If those kids can get the 6'+ ground clearance they'd need to accomplish the feat they're more than welcome to do it, as far as I'm concerned. As long as they video tape it and put it on YouTube. Because that would be damn impressive.
        • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

          by greedyturtle (968401)
          If computer games were real, I'd be running around in the dark, listening to repetitive electronic music, and munching as many little yellow pills as possible.
        • by KDingo (944605)

          Imagine that a bunch of teenagers play out what they've learned in Mario games for real.
          Well, then you've got something like this well-documented event [youtube.com].
        • by NateTech (50881)
          Consider this: Some people are too immature to play video games, and their parents should know this.
  • by kisrael (134664) on Tuesday December 04, 2007 @05:40PM (#21577921) Homepage
    In the Gamers Quarter forums, someone (Dessgeega I think) pointed out that while most of the levels in, say, Mario 64 are about exploring the landscape and solving the star problem, each challenge in Galaxies tends to be more or less linear, on many of the worlds you really are guided from place to place (since usually the star-travel is a one way trip.) So in a lot of ways it is more of an update to the more classic left-to-right formula than Mario 64 is.

    You have to be a mature enough gamer to realize that linear doesn't always mean worse... and personally I like that they still offer some choice in skipping starts and going back to them later.
    • by SlashdotOgre (739181) on Tuesday December 04, 2007 @06:01PM (#21578229) Journal
      I believe you hit the nail on the head; when I think Mario I want a platformer, not a sandbox game. Mario, like most Nintendo titles, have always seem to done better when sticking to their roots. A classical example of this is the early Zelda series. Zelda 2: The Adventures of Link, an excellent adventure/platformer in its own right, completely diverged from the style of the original Legend of Zelda, and Z2 was met with criticism. Whereas Zelda: A Link To The Past returns to its roots and did much better in terms of fan reception.

      While I do believe evolution and experimentation are important, and this applies just as much to music and many other arts, at the same time I believe its critical to understand the heart of the original product and to be able to stay true with it in future iterations.
      • by Lehk228 (705449)
        people whined about Z2 because it had the hardest enemies and boss fights of the series.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by SlashdotOgre (739181)
          Zelda 2 allowed you to level up and even offered a "new game+" mode where your player kept their old stats. If you were having trouble on a boss, fight enough random battles to level up your attack. The game didn't scale the enemies up with your level (enemy difficulty was determined by location). I don't believe difficulty was a major reason why people disliked Zelda 2, there were a few cheap death areas that were frustrating, but most enemies (even bosses) could easily be defeated if you played through
          • by Fozzyuw (950608)
            I downloaded Zelda 2 for the Wii VC and I understand now why I couldn't touch the game when I was a kid.

            I agree that it's not the difficulty. It's the attempt to make an RPG with action elements but miss both the good RPG and action elements (of the 8-bit era). Take the first Castlevania NES game and compare it to Zelda 2 and one should see why Castlevania was a good action game and Zelda was not... there was always something to keep you interested. Re-skinning Zelda onto Castelvania would have been more
          • by donaldm (919619)
            Personally I liked zelda2 although I do know it got "panned" by many. I was actually disappointed in zelda3 on the SNES although IMHO it was still an enjoyable and fun game even though it was very much like zelda1 with better graphics. Zelda on the N64 IMHO was very nice graphically and in game play although in many ways it was still zelda1 again but with 3D graphics which I could definitely forgive. Wind Waker on the Gamecube was different but you can still see zelda1 which was fine and IMHO still made the
      • by kisrael (134664)
        Zelda 2 was my favorite, 'til maybe Z:OoT.

        The side view fights were a lot of fun.

        But I had help from the old player's guide, the one with the black cover.
  • by SlashdotOgre (739181) on Tuesday December 04, 2007 @05:45PM (#21578003) Journal
    I'm about a quarter of the stars through MG (probably be done if I didn't get swallowed up by Mass Effect), and I have to say I've already ran across several levels that totally remind me of Super Mario Brothers 3 (my favorite Mario game by far, and one of my favorite games ever). The one that stands out the most in my mind so far is the Sweet Sweet Galaxy which totally reminds me of the directional scrolling levels in SMB3. I played through M64, and while I admit it's a solid title, I didn't care for it as much as either SMB3 or SMW. I'm not sure how, but they did a fantastic of capturing the heart of older Mario titles.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by ArchAngelQ (35053)
      I've got to agree with this, and another of the posts above: the linear levels are a real treat in mario games. New Super Mario was the last one that I played, and like Super Mario World, it's got exploration of the overworld map, and very linear pace once you are in a level proper. That's the great mario formula, and one of the reasons I'm not as big a fan of Mario 64. The reason being, if I am going to run around that much, I want to have some big cool thing to unlock to come back and do nifty stuff with
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by renegadesx (977007)
      Well "Sweet Sweet Galaxy" uses a theme from SMB3 so yeah it does feel nostalgic. I'm up to the last Galaxy system and almost done. This may be my favourate Mario yet (before that was SMB3)

      Personally I didn't think Sunshine in of itself was a bad game. It was bad when you place it along side other Mario games but in of itself it was kind of cool.
    • by Dorceon (928997)
      The nostalgia will really kick in when you see moles who throw wrenches and airships with long screw-threaded poles holding them together that you traverse by spinning a nut.
    • Mario Galaxy draws on Mario 3 so much, and possibly because it tries so hard to be new and creative. With Mario 64, it was everything the team could do to make a game in 3D that still had some semblence of being a Mario (and whether they succeeded is still up for grabs), but there wasn't a whole lot of room for just laid-back, comfortable, experimentation. Something went wrong with Mario Sunshine, and I don't know exactly what, so I won't dwell on it. But Mario Galaxy... the guys just seem, comfortable, in
      • by LKM (227954)

        the times you could use [the "suits" in Galaxy] were completely regimented

        I think there's no other way to do it in a game like Galaxy. If you had the Bee suit in, say, the toy robot level, you could just fly to the end of the level. Being able to move suits would make a game like Galaxy too exploitable, and taking each suit into account in each level would probably make a lot of puzzles impossible.

        • by Chode2235 (866375)
          Like using a P-Wing to fly the entire length of the airship, or the tanks in level 8. How dare I use that to get by a (by design) absurdly hard level?
        • It was the same with SMB3. On quite a few levels, if you had a tail, you could just fly over the entire level. Some levels were made trivial by using the tanuki suit's stone ability. Why not give people the option? If someone wants to bypass a level in a lame way, let them. They're only ruining it for themselves. But part of the fun of gaming is exploring possibilities. "I'll just try this and see what happens." Sometimes it turns out to be the most fun part of the game.
          • by 7Prime (871679)
            I agree. Now, the P-Wing had a limiter on it, after the level, it would turn into a normal racoon suit, and the Tenuki suit wasn't ALL that rape-o-licious. But the Bee suit isn't that rape-o-licious either. It has limited height and range, even less than racoon or cape (I didn't like the cape, I would have prefered the racoon in SMW, there was something more crazy about being a flying racoon, how cool is that?) But, also, there are lots of black holes in Galaxy, if you fly too high or too low, you're going
  • EAD defined (Score:3, Interesting)

    by randyest (589159) on Tuesday December 04, 2007 @05:49PM (#21578063) Homepage
    If anyone else is curious about what "EAD" stands for, it's Entertainment Analysis and Development. Wikipedia has more info [wikipedia.org]. Maybe I'm just an old man who should know that acronym since everyone else does, but didn't, and I think almost all acronyms should be defined on first use in such articles.
  • I agree that the Storybook was well done. It was completely optional, and yet I visited it every time a new chapter was unlocked. It was just well-presented and appealing. However, other story elements I thought were terrible, like the opening cutscene. They could have made that 10 seconds long, and dropped me into the first level, and I would be much happier. This isn't some "I hate required cutscenes in games" rant, because that's just not true (I'm an admin on a jRPG fansite). This isn't some "Mari
    • by Mr2001 (90979)
      It should, however, be possible to skip cutscenes. When you start a new game, you shouldn't have to watch the intro again. When you die during a boss battle, you shouldn't have to sit through the taunts and camera panning on your next attempt. Watching the cutscenes once is fine, although both stories in SMG left me thoroughly bored, but having to watch them over and over is unacceptable.

      There were times when it felt like the game was more about punishing failure with repetition (ha ha, you died near the en
      • by KDR_11k (778916)
        At least, unlike SM64 and SMS, Galaxy had mid-level checkpoints so you didn't have to start the entire level over when you died.
  • Camera in galaxy (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ad0gg (594412) on Tuesday December 04, 2007 @06:37PM (#21578699)

    So for all the camera problems that you may have found in Mario 64 and Sunshine, even though we didn't realize how to fix those problems then, those solutions presented themselves over time and found their way into this game. I feel like you really can't have Galaxy without all of the things we learned from Sunshine."

    Disabling changing the camera angle in most parts of game isn't fixing the problem.

    • I agree - I don't think they ever found the solution for the camera problems. the camera was arguably the best in M64 Sunshine and MG both have problematic cameras
      • by Dr.Boje (1064726)

        You and parent are both either ignorant fools or blatant liars if you claim to have found the camera in MG to be problematic. It's rare to find a spot where the camera is in a bad position, but you can always rotate it to a good one if need be.

        • by Yosho (135835)
          It's rare to find a spot where the camera is in a bad position, but you can always rotate it to a good one if need be.

          Uh.. no, you can't. There are many places where they lock the player out of rotating the camera, and if you don't like the angle, it's very annoying.
        • you can't deduce that I am ignorant if all you have is my opinion.

          anyway, go read some reviews about MG (avoid Gamespot, if possible :) - across all the nearly-perfect scores that all reviewers gave, the 1 common problem they all found was the camera. Of course these are all opinions as well but my point is that you are in the minority if you think the camera has no problems.

          you're a silly doctor.
          • by Dr.Boje (1064726)

            Yes, I can and will deduce that you are ignorant if your opinion is one which is ignorant. I've already read several reviews of the game and none of them have mentioned any problems with the camera. The biggest complaint I read about in a review was the presentation of the story via the storybook. Hell, a couple of the reviews even praised the "scary-smart camera". I can't take the issue you have with the camera as being serious because my play-through of the game rarely presented a problem with the cam

            • i'm not going to be able to say it any better than Joystiq's nega-review - their nega-reviews are a collection of negative points found in reviews for a game that gets very high scores. you can look up the source of each if you go to the joystiq site and read the FA.

              here's a snippet:

              "The concept of running around giant spheres can be daunting at first." (3) "Just be warned that the potential for nausea is high, as it takes a moment or two to adjust to the camera." (4) "There are a few areas where the cam

              • by Dr.Boje (1064726)

                Thanks for inadvertently proving my point. If these nega-reviews point out the negatives in games that receive "very high scores", then obviously they are nothing more than nitpickings... hence the reason I called you ignorant. 99.9% of the time, the camera in MG is right on the mark. I believe you're making the problems you've had with the camera out to sound much, much more troublesome and frequent than they are, which is ignoring the large majority of the time that the camera is spot on -- that comes

                • the type of complaint is irrelevant. the FACT is that people other than me think problems still exist with the camera (thier opinion). I also included quotes from 5 reviews which also proves that there are reviews out there that talk specifically about it - you said none of them did this.
                  I understand that you think the camera in MG is perfect and since that's your OPINION, I have no absolutely no problem with that. it's too bad you have such a problem with other people's opinion, though. do you know what th
                  • by Dr.Boje (1064726)

                    Haha, but you misunderstand. I'm not saying that that's your opinion... I'm saying it's wrong. Quoting 5 reviews that happen to all mention a problem with the camera isn't very convincing at all. In addition, any problems with the camera are so slight that it just doesn't justify complaining about it. Sorry. :)

                    I also included quotes from 5 reviews which also proves that there are reviews out there that talk specifically about it - you said none of them did this.

                    Actually, I said none of the ones that I read mentioned a problem with the camera and that one even boasted about the game's "scary-smart" camera.

                    no matter how you try to spin it, someone's opinion can't be wrong and therefore, by definition, can't be ignorant because of it. this English lesson provided free of charge!

                    But if someone said they disliked a certain

                    • dude, you're all over the place... and sorry, but I just can't spend any more time trying to teach you rudimentary English and logic [read: the diff between fact and opinion]. stay in school!
                    • by Dr.Boje (1064726)

                      Haha it's cool man, you're full of excrement and yourself so do us all a favor and jump off a bridge! You can't get it through your thick skull that I'm not talking about your opinion being an opinion... so I guess I'd be better off talking to a brick wall.

                    • [sigh] ok I'll breath one last gasp of hope into this...

                      I'm not talking about your opinion being an opinion

                      this is exactly the problem - you've been treating my opinion like a fact from the beginning. an opinion can be neither right or wrong. by calling my opinion wrong (among other indicators), you are treating it like a fact. furthermore, I am not alone in this opinion - and they also are not right or wrong but it shows that your absolute condemnation is unfounded. Nitpicking? of course it is! The FA is n

                    • by Dr.Boje (1064726)

                      Again, you fail to truly grasp my point, and acting like a pompous asshole isn't helping your cause. If someone dislikes the camera in MG, I couldn't care less. However, if their reasoning behind their opinion is based on false information or something as absurdly insignificant as your issue, then I just don't see that opinion as justified and therefore must view it as invalid. So please, stop making the issue out to be more than it is. Nobody really cares that the camera in MG can be problematic at tim

                    • wow, ok. did you RTFA?
                    • by Dr.Boje (1064726)

                      Yeah, I did. Are you even understanding what I'm saying? Maybe I already am talking to a brick wall...

                    • this has become so absurd it's starting to be fun - like a staring contest where you somehow lose by looking away first :)

                      yeah, I understand - any problems that I or anyone else have with the camera in MG are so insignificant that it should not be talked about here on /. or in a review or um, anywhere I guess... that part's still not clear. While it's a good thing we have you around here to let us know when the Significance Threshold has been crossed, you could suggest some places where it IS ok to talk
                    • by Dr.Boje (1064726)

                      I've done all the explaining I can be bothered with doing, but apparently you're just not getting it. For the record, I never said you shouldn't ever cry about the camera in MG, but good GOD son, did you forget the 99.9% of the time when everything works flawlessly? Just like nobody wants to hear you bitch about how bad your day was or what happened to you at the office, nobody wants to hear you bitch about it when you find some insignificant problem in a game. Plus, when you do bitch about it, you make

                    • date: 2007-12-9
                      filed under: absurd - not for public consumption
                      subject: insane mutant troll rant annotated

                      did you forget the 99.9% of the time when everything works flawlessly?

                      the post I responded to wasn't about how good the camera was... and besides [pout], you never asked!

                      nobody wants to hear you bitch about how bad your day was or what happened to you at the office,

                      why don't you write the authors of reviews that also mentioned these problems and tell them they are just being bitchy. I'm sure they'

      • I'd say that you should give M64 another play through. While waiting for Galaxy, I pulled out the old 64 and spent some time with Mario and it was amazing. I was amazed that, when making series of difficult jumps, I was more challenged by manipulating the camera than by the platforms that I was jumping to. Mario is about "platforming" - not about "cameraing"

        When we all played M64 for the first time, it was an amazing experience. Now, standards have risen. If a modern platformer came out that required

        • If a modern platformer came out that required that much camera babysitting, people would complain that it caused the game to be unplayable.

          It's called Ninja Gaiden. The only reason it didn't quite reach "unplayable" status was because every single other thing about the game was just awesome. Either way, there were enough complaints about it that caused the re-release of essentially the exact same game (Ninja Gaiden Black + Sigma) with a few added bonuses and the ability to control the camera.

          Haven't played Galaxy so I don't know what the state with that is, but I agree with you that playing Mario 64 today would annoy me to no end, regard

          • by Morinaga (857587)
            Even before Black / Sigma you could redirect the camera in Ninja Gaiden to the direction you were facing. You just couldn't rotate the camera (freestyle as it were). That said, the camera use in Ninja Gaiden was really bad. Even when you could freely rotate the camera it wasn't a panacea for improving the issue. You still had to block while you rotated the camera. Then, when you faced something like those three God Damn Black Ninjas you never had time to adjust the camera at all, you had to actually go
          • yep, but they added the camera control before the Black re-release in an xbox live downloadable patch... just thought I throw that out there for no real reason :)
        • maybe you're right...
          However, I remember that M64 rarely disabled the camera while MSunshine and MG lock the camera frequently - I find this annoying because there never seemed to be reason why the camera would become locked other than the developers doing it to make the challenge harder.
          I agree that a Mario game should not be about controlling the camera, but I think it's a necessary evil for a 3D game that is not on rails.
      • While SMG still has some camera problems, I really don't see how you can call it worse than Mario 64. SMG I played for about 10 levels before I felt the need to adjust the camera myself. Mario 64 will swivel or flip the camera right before a big jump or when you're walking on a narrow beam, a problem I -never- had in SMG, and which you can NOT circumvent in Mario 64 by simply using the swivel function (you had to actually go to the zoomed-in Mario asscam if you wanted to run straight at your jump).

        In all
        • i don't want more use of a poorly implemented swivel function, but I do want more control. I've played 3d games where camera control was great - if the camera ends up in a bad spot, I can move it and it stays. I was mostly referring to the camera locking in Mario games - it happens with annoying frequency in MG and MSunshine while it was fairly rare in M64. Anyway, when I referenced M64's camera I said 'I seem to remember' - it's been a while since I played it so I was not making an empirical statement.
          shee
  • by 7Prime (871679) on Wednesday December 05, 2007 @01:24AM (#21581885) Homepage Journal
    Twilight Princess was the first Zelda that made me cry (possibly the first GAME that made me tear up). Super Paper Mario had a similar effect (even though the game, as a whole, wasn't quite as good), and Mario Galaxy's story book totally got to me. The storybook probably solidified Galaxy as my favorite Mario game... it just brought everything together, from an emotional standpoint, even if the rest of the game wasn't so dramatic, the storybook supplied that side of it, and that was enough. Not to mention, it was an amazing storybook. It seems like a story written for adults to feel like a children's story, but with all the depth of emotion required for adult enjoyment. I got a similar feeling from the game ICO, or from the story in Super Paper Mario.

    On other things, one thing that Mario 64 really back-treaded with was the number of levels. More levels = more different types of gaming styles. Here's Mario 3 and Super Mario World with 70+ and 120+ levels, all with their own unique style and gameplay gimmicks. Then there's Mario 64, with maybe 12 levels. You find yourself repeating yourself a lot, and for little reason. Obviously, the reason was because 3D levels are infinitely more complex, require more space on a cartridge, and more time in the design process. Now, with DVDs, it's possible to have many levels, and the design teams have learned how to make 3D levels as efficiently as they had with 2D levels. That's one of the main reasons why Mario Galaxy starts to feel more like Mario 3 or Mario World. I really missed having lots of little levels, each with it's own style, and not spending hours playing one level over and over again, on different "missions". With about 40 levels, Mario Galaxy just feels more like Mario 3 than almost any other game.
    • by Kamineko (851857)
      Every level in SMW had its own unique style?

      S'news to me.
    • by icedcool (446975)

      Twilight Princess was the first Zelda that made me cry (possibly the first GAME that made me tear up).

      You need to check out FF6 or FF7. FF7 holds the place in my heart as one of the best games of all time. Definitely most emotionally engaging.

      That and maybe Cave story [miraigamer.net].
      • by 7Prime (871679)
        OF COURSE I've played FF6 and FF7. FF6 made me choke up a few times (Celes' attempted suicide being a highlight), but FF7 never really got to me. I prefer FF8 and 9 to 7, actually, I just think they had a better sense of drama and much better characterization, I never could connect with anyone in 7.

        But surprisingly, TP got to me even more. The drama was sparce, but when it was there, it was pretty heavy. I think they did an even better job of timing and presentation, that when they hit you with something, i
    • The storybook probably solidified Galaxy as my favorite Mario game... it just brought everything together, from an emotional standpoint, even if the rest of the game wasn't so dramatic, the storybook supplied that side of it, and that was enough. Not to mention, it was an amazing storybook. It seems like a story written for adults to feel like a children's story, but with all the depth of emotion required for adult enjoyment.

      Now that I've "finished" the game (seen the entire storybook and ending, but don't have quite 2/3 of the stars yet), I definitely agree with that. When I first started playing, the first real level in space made me feel like I was playing a cross between The Little Prince [wikipedia.org] and a Mario game, just because of the setting and the feel of running around tiny planets with regular-sized objects on them. After going through the whole storybook, though, I think making that connection is even more accurate, since,

      • by 7Prime (871679)
        Yeah, I was definitely feeling the Little Prince vibe, especially with the storybook. I've never read the WHOLE story of Little Prince, but I've read most of it, and I saw a theatrical version of it once that was very good (the "drinking man" scene was especially well portrayed). But yeah, I thought to myself, they must have read The Little Prince while creating the dramatic elements for Mario Galaxy, but now that I think about it, it's not hard to believe that they simply ended up on a parallel route.
  • The first real game work that I did was on Link's Awakening. But at the same time, I came in to write the manual, as I did on the previous game. But they had nothing in place. So I ended up making an entire story to go along with the game. The dream, the island, that was all mine.

    Sir, thank you for the best story I've ever experienced in a Zelda game. Awesome.

  • for Super Paper Mario? Was Miyamoto on an extended leave when this guy inserted hours worth if babble in between the platforming stages? Don't get me wrong, SPM is still a fun game, but I would have found it far more enjoyable if they reduced the nonsequitur story and stuck more with the platforming.

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