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Nintendo Businesses Wii Entertainment Games

Nintendo's Miyamoto On Innovation, Wii Ambitions 263

Posted by Soulskill
from the wii-music-will-bring-balance-to-the-force dept.
Edge Magazine is running an interview with Nintendo game designer Shigeru Miyamoto about some of the company's recent projects, such as Wii Music and Wii Fit. Miyamoto talks about his ambitions for the titles, as well as the difficulty in continuing to entertain players by surprising them. He refers to Wii Music as "music software" rather than a game, and says the primary intent was to bring music to families and assist in music education. The conversation then turns to where Nintendo can go in the future; Miyamoto discusses integrating new technologies into popular game franchises, and the dilemma Nintendo will face when designing its next console — do they stick with updated versions of their innovative controllers, do they return to a more standard build, or do they bring a completely different input device to the table?
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Nintendo's Miyamoto On Innovation, Wii Ambitions

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 04, 2008 @09:38PM (#25997663)

    No, im not the troll that started this but here goes...

    Wii succeeded in filling the market niche of "that toy that people get for their kids/significant others/parents to shut them up for a little bit"... the Wii remote is a gimmick to get people playing games with gestures instead of thumbs since people who aren't good at their thumbs aren't good with the PS3 or 360. What is terribly innovative about a remote that knows when you've swung it vigorously in the direction of the TV? If there were any accuracy at all in the Wiimote maybe I wouldn't be so pissed about spending like 400 bucks on wii crap games only to realize that the skill required is about equivalent to playig "ball-in-a-cup". Not bitter, i'm not bitter... sigh.

    After playing my fair share of games on all the consoles, the Wii strikes me, without a doubt, as the least sophisticated and least satisfying for the bulk of electronic game players.

    BUT! Oh, I forgot, it appeals to masses of little girls and old people, good job, you get a gold star. What's next from nintendo? A robotic pony with tennis balls for feet so great grandma can push it around the nursing home.

    Anonymous here i come! hell hath no fury like slashdot blindly lusting for the wii...

  • Re:Wii Music, Huh? (Score:5, Informative)

    by infrequent (1424239) on Thursday December 04, 2008 @09:56PM (#25997803)

    Well, it seems like you have absolutely no idea what you're talking about.

    I could "go into a lengthy diatribe about" the many brilliant ideas in Wii Music, but instead, I'll respond to your vaguely sketched out MIDI criticism, borrowed by none other than the IGN reviewer who stated far in advance of the game's release that he was dying to tear it apart, and who also posts those rather juvenile rants about how Nintendo doesn't make enough Zelda games, etc.

    This will, however, require some quick digression into the question of the point of this game. This isn't a game with pre-recorded tracks that you simply try to play through in glorified Simon-Says style, as in Rock Band styled games. Instead, the entire objective of this game is to take a familiar tune and rearrange it into something new, or take it into a musical domain far removed from its original settings.

    For the uninitiated, here's a very quick rundown of what you do:

    1. Pick a song from the list
    2. Pick an instrument to play, and a role for that instrument. This is crucial; if you pick, say, a cello, and assign it the role of "harmony", the notes available to you as you play through the song will be chosen in a roughly contrapuntal relation to the main melody. If you choose the role of "chord", the cello will be able to play chords following the basic harmonic progression of the song. Or assign it to "bass", and so on.
    3. Play through the song using the chosen instrument in the chosen role. Here's the interesting part -- while the specific notes played will be drawn from the combination of instrument and role, you can play the instrument however you'd like, holding out notes for suspensions, syncopating the rhythm, adding fills and sectional variations, etc. Each instrument also has various advanced controls, allowing you, for instance, to double pick, mute the strings, or bend notes on the guitar. Of utmost importance to the quality of your performance, however, will certainly be your restraint and control of dynamics -- here Wii Music's controls truly shine, picking up movements from the slightest tap on the piano's keys to a resounding chord.
    4. Now restraint and style becomes even more important: you continue to perform instruments in chosen roles until you fill all six parts of the song, overdubbing with your previous parts to create your own rendition of the song.

    The possibilities are endless, and here's why, at last, something like MIDI is necessary for this game: you can't use prerecorded parts like other rhythm games, and you need to allow the user to do anything with the notes played, with dynamics, bending, and other touches depending on the instrument.

    Perhaps they could have used even better MIDI voices, but the actually sound very good if used properly in a creative arrangement. Here are three very different videos, from three different authors, created with Wii Music: surely there is no mistaking the MIDI roots if you listen closely, but overall the sound is amazingly good for a game that is so open-ended.

    Frere Jacques [youtube.com] Every Breath You Take [youtube.com] Sukiyaki [youtube.com]

  • Re:Head tracking (Score:4, Informative)

    by cheater512 (783349) <nick@nickstallman.net> on Thursday December 04, 2008 @10:35PM (#25998169) Homepage

    Problem with head tracking is you need to move your head, but the screen stays put.

  • Re:Next Console? (Score:3, Informative)

    by MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) on Thursday December 04, 2008 @10:39PM (#25998203)

    Yeah and the Wii is significantly more powerful than the PS2. It wasn't due to lack of power, it was simply a fuckup and it ended in a class action lawsuit.

    You don't know what you're talking about.

  • Re:Wii Music, Huh? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Omestes (471991) <[omestes] [at] [gmail.com]> on Friday December 05, 2008 @03:42AM (#25999981) Homepage Journal

    Eh, the games are in the Wii. Between virtual arcade, their Xbox Arcade clone, and actual releases, their doing rather well. Granted I am a bit miffed about the lack of 3rd party releases, but still there is plenty to do. The lack of 3rd party released is largely based on the idiocy of developers refusing to offer solid products to the Wii, as much as it is Nintendo's fault for making a system with sub-par graphics (the only thing that matters to young gamers).

    I'm not, btw, crying for the lack of stealth shooters based in WWII (or not, to a lesser but still significant degree), which seems to be all that the gaming industry has been able to produce for the last 5 years.

    Stop being a fan boy, all the systems have major faults right now, both hardware wise, and in terms of diversity of releases. Out of the 9,000 PS3 games, there might be 5 I'd want to play (of those 4 have PC versions which will be better). The 360 has mortality issues, and has the same game problem as the PS3 (I hate racing and stealth shooters which are the only things out there). The Wii is a graphical weakling, and only has Nintendo releases (though they are largely quality).

  • Re:Wii Music, Huh? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Wheely (2500) on Friday December 05, 2008 @03:42AM (#25999983)

    Though I know next to nothing about Wii Music, I do know that this reviewer isn't very good.

    The bizarre statement "archaic, amateur MIDI" is only slightly less weird than the concept of deriding an "Ode to Joy done in MIDI".

    I take it you, and this reviewer do not know what MIDI is. MIDI is only a protocol for describing musical events. It has no sound of its own.

    All professional recording studios make extensive use of MIDI for driving sampled or modeled instruments or for syncing and for hardware controllers (e.g. those exciting desks full of sliders and knobs).

    I guarantee you that most of the music you listen to, even live stage music, is driven by MIDI.

  • Re:Wii Music, Huh? (Score:3, Informative)

    by jimicus (737525) on Friday December 05, 2008 @05:08AM (#26000415)

    How would they do it other than MIDI? Don't forget they have 50 instruments in addition to the 50 songs.

    Well, the obvious solution that I can think of would be something like a tracker MOD file. (see also http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trackers [wikipedia.org])

    For some reason these never really caught on on the PC but they were commonly used for game soundtracks in the early 1990's on many other platforms because while they store the notes and tempo (like a MIDI file), they can also store samples, guaranteeing what the track will sound like regardless of what system's playing it.

  • Re:Wii Music, Huh? (Score:4, Informative)

    by AlXtreme (223728) on Friday December 05, 2008 @06:22AM (#26000783) Homepage Journal

    The possibilities are endless, and here's why, at last, something like MIDI is necessary for this game: you can't use prerecorded parts like other rhythm games, and you need to allow the user to do anything with the notes played, with dynamics, bending, and other touches depending on the instrument.

    Having fooled around with Wii Music for a bit myself, I concur that using MIDI was the only choice possible for a game like this.

    However, this is no excuse for the poor choice of tracks. I understand that Nintendo wasn't going to shell out megabucks to license a hundred popular songs, but they did hype up Wii Music quite a bit so you have to be able to show something. Like the IGN reviewer, the only track I actually enjoyed was the F-Zero one.

    I understand throwing in a few public domain scores to keep costs down, but if you're being cheap on the music (the main selling point of the game for most), don't be surprised if the game falls flat for many. This coupled with the fact that you can't make your own original tracks but only replay existing ones, Wii Music has been a let-down for me.

  • by Siener (139990) on Friday December 05, 2008 @09:54AM (#26002047) Homepage

    Where are the point-and-click adventures?

    Have you tried Strong Bad's Cool Game for Attractive People [wikipedia.org], Zack & Wiki [wikipedia.org] and Sam & Max [wikipedia.org]? (OK, Sam & Max is not a Wii original, but the Wii version is great)

    In general I agree with your post. IMO the biggest problem was that 3rd party developers were caught napping. No-one expected the Wii's runaway success. Things are slowly changing though. There are more and more innovative, quality games coming out that were written from the ground up with the Wii's control's in mind rather than crappy ports that are basically PS2 versions of the game with motion control gimmicks added.

    The days of the Wii being just for casual games and Nintendo staples like Mario and Zelda are coming to an end. One example of an upcoming Wii game that is both innovative, stylish and that is definitely not "just for kids" is MadWorld [youtube.com]. Definitely not the kind of thing you would historcally associate with a Nintendo platform.

    However, like you I'm still waiting for quality RPG on the Wii. I also think you would be able to make good RTS's (a genre that consoles have really been lacking in) using the Wiimote

  • Re:Wii Music, Huh? (Score:3, Informative)

    by bonch (38532) on Friday December 05, 2008 @07:47PM (#26009055)

    The MIDI music on the Wii is using sound samples. Sometimes I think people misunderstand what MIDI is. It's just raw music data, and the output can be anything. I haven't heard FM synthesized MIDI in a long time.

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