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Nintendo Businesses Entertainment Games

Comments From Miyamoto On Wii, Industry 209

This past December, Nintendo designer Shigeru Miyamoto sat down with the Talk Asia program. It was only just recently translated and (via Ars Technica), CNN is carrying the resulting commentary. Miyamoto discusses the creation of Mario, the future of the Nintendo, the problems facing the games industry today, and the 'awesomeness' of the Wii's name. "I think anyone can enjoy video games. But some people shy away from them, just by looking at the shape of the console, or they think it is complicated when they have to plug the machine into their television set. However, I think if it is something that is simple to connect and play, it can be enjoyed by anybody, especially if they can interact with the characters. We also have to think about the themes of the games. There is an abundance of themes that people are interested in, and video games have only touched on few of them."
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Comments From Miyamoto On Wii, Industry

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  • by JoshDM ( 741866 ) on Friday February 16, 2007 @12:06PM (#18038920) Homepage Journal
    Whenever I see a reminiscence about fun, yet somewhat dated PC games, the same group of popular gems like X-COM, Fallout, Star Control II, and Syndicate get the most attention. During these conversations, I always bring up a small lost gem, but very few have heard of it and even fewer have played it. This diamond in the rough? Rocket Science's "Rocket Jockey".

    Published by SegaSoft back in 1997, Rocket Jockey lived a short life between being too powerful for some machines and yet incompatible with next generation PCs. In addition, the coveted LAN play-enabling patch was released far too late in the game, after any popularity Rocket Jockey had built faded away. Rumor had it the game would be released to the Playstation, but this never came to fruition.

    Rocket Jockey is a game about a future sport; rocket... jockeying. As a Rocket Jockey, you straddle a rocket and ride it around a gladiatorial style arena at high speeds. Armed with a grapple on either side to help steer in a 19896 Batmobile fashion, you can enter any of three modes of play:
    1) Rocket Racing: speed around an obstacle course to be the fastest competitor (or solo for a time trial).
    2) Rocket Ball: a polo-style sport involving snagging balls with the grapple and whipping them appropriately into goals before your opponents can stop you or score more.
    3) Rocket War: a gladiatorial battle against other competitors which involves ramming other rockets, snagging jockeys off their mounts with the grapple, tying various items (jockeys, rockets, poles, bombs) to other items (jockeys, rockets, poles, bombs) for style points.

    Simplistic as they sound, this was an incredible and intuitive game, pure unadulterated genius. Besides the addictive game-play (oh, the screams of a competitor jockey ripped from his rocket and swung into a pole), what also stood out with Rocket Jockey was the classy style; down-home 1950's Americana sensibilities reminiscent of Interplay's Fallout series combined with snarky, nihilistic future ad designs. And the music. Oh, the music. The game was accompanied by a surf guitar soundtrack from none other than Dick Dale himself.

    No game I know of has even come close to being anything like Rocket Jockey (Jet Moto?). And that's the clincher; it would be so simple to recreate today. To not give this game a proper revival would be a crime. And that's where the Wii comes in. The controls are a near-perfect match.

    The rocket is controlled by leaning; left or right and you drift in that direction. Up or down were the same, though there wasn't much of a height radius (rockets only went, at most, ten feet from the ground, just enough to ram an opponent off rocket). This basic guidance could be controlled with the Wiimote, with emphasis based on increasing the angle the Wiimote is bent. Being a PC game, speed and launching and releasing the grapples (left and right) were all keyboard based. Velocity (speed, braking) could be handled with A and B, and the Nunchuk could conform to a nice grapple. Aiming was originally nonexistant; it was based on the rocket's angle of lean. With a slight adjustment an aim factor could be a variable handled by the analog stick.

    This game was way too short lived and was so good it cries to be remade for the modern day. Fan attempts have been made to bring it to Unreal Tournament and other platforms. In a recent attempt to get in touch with one of the former developers, I was informed that lawyers constantly botched earlier attempts to get this game properly licensed for a remake. With my prodding, said contact did put forth the idea of porting or re-developing Rocket Jockey to the few remaining Rocket Science alumni. So far, nothing yet has come of this. If anyone out there can do anything for this game, I implore you to try. With the additional promise of online multi-player (or at least split-screen local), an update of Rocket Jockey has the potential to be a future solid gold hit.
  • by HappySqurriel ( 1010623 ) on Friday February 16, 2007 @12:21PM (#18039208)
    Personally, after finishing Zelda I started to play Red Steel which is not a particularly great game but is far better than the reviews would lead you to believe; from that I moved onto trauma center which is an enjoyable little game. Wii Sports still gets a lot of play at "parties" but Rayman seems to have been abandoned in favour of Wario Ware ...

    We have Sonic and SSX comming up which I'm a little optimistic about ... Mario Party 8 comes out in March which will (likely) replace Wario Ware at parties
  • by Aladrin ( 926209 ) on Friday February 16, 2007 @12:22PM (#18039220)
    Standard shift -does- add complexity to a vehicle. For most people, this added complexity is completely unwelcome.

    I drive stick and love it. I refuse to drive an automatic. But I -get- something from it. More control. These people don't get anything from it, and it would take them time and effort to learn, for nothing.

    And yes, most adults shy away from things they are certain to fail at on their first try. There's SO many other things to do that don't involve failure that it's not a big surprise to me.

    Nintendo is aiming at this market of people. They are making games that are easy and fun to learn and play, and making the console simple enough that they won't be scared of all the learning involved in just turning it on the first time. (Oddly, the sensor bar is against this, and so are the GC ports on the side. They are, thankfully, hidden until you look for them, though.)

    My mom keeps asking to come over and play the 91-pin bowling game. Her previous video game experience includes Pac Man, atari 2600 pinball, and Space Invaders. Oh, and the cheezy games on, also. They've already snared 1 non-gamer in my household. My sister and her friend have asked to play the boxing game to work out their arms, also. They left exhausted the first time they tried that... Haven't been back, though.

    It's working for them. Now they need to make more of the WiiSports-type games, and quickly! WiiPlay is NOT like it at all. I'm very disappointed.
  • by UbuntuDupe ( 970646 ) * on Friday February 16, 2007 @12:34PM (#18039442) Journal
    Personally, after finishing Zelda I started to play Red Steel which is not a particularly great game but is far better than the reviews would lead you to believe; from that I moved onto trauma center which is an enjoyable little game. Wii Sports still gets a lot of play at "parties" but Rayman seems to have been abandoned in favour of Wario Ware ...

    I largely agree. Red Steel isn't very polished, but on the important matter -- is it fun to play? -- it does very well. Most swordfighting games fail in that blocking requires an insane reaction time, but in Red Steel, it's an instinctual, intuitive motion. And believe me, you have not lived until you've made the leader of a large group surrender. (clank clank ca-clank-clank-clank as they drop their weapons :-P ) I sold Zelda and Rayman, but kept Red Steel. Zelda was of course very fun, but has very low replay value. (No, hunting down pieces of heart does not count as replay value.) Rayman was fun too, but lost its appeal quickly. People actually didn't even like it as a party game. To unlock the special shootout modes, you had to do a ton of easy shootouts -- just not worth it.
  • Still Playing (Score:4, Interesting)

    by lucyfersam ( 68224 ) on Friday February 16, 2007 @12:44PM (#18039624)
    Miyamoto is still a luminary of game design, and I look forward to his future projects. Wii Sports is still incredibly popular (it just passed a million units sold in Japan, where it is not a pack in), and people are still waiting in line to buy units here in the US. Twilight Princess is an excellent game, though not having tried the GC version I can't really speak on it being more immersive than using a controller. I still play my Wii whenever I can find time, as does everyone I know who has one. In addition to Wii Sports, games like Wario Ware, Rayman, and Excite Truck continue to be a great deal of fun, and I still haven't had time to start on Trauma Center due to playing the other games. Add in the virtual console and a long list of games I want there, and the Wii has an amazing lineup already, and enough to keep someone who doesn't spend there whole life playing video games busy for some time to come. Whenever the NPD numbers for Jan come out, I think we will see that the Wii is continuing to dominate console sales, given that stores can't seem to keep them on the shelves for more than a few minutes at a time.

    As far as Miyamoto and Nintendo at large being able to access new markets, my mother has purchased both a DS and a Wii in the last 3 months. She wouldn't even allow my brother and I to have a NES when we were growing up, so that's a pretty big shift for her, largely due to a fresh look at game design being encouraged by Nintendo.
  • by nomadic ( 141991 ) <.moc.liamg. .ta. .dlrowcidamon.> on Friday February 16, 2007 @12:58PM (#18039834) Homepage
    Maybe I'm the only person in the world who has noticed this but many people refuse to learn how to drive a standard because it "seems" too complicated.

    I refuse to learn how to drive standard because a) I work for a living, b) value my time off, and c) don't see how paying money and spending time to learn how to drive something I currently don't need to drive would be productive.
  • by ShaggyIan ( 1065010 ) on Friday February 16, 2007 @01:15PM (#18040136)

    That statement is so poorly considered I felt compelled. . . nay, obligated. . . to register so that I could respond to it.

    I am 30 years old. I cut my gaming teeth with games like Silent Service for the Commodore 64. I've owned so many gaming systems I shudder to think about it. The Wii is on that list. The 360 and PS3 are not (yet). I've seen no reason to shell out those kind of bucks for a system that I have little interest in at this point. When the price comes down and the libraries interest me, then I might pick one up.

    "A group a people that don't have a basic understanding of video games." Really? Let me teach you the two basic things to understand about video games. . .

    1) Video games are for fun/enjoyment (in general, you masochists). Pretty graphics != fun. While the PS3 and 360 might have better graphics, I haven't seen anything yet that I thought "I really want that, that looks like fun". Wii is meant for quick and easy fun? That sounds like a winner to me every time. Your statement makes me wonder why you play games in the first place. It sounds like for you, pretty graphics and FPS games are fun/enjoyable. That's fine, go buy your PS3 and 360. I haven't heard a reason yet to denigrate the Wii.

    2) Video games make money. Right now, the Wii is definitely making money. Especially because of its appeal to the general public. I would venture a guess that the Sony folks who aren't thinking long-term are getting very nervous about now. Nintendo has my respect in going for the casual gamer (i.e. large market) instead of the hardcore (e.g. teenager without a job). There's a large untapped market, and an entry level economics class will teach you that untapped markets are the easy money.

    Until the Wii entered my house, I was usually playing games by myself. Part of the reason I love the Wii is that my wife/mother will play it with me. That doesn't mean I don't still love Final Fantasy Tactics, and Twisted Metal Black, but it does mean I don't play them as much anymore.

    So I suppose my point is, please go play with yourself, and leave your drivel/troll unposted.

  • by drsquare ( 530038 ) on Friday February 16, 2007 @02:04PM (#18041078)

    On the contrary, it would be better for everyone to learn how to drive on a manual transmission.
    Why do so many Americans drive automatic cars? As far as I'm aware that phenomonom hasn't spread anywhere else.
  • by MeanderingMind ( 884641 ) on Friday February 16, 2007 @02:09PM (#18041170) Homepage Journal
    *Hearty Applause*

    That took guts, and for that you deserve some recognition.

    It's completely ridiculous to assume that everyone in this world is going to enjoy the Wii. It should come as no surprise that people are going to have reactions outside of "Wow!".

    However, it is only very rarely that anyone voices a dissenting viewpoint here concerning the Wii that does not hide themselves as an AC. Rarer still is the AC post that seems to have any connection to reality.

    I will add that I myself haven't played my Wii much lately, but this is true of all my consoles. My computer and my DS have been stealing my attention away from the television.
  • Re:Still Playing (Score:2, Interesting)

    by TheDreadSlashdotterD ( 966361 ) on Friday February 16, 2007 @02:40PM (#18041790) Homepage

    - and I could never go back to an analogue stick for that, but shaking the nunchuck for the spin attack, or shoving it for the shield charge, that doesn't quite work.

    Doesn't quite work? In OoT, I never bothered with the spin attack because I couldn't integrate it into my normal attack. Shaking the nunchuck lets me do that.

    And, yes, I have played the gamecube version of Twilight Princess, and I have to say that I could never go back to a button interface for that.
  • by twistedsymphony ( 956982 ) on Friday February 16, 2007 @02:45PM (#18041868) Homepage

    People like being in control. And the standard controller is essentially dead. Standard being the Wii controller and automatic being the game pad.

    I beg to differ, I've found most of the implementations of control via the Wii remote sloppy at best. If anything the Wii remote is the automatic here... it relies heavy on computer control to interpret user intent so a heavily filtered set of data points is recognized to trigger action A rather then button A triggers Action A. It's a less complex system for the user but accomplishes this with a more complex system under the hood. It's easier to use and requires less user training (like an automatic) but a standard pad interprets user input unquestionably but requires far more user familiarity and finesse (like a stick shift).

    The automatic was introduced to encourage more females and other predominantly non-driving demographics (who found to the task of driving too complex) to start driving the Wii remote hopes to do the same thing to gaming.
  • by trdrstv ( 986999 ) on Friday February 16, 2007 @03:10PM (#18042258)
    Honestly, I use my Wii pretty much Daily, and have for quite a while. I don't always play games on, it, but it is quickly replacing my computer for casual tasks like checking my hotmail, the weather and news. Also WiiToob and 'Finetune' are great for Wii's version of Opera.

    The games are fun, and I have a healthy collection already of both Wii, and VC games which I think is important. Sometimes I want to play a game, but simply don't have the energy for something like Rayman, or Warioware so I fire up StreetFighter, or Mario 64.

  • Re:Fine words (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 16, 2007 @05:00PM (#18044042)
    I'm going to start out by agreeing about the n64 controller. the left half of that was just never used. It was gross miscalculation on nintendo's part, and you could see the correction in the GC controller.
    Now, as for the rest, what are you smoking?
    N64, home of 3 of the best games of the generation, Ocarina of time, Mario 64, and Goldeneye. I played a fuckton of ps1 with friends, but nothing there made me want to own it.
    GameCube. "flopped" so... your interest in a system is contingent upon it winning the generation? I bought a ps2 first, but man, i enjoyed the hell out of the metroid primes, and even if Windwaker wasnt your thing, OoT masterquest was the shit. Also, the games i played that were also on ps2 (mainly Prince of Persia) just looked better on gamecube. GBA. fine, i never got too into the handheld thing until... DS: yes, its sooo gimmicky and lame that I've not been able to find one in the past 3 months of shopping. the guys at best buy laughed at me and said i'd have better luck getting a wii (in early december) cause they couldnt even predict when they'd be coming in. Also, having played (on a friend's) warioware and the new mario, the gameplay is anything but gimmicky, and if that's really your impression, then, well, maybe you should just go play some halo, since you're obviously the hardest of the hardcore gamers. Wii: fuck, you're right, i *hate* having to play innovative games. and man, its sooo unfair to devs to ask them to do something new and interesting. wait, wasnt your complaint about the GBA that it got buried under franchisegames? well, the Wii is pretty much the exact opposite of that, so what's your problem? last time i checked, all the major developers LEAPT on the Wii release with a very decent list of titles, and are still putting them out... so... yeah, what, exactly, are you talking about?
    So, hating nintendo is fun and all that, obviously, but seriously, it sounds like you've not even touched a nintendo product in the past decade enough to form a decent opinion.

Whenever people agree with me, I always think I must be wrong. - Oscar Wilde