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Wednesday August 15, 2007 7:21 pm

Miyamoto Says it’s All About the Fun




Posted by Paul Hamilton Categories: Casual, Culture, Nintendo

Dead MarioIt’s hardly a secret that has fixed its sights squarely on a more casual gamer this generation than they have in the past. They’ve said as much, and the strategy has proven to be highly successful. While this has been great for Nintendo, its shareholders and investors and to a certain extent the Nintendo fanboys who have been more like apologists for the last several years, some hardcore gamers are expressing concern over Nintendo’s new family-friendly approach.

Often times it seems this new approach means simplifying games, making them easier to pick up, understand and potentially succeed with. For a hardcore community that was already questioning the wisdom of making games less difficult or at least less punishing, it has set off the klaxons in a big way.

Read More | Next Generation

Famed Nintendo creative mind Shigeru Miyamoto clarifies Nintendo’s stance on the difficulty of games. “...[T]here is no point in making a difficulty level the fun factor of a game. We are making Super Mario Galaxy as a new and fun experience which aims at providing a very appealing, convincing and—before all—fun experience,” he says. He continues, “Should [a game] be fun by only playing it a short time, this indicates already it has a big value as a product… It is very important that the full fun of the game is being felt in the first stage 1-1.”

Clearly Miyamoto and Nintendo are not afraid to paint even their most prized properties with their new inclusive brushes, but one can’t help wondering whether Mario would have grown into the iconic figure he is today without some of that old-fashioned controller-chucking frustration. Early Miyamoto/Mario games weren’t especially forgiving (witness Donkey Kong and the Japanese version of Super Mario Bros. 2, released in the states as “The Lost Levels”) and the familiar mascot did pretty well. It could even be argued that since the invention of the checkpoint, save game and narrative structure that encouraged completion rather than repetition, no game character has achieved the same level of popularity enjoyed by earlier avatars such as Pac-Man and of course Mario.

Still, Miyamoto makes a fairly compelling argument since, after all, games are supposed to be fun and most people don’t find frustration terribly engaging. Miyamoto cuts to the chase, “We need to release more games which feel like games. It is important that people who are playing them feel that the games are indeed fun to play.”

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