LOS ANGELES — The godfather of video games would like it if we could just all get along and have fun. And maybe stop blowing each other’s virtual brains out.
Shigeru Miyamoto has been called both the Steven Spielberg and the Walt Disney of video games, and as the creator of game franchises such as Mario, Donkey Kong and The Legend of Zelda, he’s been the public face of Japanese gaming giant Nintendo for more than three decades.
At this year’s Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles, we sat down with Miyamoto for a Canadian-exclusive chat on everything from the next generation of game consoles to the industry’s reliance on virtual violence.
When the 59-year-old Miyamoto speaks, everyone — from game fans on up to the top executives in the business — listens. Here’s a small sampling of what he had to say.
On the challenge of explaining how the touchscreen-equipped controller for Nintendo’s upcoming Wii U console will create different types of gameplay:
Just watching people play, you don’t have a really clear idea of where the fun is. But as soon as you play it yourself, it immediately comes to you very quickly how much fun there is.
As we continue to design these games and introduce these new play styles and new play structures, people will gradually start to understand them and we’ll see more and more people playing them. And then from there they can potentially develop into bigger and richer game experiences.
On Microsoft and Sony introducing so-called second screen technology for their own consoles:
The fact that just one year after we first introduced the concept of Wii U we’re already seeing companies that are trying to sort of move in that same direction says that obviously they feel there’s a tremendous amount of possibility in what we’ve been showing so far.
On the expectation that the yet-to-be-announced price of the Wii U might be on the high side:
I love that you think so highly of the hardware that that’s your expectation. But at the same time, video game machines for many years are something that have always sold at some of those lower price points … whether it’s $200, or $250 for Wii. So it’s very difficult to move away from that, but we’ll try to find a balance.
On the proliferation of extreme violence in video games being developed for competing consoles:
Sometimes I get worried about the continued reliance on making games that are so centered around guns, and the fact there are so many of those games. And I have a hard time imagining, particularly for younger generations of gamers, how they sit down and play and interact with a game like that.
On how video game fans and the media like to pit game companies against each other at E3:
At a show like this, it’s my job to show that we’re all having fun. Everybody comes to E3 and they want to talk about the competition and who won the show, and all these companies combating against each other. But from my perspective, what we’re really supposed to be here doing is showing the world how we can bring fun to the world.
So rather than focusing on competition, I feel it’s my job to go up there on stage and show I can bring fun to the world by having fun myself.
For more on our E3 chat with Miyamoto, check out our Button Mashers blog at blogs.canoe.ca/buttonmashers.