B1 Intermediate US 2224 Folder Collection
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This is Shigeru Miyamoto.
If you've played video games any time in the past 30 years, you're probably familiar with his work.
"Donkey Kong", "Zelda", "Star Fox".
And then, of course, this guy: "It's a me, Mario!"
When Miyamoto makes games, he always tries to do things differently than other designers.
Here he is back in 1998, explaining why he wasn't focused on online gaming.
(Japanese) It's a trend. And I try to avoid all trends.
And why he wasn't adding small in-game purchases to "Mario" for iPhone in 2016.
(Japanese) Everyone was saying I had to do it... but I'm the kind of person who doesn't want to be told 'that's the way you do it'.
Miyamoto has helped define a lot of what makes a video game great.
So how does he do it?
(Japanese) I think that first is that a game needs a sense of accomplishment.
(Japanese) And you have to have a sense that you have done something, so that you get the sense of satisfaction of completing something.
In 1981, one of Miyamoto's first assignments at Nintendo was to design a replacement for a game called "Radar Scope".
It had performed poorly in the U.S., leaving the company with 2,000 unsold arcade units.
And this is what he came up with:
Miyamoto based the story on the love triangle in "Popeye" between a bad guy, a hero, and a damsel in distress.
But since Nintendo couldn't secure the rights to use those characters, Miyamoto replaced them with a gorilla, a carpenter, and his girlfriend.
In later games, that carpenter became a plumber.
And his named changed, from Mr. Video, to Jumpman, and then to Mario, after this guy, the landlord of a Nintendo warehouse. near Seattle.
This was one of the first times that a video game's plot and characters were designed before the programming.
(Japanese) Well, early on, the people who made video games, they were technologists, they were programmers, they were hardware designers.
(Japanese) But I wasn't. I was a designer, I studied industrial design, I was an artist, I drew pictures.
(Japanese) And so I think that it was in my generation that people who made video games really became designers rather than technologists.
That change in approach came at a key time for video games.
When "Donkey Kong" was first released in 1981, the video game market in North America was on the verge of collapse.
It was saturated with a lot of different consoles, and the boom in home computers made a lot of people question why they would want a separate device just to play games.
But the storytelling in games like "Super Mario Bros" and "The Legend of Zelda"—which you could only play on Nintendo's own hardware—helped set them apart as best-sellers.
(Speaking Japanese) When I approach the design of my games, what I have to think about is how I'm showing a situation to a player, conveying to them what they're supposed to do.
In "Mario" you keep moving to the right to reach the end goal.
In "Donkey Kong" you keep climbing up to rescue the captured princess.
A lot of Miyamoto's genius can be seen in the first level of "Super Mario Bros".
This is probably the most iconic level in video game history.
It's designed to naturally teach you the game mechanics while you play.
If you look at a breakdown, there's a lot of really subtle design work going on here.
Though Mario is usually at the center of the screen, in this first scene he starts at the far left.
All the empty space to the right of him gives you a sense of where to go.
Now this character's look and movement suggest it's harmful.
But don't worry.
If you run into it, you'll just start the game over without much of a penalty.
Next, you see gold blocks with question marks.
These are made to look intriguing, and once you hit one, you're rewarded.
That then encourages you to hit the second block, which releases a mushroom.
Even if you're scared of what it might be, the positioning of the first obstacle makes it just about guaranteed that you're gonna run into this thing.
And once you do, Mario gets bigger and stronger.
And just like that, you've learned all the basic rules in the game without having to read a single word.
(Japanese) What else is there?
(Japanese) The last is the immersive quality of the game, being able to feel like it's a world you're immersed in, that you've become a hero.
(Japanese) That you've become brave. Even if you're actually crying.
Immersiveness in a video game has a lot to do with the controls—the more precisely you can move your character, the more you feel like you're part of the story.
And Nintendo has always been a pioneer with controllers.
It was the first to have the classic setup of the directional pad on the left and buttons on the right.
The first to have left and right shoulder buttons.
The first to have a 360-degree thumbstick.
And the first to bring motion control to the mass market.
But with 2016's "Super Mario Run", Nintendo, for the first time, made a game for a controller it didn't design: the iPhone.
(Speaking Japanese) Over time, not as many people have been playing Mario games.
(Speaking Japanese) And we ask ourselves: Why have people stopped playing “Mario”?
(Speaking Japanese) And for people who played early and then stopped playing, oftentimes it's because the controls got too difficult.
The Wii U flopped when it came out in 2012, and Nintendo 3DS sales are far below those of its predecessor.
But the number of American gamers playing on mobile phones has doubled to more than 164 million between 2011 and 2015.
You can think of “Super Mario Run” as a shift from immersiveness to accessibility.
(Speaking Japanese) I think the end result is a game anyone can play, for first-time player to the most experienced ones.
And that's kind of been Miyamoto's design philosophy from the very start: make fun games that everybody can play.
The rest is in our hands.
(Japanese) These controls direct the characters, the better your eye-hand coordination, the better you do.
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How the inventor of Mario designs a game

2224 Folder Collection
Winnie Liao published on December 3, 2019    Seraya translated    Yukiko reviewed
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