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Shigeru Miyamoto, The Walt Disney of Our Time

kdawson posted more than 6 years ago | from the thirty-years-of-fun dept.

NES (Games) 195

circletimessquare writes "The New York Times has a gushing portrait of Shigeru Miyamoto. His creative successes have spanned almost 30 years, from Donkey Kong, to Mario (as well known as Mickey Mouse around the world, the story notes), to Zelda, to the Wii, and now to Wii Fit — which according to some initial rumors is selling out across the globe in its debut. The article has some gems of insight into the man's thinking, including that his iconic characters are an afterthought. Gameplay comes first, and the characters are designed around that. Additionally, his fame and finances and ego are refreshingly modest for someone of his high regard and creative stature: 'despite being royalty at Nintendo and a cult figure, he almost comes across as just another salaryman (though a particularly creative and happy one) with a wife and two school-age children at home near Kyoto. He is not tabloid fodder, and he seems to maintain a relatively nondescript lifestyle.'"

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195 comments

You know what that means! (4, Funny)

Mordok-DestroyerOfWo (1000167) | more than 6 years ago | (#23537689)

We get to freeze his head as well!

Re:You know what that means! (4, Informative)

canajin56 (660655) | more than 6 years ago | (#23537803)

It's an urban legend that Walt Disney became increasingly interested in cryogenics in his later years, requested to be frozen when he died, and was frozen after he died.

All three parts are untrue. It's impossible to rule out that Walt Disney had even heard of cryogenics, but there's certainly no proof he did, let alone that he became obsessed with the idea. He was, in fact, cremated, the polar opposite of being frozen, if there is one!

Re:You know what that means! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23537813)

He was, in fact, cremated, the polar opposite of being frozen, if there is one!

Polar ehh? That was the worst pun ever.

Re:You know what that means! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23538177)

Yeah, I can't bear the pun of cremation as the polar opposite of being frozen.

Re:You know what that means! (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23538729)

Yeah, I can't bear the pun of cremation as the polar opposite of being frozen.
The polar opposite of an ursine myth is the truth about Goldilocks.

Re:You know what that means! (1)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 6 years ago | (#23538825)

Elian! [robotchicken.org]

Japanese not creative? (1)

timeOday (582209) | more than 6 years ago | (#23537735)

This guy certainly seems to shatter that stereotype. Yet not in the reckless or flamboyant way we associate with creativity here.

Re:Japanese not creative? (4, Insightful)

pedantic bore (740196) | more than 6 years ago | (#23537827)

Umm... how many Japanese people do you know?

I haven't noticed any lack of creativity. They do seem a bit more preoccupied with consensus and protocol, which gives the appearance of a lack of spontaneity, but don't let that fool you the way it fooled the American automotive industry, or the semiconductor world, or the consumer electronics world (or the anime world...).

Re:Japanese not creative? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23537889)

(or the anime world...).
Seriously, anyone who has seen anime has got to admit that not only are the japanese creative, but that they can also be batshit friggan insanely creative to the point of seeming incoherent.

Re:Japanese not creative? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23537951)

they can also be batshit friggan insanely creative to the point of seeming incoherent.
Tentacle hentai is perfectly coherent. They're demons, they have lots and lots of tentacles, and they like using them. What's so hard to understand?

Though I do understand your point. They're not incoherent though - Americans just aren't used to having to be observant. They'll have several shots containing different information, then mention the combination of information later without spoon-feeding it to the viewer.

Re:Japanese not creative? (0)

pedantic bore (740196) | more than 6 years ago | (#23537955)

Well put.

Re:Japanese not creative? (1, Interesting)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 6 years ago | (#23538145)

Once you get over the novelty of the cultural difference most anime tends to be even less creative than your average sitcom.

Re:Japanese not creative? (1)

Bashae (1250564) | more than 6 years ago | (#23538277)

There are several hundreds of anime series and even if 'most' are boring (and I agree with that), that still leaves dozens of interesting and original ones!

Re:Japanese not creative? (2, Funny)

_KiTA_ (241027) | more than 6 years ago | (#23538343)

There are several hundreds of anime series and even if 'most' are boring (and I agree with that), that still leaves dozens of interesting and original ones!
Just like sitcoms? 100 shitty ones, 1 Seinfeld.

Re:Japanese not creative? (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23538417)

You mean 101 shitty ones, and one Arrested Developmet.

Re:Japanese not creative? (0)

deathy_epl+ccs (896747) | more than 6 years ago | (#23538489)

100 shitty ones, 1 Seinfeld.

Must be why I don't like any sitcoms, with what's considered one of the good ones.

Re:Japanese not creative? (1)

ACDChook (665413) | more than 6 years ago | (#23538513)

100 shitty ones, 1 Seinfeld.
So 100 bad, and 1 truly atrocious?

Re:Japanese not creative? (1)

Winckle (870180) | more than 6 years ago | (#23539217)

There are several hundreds of different sitcom series and even if 'most' are boring (and I agree with that), that still leaves dozens of interesting and original ones!

Depends which ones you watch? (4, Informative)

Xenographic (557057) | more than 6 years ago | (#23538561)

And once you read enough TVTropes, you won't think of anything as 'original' ever again :]

Still, there are tons of great anime that are really creative. Death Note springs to mind. I can't think of anything else where the suspense was that strong, or where the characters were that intelligent.

I know some will say that 'anything popular is crap', but Bleach & Naruto have very engaging stories, too (the manga, not the crappy Naruto filler). I admit, those two are getting a little long in the tooth, but at the outset, they were on the top of their game.

And once you get into lesser-known series (say, Hikaru no Go, Kekkaishi, Rental Magica, REC, Hayate no Gotoku, Dennou Coil, Code-E, Bamboo Blade, or Akagi) you'll find that there's a lot more to be had than robots, sentai and tentacle porn.

Re:Depends which ones you watch? (1)

indi0144 (1264518) | more than 6 years ago | (#23539639)

You forgot Serial Experiments LAIN .. technopunk is the best!

Re:Japanese not creative? (1)

SirLurksAlot (1169039) | more than 6 years ago | (#23538595)

Once you get over the novelty of the cultural difference most anime tends to be even less creative than your average sitcom.

I agree with this to an extent. There are definitely patterns that show up frequently in anime. Shy young man that ends up with a harem of hotties hanging all over him. One guy with "an unbreakable will" saves everyone against all odds. The current trend of "Shinigami [wikipedia.org] " type anime. The patterns are easy to spot after you've seen them a few times, and they can get tiresome after a while. You can tell that anime producers definitely have their version of the golden equation for entertainment.

That being said, when you compare anime to American animation there really is a huge difference in creativity. There are a variety of genres, character archetypes, settings and themes that simply don't exist in American animation. Seriously, how many romantic comedies, horror shows, or cyber-thrillers have you seen in American animation? How many times has a villain in American animation turned out to be someone you could sympathize with? I think (and this is just speculation on my part as I've never been there) this is because animation there is viewed as a legitimate medium for storytelling. It seems as though American animation is restricted to children's shows (Disney, Warner Bros, Hanna Barbara) and fart jokes (I'm looking at you Cartoon Network!), with obvious exceptions (The Simpsons, Family Guy, and any of the DC cartoons all come to mind). It's difficult to see American animation producing anything as creative as what is currently being shown in Japan because of this "Oh it's animated so it must be for kids" mentality that so many people have here.

Re:Japanese not creative? (1)

newsdee (629448) | more than 6 years ago | (#23538919)

The "golden equation" actually comes from anime's source material, manga. There is an excellent book (comic/manga) called "Even a monkey can draw manga", which, under covers of parody, dissects most of the common stereotypes of manga (and thus anime). It points out that depending on the intended audience age you'll very often find the same elements because to be successful, you just need to copy other successful stuff (thus the title). The book itself is a manga, so interestingly it proves that the medium is not at fault, just the commercialism of it. There are certainly some works that are less marketable, but a very interesting or original read (same as comics and any other medium, really).

Re:Japanese not creative? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23538243)

Seriously, anyone who has seen anime has got to admit that not only are the japanese creative, but that they can also be batshit friggan insanely creative to the point of seeming incoherent.
Are you kidding me? I love anime, but you have to admit that it's incredibly formulaic. A good 95% of it is either of the mecha or the 'magical girl' variety. Sometimes, you even get both (e.g. Escaflowne).

Re:Japanese not creative? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23538385)

Where are my mod points when I need them? If anything ever deserved a +6 insightful, interesting and funny all at the same time this is it ;)

Re:Japanese not creative? (1)

Deadstick (535032) | more than 6 years ago | (#23537977)

...and all they had going in was the Zero fighter and the Long Lance torpedo...who knew?

rj

Re:Japanese not creative? (1)

timeOday (582209) | more than 6 years ago | (#23538151)

I agree. I also think it is entirely foolish for us to imagine that Chinese or Indians will be content indefinitely to do all the hard work while the bosses at our importer / branding companies (such as Levis and Nike) take most of the profits.

Re:Japanese not creative? (4, Insightful)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 6 years ago | (#23538223)

I agree. I also think it is entirely foolish for us to imagine that Chinese or Indians will be content indefinitely to do all the hard work while the bosses at our importer / branding companies (such as Levis and Nike) take most of the profits.

That is exactly what a lot of Asian economies seem to actually want. It seems they fear they will lose their work ethic if they outsource the "real work" to cheaper nations, and thus they keep their currencies artificially low and do not help boost local consumption. The US instead outsources a lot of the detailed work, turning us into marketers and lawyers instead of actual "producers". Whether this is a good thing or not depends on what you want to achieve. It has killed our manufacturing base and is eating into programming and hands-on tech jobs, but also gives us lots of shinny cheap trinkets and fat cars.
     

Re:Japanese not creative? (1)

Metasquares (555685) | more than 6 years ago | (#23539147)

It's also completely unsustainable. At some point, the world's new producers will realize that they can do this stuff themselves, and then the rug is going to be yanked out from under us faster than you can say "star goat".

Re:Japanese not creative? (1)

Awptimus Prime (695459) | more than 6 years ago | (#23539241)

Nothing about modern economics is completely sustainable. Change, often rapid, is a part of our global reality. I think what the previous poster was getting to has more to do with the governments over there seeing what's going on here and not wanting any part of it.

When you have a certain population, the needs change from "how do I do this with less people?" to "how do I keep these billions of people busy and fed?"

Re:Japanese not creative? (2, Informative)

crenshawsgc (1228894) | more than 6 years ago | (#23539253)

It has killed our manufacturing base
The USA had the world's largest industrial output, actually, as you can see in this article published by the http://ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=35402 [ipsnews.net] United Nations "Currently, the largest share of world industrial output is held by the United States (23.3 percent), followed by Japan (18.2 percent) and Germany (7.4 percent). China ranks fourth with 6.9 percent." I don't call that "dead."

Re:Japanese not creative? (1)

thomas.galvin (551471) | more than 6 years ago | (#23539783)

It has killed our manufacturing base and is eating into programming and hands-on tech jobs, but also gives us lots of shinny cheap trinkets and fat cars.
Along with a ballooning trade deficit, crushing debt, an economy based more on illusion than real, tangible goods...

Re:Japanese not creative? (4, Insightful)

Dogtanian (588974) | more than 6 years ago | (#23538329)

I haven't noticed any lack of creativity. [..] but don't let that fool you the way it fooled the American automotive industry
I agree with you that any alleged Japanese "lack of creativity" is a myth that should be thoroughly discredited by now; they were coming up with games like Space Invaders and Pac-Man almost 30 years ago.

However, if the situation in the US is remotely like that in the UK, I doubt that it was this "creativity" that let them take over the car industry. While they may have released some interesting cars over the years, the ones that brought them success in the UK were hardly radical or interesting.

No, let me rephrase that; they *were* radical in that (unlike most British cars of the 1970s) they included nice stuff like car radios as standard, were good value for money, and most notably were reliable. (Okay, so the early ones rusted badly in the UK climate, but so did a lot of cars at that time, and they seemed to get round that quite quickly).

But interesting in terms of design and appearance mass-market Japanese cars of the 1970s-1990s certainly weren't. In fact, I daresay that it's many of those cars that gave them a reliable-but-unimaginative reputation.

Re:Japanese not creative? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23539483)

>they were coming up with games like Space Invaders and Pac-Man almost 30 years ago.
r
By copying Space Wars, Defender, and the like, yes.

The Japanese hardly had a monopoly on arcade masterpieces. Unless, that is, you're a typical Nintendo fanboy who doesn't realize that companies like Atari or Midway even existed, or that video games existed before Donkey Kong.

Re:Japanese not creative? (4, Insightful)

fermion (181285) | more than 6 years ago | (#23539503)

I don't think it is every useful to presume abilities based on race. For instance, American laboratories are full of scientists of every ethnicity doing creative work, and American shops are full of americans that have never had a creative thought. It depends on the person.

What is clear that many countries, particularly in Asia, are really good at teaching children to pass tests, while other countries, such as the US, tended to have a much less goal oriented, less standardized, curriculum which could be argued to foster creativity. A reasonable intelligent and creative person could get through the social hazing project we called school, perhaps get through college, and then get on with the American past time or creating wealth. of course this left some people without an education, which is why we are now obsessed with tests. Make sure that every students is educated to same remedial level, just like the rest of the world. And before commenting on who smart the immigrants you meet on the street are, remember that those are the best of the best.

In any case, the issue with american car makers is not one of intelligence or creativity, but one of arrogance. It was basically assumed that chauvinism would prevail and that people, in a free market that uses competition to fuel innovation no less, choose an inferior more expensive product. The arrogance cost the automakers thier bussinesses, and the American Taxpayers untold millions in a bailout.

The sad thing is that much of what the japanese did, at least to some degree, was to apply US technology. The US auto manufacturers would not invest in applying the technology. The US manufacturers would not plan for the rainy day. They felt the US government would take care of them with protectionist measures and bailouts, just like now. Back in 2000 it was written that oil prices were going to plummet due to oversupply, even though growth in India and Japan made it clear that the competition for the commodity was at best going to keep prices stable, and more than likely cause modest growth. So they continued to count on legislative loopholes and other sweetheart deals and continued to produce cars that now has us with only two, and perhaps one, viable auto maker.

Which is to nothing is simple. In the US we turn out all sorts of people, many who are innovative and creative. If one limits the sample to college prep school, we produce test takers to rival anyone in the world. We are a vibrant enough country with the best integration skills so we can attract the best talent. Which is good, because after about the third generation, it seems taht the ability of an US person to be innovative in the marketplace sags. Which is why our car industry is kaput. The hungry bugger nipping at our toes simply has more to gain, so works harder to get it. Most of us eat and have a reasonable place to stay no matter how lazy we are.

Re:Japanese not creative? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23538349)

He wasn't saying that Japanese people aren't creative. He was saying that lack of creativity is a stereotype associated with the Japanese, which is true. I could say that Barrack Obama shatters the stereotype that all blacks are watermelon thieves who stab their wives, and I wouldn't be saying that all blacks are watermelon thieves who stab their wives. Just that this is what the typical uninformed idiot seems to think.

Re:Japanese not creative? (2, Funny)

Warll (1211492) | more than 6 years ago | (#23538511)

or the anime world...

No kidding! Americans never known what hit them, one year their anime industry was chugging just fine and next thing you know the Japanese practically own the industry world wide!

Re:Japanese not creative? (5, Insightful)

kklein (900361) | more than 6 years ago | (#23538935)

My old officemate from Singapore, who only lived here (Japan) 3 years as opposed to my 7, figured it out, I think.

Historically, Japan has had a highly connected, functioning, modern economy for much longer than most places. Even though they were technologically backward when the West came chugging in, socially, they may have been better developed. This might explain why they were able to retool and thrive even as the world political landscape changed in the late 1800s. It was a matter of acquiring new physical tools, not new values (there were some radical changes in values as well--but not to the extent that, say, Papua New Guinea faces).

Because of this, part of the culture is an understanding that you are just a cog in a machine. The downside to that is that I find that people are generally incompetent, by my standards. BUT, get them in their field, and they are often stunning. They know absolutely everything about it, and it consumes their mental life. I mean, if they care. The mean is just kinda plodding along, same as anywhere.

So, whereas we conceptualize creativity as a trait which will manifest itself everywhere, it may be that the Japanese simply focus on one single thing. This would explain a lot, like how a nation where seemingly no one knows how an internal combustion engine works, even conceptually, can be the unchallenged master of the world automotive industry...

Re:Japanese not creative? (1)

TitusC3v5 (608284) | more than 6 years ago | (#23537949)

You haven't seen many Japanese game shows, have you?

Re:Japanese not creative? (2, Interesting)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 6 years ago | (#23538131)

Most japanese games tend to use more creativity, their weakness tends to be in technical problems like pathfinding algorithms, AI, random/procedural content generation, sandbox-style games, etc. Usually the japanese games have better stories and more new ideas but the western games have better technology, more meaningful choices for the player (even the more simplistic RPGs these days seem to have a basic good/evil choice, the jRPGs I see lack even that), etc. Or at least that's the impression I got.

Re:Japanese not creative? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23538303)

American story driven games are just often more open ended than Japanese games, but that's just cultural differences as far as I can tell. Most of the technology you are talking about is out there and completely free to learn and use; they just choose not to for whatever reasons.

Have you seen Japanese cars and robots? They're certainly not lacking in the technology department.

Re:Japanese not creative? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23538395)

Sorry, even an AC can't let that pass. If there's a stereotype about Japanese not being creative, it must have gotten around to only you. The rest of us are standing in *awe* of Japan's history of creativeness.

Too creative to be "super-rich"? (2, Funny)

Izabael_DaJinn (1231856) | more than 6 years ago | (#23537807)

"With a net worth of around $8 billion, Nintendo's former chairman, Hiroshi Yamauchi, is now the richest man in Japan, according to Forbes magazine. (Nintendo does not disclose Mr. Miyamoto's compensation, but it appears that he has not joined the ranks of the superrich.)"

That darn Yamauchi took all Miyamoto's money to the top of a steel girded ramp and started throwing barrels down at Miyamoto!

Re:Too creative to be "super-rich"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23538055)

Yamauchi was also brilliant in his own way. Without his steering of the company over decades Miyamoto probably wouldn't be where he is today. Isn't Yamauchi the guy who had the balls to hire Miyamoto, despite the guy having no practical coding or game design experience? I could be getting my Nintendo history wrong on that one...

Re:Too creative to be "super-rich"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23538567)

I seem to remember watching a documentary in which it was stated that Mr. Miyamoto has refused to take a salary higher than the average employee.

I'm quite sure Mr. Miyamoto is not concerned with physical rewards.

If that is the case... (2, Interesting)

vertinox (846076) | more than 6 years ago | (#23537821)

Does that mean we will have a Nintendo-land theme park in Florida anytime soon?

Re:If that is the case... (1)

pedantic bore (740196) | more than 6 years ago | (#23537851)

That would be awesome.

Re:If that is the case... (1)

spleen_blender (949762) | more than 6 years ago | (#23537901)

Seconded! We need to petition Nintendo to start a Nintendoland!

Re:If that is the case... (2, Funny)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 6 years ago | (#23537969)

Yeah, right... Let's see if you can get out of the place without being hammered to death.

- Rides not operating today:
        - Head Basher
        - Blood Bath
        - Mangler
        - Nurse's Station

Re:If that is the case... (1)

morari (1080535) | more than 6 years ago | (#23538383)

Let us hope against hope that it wouldn't actually be in Florida. Why anyone wants to visit that hot, sticky, humid, wasteland of a peninsula is beyond me. Then add to the fact that the only people actually around are retirees and tourists and you have all the trappings of a hellhole.

Re:If that is the case... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23539131)

Here's a question, which would be a better theme park. Miyamoto's or Miyazaki's? I'm not knocking Miyamoto's contributions, but let's not get ahead of ourselves, there is a better Japanese storyteller, one that interestingly the Disney Corporation identifies with.

The "Wii Fit"? YGBK! (-1, Troll)

5pp000 (873881) | more than 6 years ago | (#23537931)

There's really something called the "Wii Fit"?? I don't know if Nintendo execs are Honda fans, or if they just want parents to be able to say to each other, when their rugrat is throwing a temper tantrum cuz they took away the game console, "Oh, he's just having a Wii Fit".

Sold out (1)

AtariKee (455870) | more than 6 years ago | (#23537945)

"and now to Wii Fit â" which according to some initial rumors is selling out across the globe in its debut"

So now it can join the Wii in the vaunted ranks of "perpetually sold out" :)

What the hell. I've got karma to burn :)

The decay of time (-1, Troll)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | more than 6 years ago | (#23537999)

The difference is that in 50 years, people will still watch Walt Disney films. They won't experience anything by this guy, whatever his name is, because his creations will be considered primitive and un-fun by then. Ever tried to watch silent films? Yes I know they're an art form blah blah and I'm an uneducated country bumpkin philistine and they're far superior to anything that Jean-Claude Van Damme appears in, but jeez I've tried and most of them are just unwatchable. Likewise with this guy's video games...try playing something from 10 years ago, not even talking about the graphics, the user interfaces are unusable. Believe me, I've tried, it just plain doesn't work.

Re:The decay of time (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23538035)

Actually I find many of the old Disney films not very appealing, either. The newer ones are alright, but stuff like Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast etc. are awful in my opinion.

Re:The decay of time (1)

superslacker87 (998043) | more than 6 years ago | (#23538207)

Beauty and the Beast? What do you define as an "old Disney film"? That one came out in 1991 [imdb.com] .

Re:The decay of time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23538607)

Ok, convinced. Seems like I had that movie in much worse memory than it actually was. I still don't like "magical musical" movies, but that's just my personal opinion.

Re:The decay of time (2, Interesting)

anyGould (1295481) | more than 6 years ago | (#23538629)

I'm the opposite - I prefer most of the older Disney flicks to the recent ones. Aristocats, Lady and the Tramp, Jungle Book, Fantasia... there's some fantastic animation there. The new stuff tends to be entirely too... bleh. (Emperor's New Groove, anyone?)

Re:The decay of time (2, Informative)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | more than 6 years ago | (#23538943)

I'd say it's the opposite. Their new stuff is rubbish.

Either way there is no real innovation at Disney. Half the stuff they stole from the Japanese and the other half is just old stories retold with nice animation.

Walt was a good business man but I wouldn't say it was a man of innovation. Where as Miyamoto / Nintendo is responsible for so much innovation in gaming even if they're are just churning out Mario Party and other boring titles these days and Mario Galaxy has proven that they still have it.

Re:The decay of time (1)

jjiimmyyt (1182465) | more than 6 years ago | (#23538089)

I used to watch Harold Lloyd stuff on the BBC all the time, also Chaplin is still respected. We also keep reading Shakespear. Good stuff is good stuff, just over the years we tend to only appreciate the best of the best from times past. We are talking about classics. I think this includes said games.

Re:The decay of time (3, Insightful)

dingen (958134) | more than 6 years ago | (#23538119)

You've got to be kidding me. The interfaces of Donkey Kong, Super Mario Bros and The Legend Of Zelda don't work? Well, these guys [imdb.com] disagree and so do I. I doubt that you actually tried playing these games recently, because I really don't understand what problems you could be having. Screen and controller are basically the same as in present games. I play lots of games that are 10 years or older on a regular basis and the stuff created by Shigeru Miyamoto stands the test of time without a doubt. The fact that the graphics and sounds are outdated doesn't mean the games are not a lot of fun to play.

Re:The decay of time (1)

Krakhan (784021) | more than 6 years ago | (#23538199)

I don't see how this post is 'interesting' at all. Most of the stuff by Nintendo under Miyamoto's direction that came out at least over 10 years ago, including Super Mario World, Super Metroid (to a lesser extent), Legend of Zelda: Link to the Past and are still some of the best games that have been released so far, and are still played to this day, and these games are about 13-17 years old. Seriously, if you think the controls for this game are unusable, I'm questioning whether you've even played many games to begin with.

Re:The decay of time (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 6 years ago | (#23538235)

Miyamoto's games are unusually advanced for their time, the SMB games introduced air control to jump & runs and as a result play pretty much the same as modern games in the genre. Zelda 1 already had many of the elements the series would get although it had weaknesses (e.g. hard or impossible to find secrets, lots of repetition in the level design). While their contemporaries may fail due to horrible controls or game mechanics the Miyamoto games tend to hold up and still work almost as well as they did when they were first released. Hell, some had modern releases with very few changes and still got reviewed highly.

I think a difference between silent movies and videogames is that videogames were always designed for the masses and simple entertainment, especially the popular early ones are very accessible (who can't figure out how to play Pac-Man or Tetris?). While the average person will be hard pressed to find the "true meaning" of older art games were simply not made as art back then, you just grab a joystick and splode stuff up.

Well, okay, I'm talking about things that are 20 years old, not ten, I guess the N64 isn't as easy on the user as the NES and SNES. But would you really say that games like Super Mario World are no longer playable?

Re:The decay of time (2, Interesting)

dingen (958134) | more than 6 years ago | (#23538347)

I guess the N64 isn't as easy on the user as the NES and SNES.
While this is true to some extend, Miyamoto always makes sure the learning curve isn't too steep for anyone. Zelda: Ocarina Of Time for example (a game that was supposed to be released at the same time the N64 was introduced, but was delayed and improved for 2 years by mr Miyamoto until he felt it was good enough) starts off with a village that is designed as a practice zone where you can get to know the controls and interface. If you are an experienced player you can get to the action right away, but if you don't there's easily half an hour of gameplay there for you to explore and learn the game. Whatever your initial level, by the time you've spent a few hours with it, you'll be attacking monsters, solving puzzles and finding secrets like it's second nature to you.

It's absolutely ridiculous to state that old games are harder to understand or play than newer ones, especially the high quality works of Shigeru Miyamoto.

Re:The decay of time (5, Insightful)

hiruhl (1171697) | more than 6 years ago | (#23538885)

Well, okay, I'm talking about things that are 20 years old, not ten, I guess the N64 isn't as easy on the user as the NES and SNES. But would you really say that games like Super Mario World are no longer playable?
The games that weren't easy on the user are from SNES or earlier (mostly earlier). The games were only a few hours long (if that), if you could actually beat them. Many of them are, however, completely impossible to beat.

Starting with the N64/Playstation era, games have become much, MUCH easier, as a whole. Realistic save features, in-game tutorials, and more coherent hints at how to accomplish certain tasks make these newer games easier, to name a few reasons. Basically, a game doesn't have to be impossible anymore to give the player a decent amount of time with the game. Also, companies realized more people will be satisfied with a game when they can actually beat it.

True, some old games were not tough-as-nails difficult (especially from the SNES era, like Super Mario World, as you mentioned -- they started getting easier, already, then), but many of them were. These games have already lost their appeal, mostly. The more accessible games have not, but the younger generation of gamers are not as turned on by these games as they are newer games.

I think the original poster has a point that in 50 years people will not want to play these games. Some people will, but not the mainstream. Games will probably be similar to other media, like music and (as the OP alluded to) movies. For instance, I like music from when my parents were kids, but not much before that. There are a lot of people who are into classical music, and silent films, and old media, but these people are very niche. In 50 years, there will be people who enjoy playing Pacman, Super Mario World, and Grand Theft Auto IV, but this will not be mainstream taste among gamers.

As a side note, I will add my prediction that games like GTA IV and Guitar Hero will probably be even less recognized than Pacman or Mario games, in the distant future. The GTA series is very much a reflection of modern pop-culture, and thus, I would argue, has more of a time-stamp on it. Pong, Pacman, Space Invaders, Zelda, and Spore, for example, will age better, as the concepts behind them do not bear such a time-stamp.

This is one reason Miyamoto is reasonably heralded as such a genius. Not only is he responsible for resurrecting the industry, as well as ushering it into the mainstream, but the concepts he creates are enduring. They are not to be bogged down by ties to what is now modern and soon to be outmoded. His ideas are quite timeless, although clearly the technology that delivers them is not.

Re:The decay of time (1)

Sorcha Payne (1047874) | more than 6 years ago | (#23538295)

Are you kidding me? There are tonnes of people who still play the games that Miyamoto created 10 or more years ago. There is a reason why Ocarina of Time tops many best of video game lists long after it was released. Hell, this is one of the reason why the Wii's VC is successful.

By the way, what you say about Nintendo video games from the past, I can say about Disney creations. I find most of them boring and unwatchable. However, I am not under the delusion that there arent many people who do watch them, and enjoy them.

Re:The decay of time (1)

infaustus (936456) | more than 6 years ago | (#23538977)

Regardless of whether people play the actual games he created, the franchises will still be going strong in 50 years. Nintendo's never going to stop making Zelda and Mario games.

No (1)

Kohath (38547) | more than 6 years ago | (#23538029)

There are many game designers out there making good games.

Walt Disney didn't have 20 competitors who were arguably as good and as successful as he was.

Re:No (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 6 years ago | (#23538267)

There may be 20 successful designers but can you name even three that are on par with Miyamoto?

Re:No (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23538503)

In terms of success or in terms of creativity? If the latter, then currently, yes, though he was unmatched twenty years ago. Though, I will go so far as to say that Super Mario Galaxy is my favorite game since the SNES/Megadrive era.

Re:No (3, Insightful)

Pancake Bandit (987571) | more than 6 years ago | (#23538527)

Hideo Kojima, Sid Meier, Yuji Naka, Gunpei Yokoi, Will Wright

Re:No (2, Insightful)

Digestromath (1190577) | more than 6 years ago | (#23538603)

I can name a few successful designers, but not all of them good.

Sid Meier

Will Wright

John Carmack

John Romero

Richard Garriot

Satoshi Tajiri

Hideo Kojima

Hironobu Sakaguchi

Peter Molyneux (Who I consider the Uwe Boll of gaming)

In terms of brand power and overall sales I'd say Tajiri (Pokemon) and Sakaguchi (Final Fantasy and Kingdom Hearts) are perhaps on par. They aren't nearly as 'iconic' though.

Re:No (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23539589)

Add Warren Spector, Chris Roberts, Paul Reiche III, Fred Ford, Ron Gilbert and Jordan Mechner.

Re:No (1)

Kohath (38547) | more than 6 years ago | (#23538753)

Games are really a team effort.

The team at Ubisoft Montreal is outstanding. Valve. Infinity Ward. Naughty Dog does some great work. Epic.

Walt Disney Co. more-or-less owned the animated films business. Even if Miyamoto is "the best", which is highly arguable, it's still not like Walt Disney at all.

Re:No (1)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | more than 6 years ago | (#23539007)

Epic has no right to be mentioned in the same thread as Miyamoto or Valve. They aren't really much above the likes of Acclaim.

Most of their games have been rubbish, they've admitted to UT2k3 sucking and just banking on the fact it had sweet graphics and they released Unreal in such a horrible state that a petition had to be started to get them to fix it despite the numerous promises that they would release the final patch to fix it.

Their only success has been in the fact they've perfected marketing towards teen spacktards and they don't have any decent competition in the 3D engine department. They should consider themselves lucky that Carmack has better things to do than to own Epic.

Re:No (1)

bigstrat2003 (1058574) | more than 6 years ago | (#23539393)

Even if we accept everything you say about Epic as fact (which is still a debate unto itself), they still, for my money, make games that are light-years better than anything Valve has ever put out. Valve's only good game, ever, was Portal... which was still entirely too short, and too expensive. At least Epic put out UT2k4 and UT3. Two good games > one good game.

And that, friend, is why it's silly for us to act like we can objectively rank these companies or designers with any degree of precision. We're talking about subjective things here, not science.

Re:No (2, Insightful)

Kohath (38547) | more than 6 years ago | (#23538777)

I forgot Rockstar. Sam Houser.

Maybe not the best comparison (5, Insightful)

moosesocks (264553) | more than 6 years ago | (#23538037)

If I recall correctly, Disney wasn't particularly well-liked by his employees or colleagues.

A creative force to be reckoned with, to be sure. However, not a terribly ethical individual on the other hand.

I can easily see how the analogy works, though I'm not quite sure I'd like to be compared to Walt Disney....

Re:Maybe not the best comparison (1)

bomanbot (980297) | more than 6 years ago | (#23538681)

Good point about that not being the best comparison, especially since Miyamoto always gets described as very humble and friendly and is well-respected by his peers.

IIRC, Sid Meier (of Civilization fame) even said that Miyamoto is sort of a role model for him, which I think is high praise.

Re:Maybe not the best comparison (1)

mqduck (232646) | more than 6 years ago | (#23538821)

Walt Disney, the gentle genius behind Mickey Mouse and Disneyland, loved and cared about almost all the peoples of the world. And he, in turn, was beloved by the world... except in 1938, when he was criticized for his controversial cartoon "Nazi Supermen Are Our Superiors".

Re:Maybe not the best comparison (1)

moosesocks (264553) | more than 6 years ago | (#23539301)

You bring up something I'd forgotten completely.

During WWII, Disney was commissioned to create a number of short films to aid/promote the war effort, along with several PSAs and the like.

A while back, a friend and I watched through a DVD of these shorts, and they were absolutely fascinating. While several of them would prove to be quite iconic, some were astonishingly offensive. I give enormous kudos to Disney for having the balls to have provided an essentially uncensored glimpse into the past. (I'm told that there are a number of pieces that didn't make the cut that would be extremely offensive to modern audiences)

I believe that this [amazon.com] is the one we watched.

At the bequest of the US Government, Disney also produced a number of "educational" films to be sent to South America in order to help them build their economies into utopic democracies, and counteract any Nazi/Communist influences that were taking hold there. These were also fairly offensive against their target audience!

If you want a great view into the not-so-distant past of American history, I'd highly recommend watching these, especially given the great deal of historical relativism that seems to be going on these days concerning that era.

None of that stuff would fly today, showing just how difficult and risky it is to draw parallels between the present, and situations that occurred 50 years ago.

Why not (5, Insightful)

fan of lem (1092395) | more than 6 years ago | (#23538079)

Hayao Miyazaki [wikipedia.org] ?

Re:Why not (1)

story645 (1278106) | more than 6 years ago | (#23538203)

Miyazaki has been compared to Disney plenty of times, but his audience is still primarily limited to anime fans (who even then tend to know only his most popular works). Even his biggest American releases (Howl's Moving Castle, Spirited Away, Princess Mononoke) don't have the appeal or audience base that anything put out by Nintendo has, nor has his worked influenced western culture the way Disney or Nintendo has.

Re:Why not (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23538897)

You may want to rephrase that to "his American audience" (I'd even accept "international"). Otherwise you're going to have to explain to me why all the little kids I saw at the Ghibli Museum count as "anime fans".

Re:Why not (1)

story645 (1278106) | more than 6 years ago | (#23539557)

You may want to rephrase that to "his American audience" (I'd even accept "international")
Honestly I should rephrase altogether 'cause there are plenty of American film buffs who love his stuff who won't go near other anime (and I figure it's not so different worldwide.) I made the mistake of writing my entire comment in reference to American's 'cause when I think Disney, I think primarily of his influence on American media.

(Though technically Miyazaki's stuff is anime, and I wouldn't be surprised if a lot of the kid's who like his stuff do like other animes.)

Re:Why not (1)

SirLurksAlot (1169039) | more than 6 years ago | (#23538651)

This was my first reaction as well. I guess I don't get the comparison of Miyamoto to Disney, I mean one guy made feature length animation films and the other made video games for crying out loud! If anyone deserves a comparison to Disney it's Miyazaki for his ability to visually tell a story.

Re:Why not (0, Flamebait)

Jackie_Chan_Fan (730745) | more than 6 years ago | (#23538721)

Because narrow minded game nerds think a plumber and a mushroom is more moving than the breathtaking works of art created by Hayao Miyazaki.

Sad isnt it?

Time to educate them.

Re:Why not (1)

fireboy1919 (257783) | more than 6 years ago | (#23539367)

Miyazaki isn't exactly a pioneer in his field. His animation techniques are actually *more primitive* than the animation going on at Disney animation studios right now. Disney is also known for being the first guy to take serious, or famous people and cast them as cartoon stars. Miyazaki does that...by being employed by Disney.

Additionally, Disney built a theme park full of *ideas* that were basically brainstorms of how the world could be, and built them into theme parks. He reinvented how we think about cartoons, and about theme parks - he upped the standard for both *a lot*.

The "plumber and mushroom" inventor also reinvented his area. He took a company that made pinball machines and playing cards and made it into the most popular video game company in the world - beating out quite a lot of competition, and making games that were *significantly* more complex (and fun) than the competition (Had an atari, had intellivision. *yawn*). He also seriously advanced the idea that the game should not be hard because it's hard to control the character. Sounds obvious, I know, but it wasn't. It was revolutionary, and made the whole industry start producing games that were a lot more fun.

The only reason I can think that you think Miyazaki is so much better is that you value movies more than you value video games. Well, that's your choice, but doesn't change the facts.

Miyazaki didn't change the world. Disney did, and so did Shigeru Miyamoto.

Re:Why not (1)

Jackie_Chan_Fan (730745) | more than 6 years ago | (#23539547)

I've worked in 3d character animation for 11 years, I'm well aware of Walt, and his "9 old men" that created what we now know as cell animation. Its true that Miyazaki hasnt contributed on the technical level, but where Disney left off, Miyazaki continued. Again not on a technical level, but on a story and experience level. You could easily say that Disney for a while now has had a different kind of mission than when Walt was alive. Disney's films since Walts death, lack a lot of the heart and soul found in Miyazaki's work.

Basically while we in America after Walt's death, treated animation as a shallow form childrens entertainment, Miyazaki moved forward, continueing the same awe inspiring ideals as walt, but in my opinion, Miyazaki created far more entertaining films, more thoughtfulness, more use of symbolism... in other words, more adult. His works are equally as enjoyable on a childs level as an adults due to the depth and symbolism used in his films. He doesnt belittle the viewer. Which is something we've done for years here in America with animation. Even Walt is guilty of it. While i think some of Walts films were breath taking and thoughtful, I think Miyazaki's works, and Studio Ghibli's works are more intelligent and contain more depth. There is an elegance to his work.

Again, we stopped doing that in America. Disney the corporation had stopped doing that. After Walt's death Disney made product, and Miyazaki made art.

Which is why i think he relates more to Walt than Miyamoto. Miyamoto's work does not truely move you emotionally. He has designed games with very little regard for story. Thats not to say his work isnt a veyr fine contribution to the art of gaming. Everyone knows he has made his mark in the industry. So has Hideo Kojima, and Fumito Ueda. Fumito Ueda (ICO creator) has been often called the Miyazaki of gaming, because his games move you emotionally.

Miyamoto's work is very much plumbers and mushrooms, or little pikmin in his garden... They are all great games... well some of them were bad... but I think the one big thing from keeping Miyamoto from being Walt, is that he lacks the heart that Walt had. Ultimately Walt wanted to tell stories... Animation was simply the technology he and his team developed. The technology is worthless without heart and soul.

This is where i think Miyamoto has failed, but his contributions are immense. I wont deny that.

Btw Miyazaki did create a sort of theme park. He created a Studio Ghibli Museum/park where you can go and see short films and other things releated to the studios work. Ghibli is an animation studio above all else. Miyazaki has continued Walt's vision of animation, and has taken it to levels that worthy of Walts legacy.

Your point about changing the world definiately applies to Miyamoto, but I wouldnt dare say Miyazaki hasnt changed the world. He has in my field. I dont know of an animator not moved by his work, and most are inspired to be even a fraction of what he has become. Even John Lasseter is influnced by Miyasaki's work. You dont impress someone like John Lassetter easily... who has himself pioneered and changed the world of Animation.

I think your statement about changing the world is some what true if you talk about the numbers of people influenced. More people know of Mario, but have no clue who Miyamoto is. They know the brand's he created... but unlike Disney, everyone knows who Walt is. That doesnt change the fact, i thought it was interesting. But in my circle of the world, animators and true animation fans... Miyazaki has changed many people's minds as to what animation can be, or should be more like.

Miyamoto is a legend in his own right... but i tend to think on the levels of animation and story, when trying to define the next Walt Disney...

Some might say thats John Lassetter... Even i would :)

Me and this guy (1)

icepick72 (834363) | more than 6 years ago | (#23538095)

he almost comes across as just another salaryman (though a particularly creative and happy one) with a wife and two school-age children at home near Kyoto. He is not tabloid fodder, and he seems to maintain a relatively nondescript lifestyle


Wow, that's the exact same with me, except I don't have the fame.

Characters vs Gameplay (5, Interesting)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 6 years ago | (#23538167)

âoeI feel that people like Mario and people like Link and the other characters weâ(TM)ve created not for the characters themselves, but because the games they appear in are fun,â he said. âoeAnd because people enjoy playing those games first, they come to love the characters as well.â
That sums it up perfectly. He's the polar opposite of games like Final Fantasy, where the characters and story are the most memorable parts, and gameplay supports them.

It fits in nicely with the reason the Wii works -- it's about gameplay, and everything else is secondary.

Re:Characters vs Gameplay (1)

hiruhl (1171697) | more than 6 years ago | (#23538933)

That sums it up perfectly. He's the polar opposite of games like Final Fantasy, where the characters and story are the most memorable parts, and gameplay supports them.
I get your point, but with your example you are ignoring the fact that Final Fantasy is an RPG. Different genres require different strengths in games, and RPGs happen to rely heavily on plot and characters, and hence the gameplay SHOULD (in general, not always) be designed around these things. It's just a different style of game.

Some games are made worse by too much plot and character development (ever been to the library in Super Mario Galaxy? yawn... or imagine if Dance Dance Revolution had a story and cut scenes), but for other games, it is legitimately their lifeblood.

Re:Characters vs Gameplay (1)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 6 years ago | (#23539069)

I get your point, but with your example you are ignoring the fact that Final Fantasy is an RPG. Different genres require different strengths in games
I ignore this fact because good gameplay and good story are not mutually exclusive -- see Portal -- and because genres are not set in stone -- see Gloom, Tremulous, Natural Selection.

imagine if Dance Dance Revolution had a story and cut scenes
I see your point, but that's DDR in its current incarnation. It'd be naive to assume that a game, played with your feet, and to music, could never successfully have a plot. Playing through the original Doom, it'd be hard to imagine an FPS ever being better for having a plot, but many are.

I'm also not saying there's anything wrong with Final Fantasy.

Re:Characters vs Gameplay (1)

bigstrat2003 (1058574) | more than 6 years ago | (#23539455)

I ignore this fact because good gameplay and good story are not mutually exclusive -- see Portal...
Eh. I wouldn't call Portal a shining example of good story. It's a shining example of gameplay, writing, voice acting, pacing... but the plot itself was fairly weak, in my opinion. Just way too minimalistic... it needed some meat, something to add a little depth to it. In fact, I can't really think of a game where both plot and gameplay were supreme. Both are generally good, but if a game truly excels in one, it never seems to bring the other along, just leaves it at "good".

I don't think... (1, Redundant)

DeusExCalamus (1146781) | more than 6 years ago | (#23538229)

that a video game designer should be hailed as the modern day equivalent of a man widely known for his creativity in an animated medium, I rather think that someone such as Hayao Miyazaki [wikipedia.org] would be the modern day equivalent of Mr. Disney...

Re:I don't think... (1)

hiruhl (1171697) | more than 6 years ago | (#23538995)

Disney was innovating in television and motion pictures when those mediums were up-and-coming. Miyamoto has been innovating in videogames while they've been up-and-coming. Both have created iconic characters which have burrowed their way into popular culture and the common consciousness of generations of children, worldwide.

So let me get this straight... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23538533)

Shigeru Miyamoto is an anti-semite?

Wrong Hayao Miyazaki already owns that title. (3, Interesting)

Jackie_Chan_Fan (730745) | more than 6 years ago | (#23538701)

Learn about Hayao Miyazaki, then watch all of Studio Ghibli's work.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hayao_Miyazaki [wikipedia.org]

Also do yourself a huge favor and see Grave of Fireflies by Isao Takahata. It's a Studio Ghibli film by Miyasaki's long time friend and partner. Its incredible, especially since its based on a real story.

Learn about Isao Takahata here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Takahata_Isao [wikipedia.org]

Re:Wrong Hayao Miyazaki already owns that title. (1)

Paxtez (948813) | more than 6 years ago | (#23538969)

I've heard a few people describe Grave of the Fireflies as so moving, "If you don't cry, you have no soul."

I have the movie around here somewhere, but since I don't want hard proof I've never watched it. :/

Re:Wrong Hayao Miyazaki already owns that title. (1)

Jackie_Chan_Fan (730745) | more than 6 years ago | (#23539109)

You have to watch that movie. Everything you've heard is true. It will move you to tears. It is an amazing example of animation being used for "grown up" stories. Its a sad film and yes it will move you to tears as it did me.

Thumb Candy (1)

lobiusmoop (305328) | more than 6 years ago | (#23538961)

I'd recommend Slashdotters (especially from the UK) have a look at a 2000 documentary called Thumb Candy [wikipedia.org] , presented by Ian Lee. It is about the history of computer games, and it has an interview with Miyamoto. Search for 'Thumb Candy' on YouTube to see it.
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