Gabe Newell says Miyamoto's games are "a lot of fun" and made him a better developer

Gabe knows what's up

The games of Shigeru Miyamoto have reached millions of people around the world, and turned many of them into lifelong Nintendo fans. From Mario to Zelda and everything else inbetween, Miyamoto has played a huge part in creating some of the most beloved characters and franchises in the game industry. That has earned the man a lot of respect, both from players and his peers.

One of those fans is none other than Valve's Gabe Newell. In an interview with NZTV, Newell spoke a bit about his appreciation for the works of Miyamoto, and what they mean to him as a developer.

"Playing Miyamoto's games, it's like, one, they're a lot of fun, but I can't think of any of his games I've ever played that didn't make me better as a game developer."

Miyamoto talks about being viewed as a "picky" and "mean" boss

Don't miff the Miyamoto

Over the years, we've heard countless stories about Shigeru Miyamoto being a somewhat difficult person to work with. He's got an eye for detail that very few others have, and he sticks to some of his visions extremely closely. He's also known for upending a tea table from time to time, although not too long ago he said he's moved on from those days.

In an interview with the New Yorker, Miyamoto talks about how his staff views him, and his approach as a boss. Check out his comments below.

When people look at me, I think they probably imagine that I’m very nice. But if you asked the people on the front lines, those who actually work with me, they might say that I’m very picky, or that I always comment on their work. I’ve had the pleasure of growing up in an environment where people praised me. But I’m aware that there is a feeling, among people who work with me, that they do not receive adequate praise, that I’m always fastidious about their work.

In this job, we have to create a product, which requires a certain amount of planning. But it’s also important to talk about those plans in a different register, not just as a product, but as if it were a dream, or vision. I think my strength is that I’m able to paint a compelling picture of what a project can be, while also being concerned with the details of actually realizing that dream. As such, I get the somewhat confused experience of people seeing me as a negative person when I’m dealing with the details, and as a very positive person when I’m talking in terms of broader vision.

I also believe that a shared feeling of success should come only after the players have actually enjoyed a game. Before that point, people might see me as a mean boss, trying to drive us through the rough patches. But I think that’s what dictates whether someone is a good leader or not.

When people are trying to create new experiences, there’s always a level of insecurity and worry. But there’s also an appreciation for people who have experience, who can reassure us that things will work out. That’s how I see my role: it’s being a team supporter as much as a creative leader. I’m aware of the vulnerability involved when someone brings me an idea or a concept. I take great care not to shut the person down, and try to take their suggestion on its own terms. The only thing I’m focussed on is making sure that people are trying to create new experiences. That kind of focus keeps everyone, including myself, from becoming entrenched. I hope it also contributes to my being considered a good boss.

Miyamoto says Nintendo games are designed to "provide a warm feeling," wishes he could provide even more cheer and laughter

A world of smiles

Nintendo is well known as a company that focuses on games that make players smile. That's a core goal for Nintendo and all of its developers, Shigeru Miyamoto included. In an interview with the New Yorker, Miyamoto expands on that idea. You can see his full statement below.

Video games are an active medium. In that sense, they don’t require complex emotions from the designer; it’s the players who take what we give them and respond in their own ways. Complex emotions are difficult to deal with in interactive media. I’ve been involved in movies, and passive media is much better suited to take on those themes. With Nintendo, the appeal of our characters is that they bring families together. Our games are designed to provide a warm feeling; everyone is able to enjoy their time playing or watching.

For example, when I was playing with my grandchild recently, the whole family was gathered around the television. He and I were focused on what was happening on the screen, but my wife and the others were focussed on the child, enjoying the sight of him enjoying the game. I was so glad we had been able to produce something that facilitated this kind of communal experience. That’s the core of Nintendo’s work: to bring smiles to players’ faces. So I don’t have any regrets. If anything, I wish I could have provided more cheer, more laughter.

Miyamoto wishes we lived in a world with more thoughtful and kind people, talks about violence in games

Sounds like a good goal

Nintendo is known for creating games that are meant for all audiences. They still feature violence from time to time, but violent mechanics are very rarely the focus, or at the very least, they don't feature gratuitous violence.

In an interview with the New Yorker, Shigeru Miyamoto talks about video game violence overall, how those mechanics play out in games, and what he wishes of the world at large. You can see his statement below.

I wish I could make it so that people were more thoughtful and kind toward each other. It’s something that I think about a lot as I move through life. In Japan, for example, we have priority seating on train carriages, for people who are elderly or people with a disability. If the train is relatively empty, sometimes you’ll see young people sit in these seats. If I were to say something, they’d probably tell me: “But the train is empty, what’s the issue?” But if I were a person with a disability and I saw people sitting there, I might not want to ask them to move. I wouldn’t want to be annoying.

I wish we were all a little more compassionate in these small ways. If there was a way to design the world that discouraged selfishness, that would be a change I would make.

I think humans are wired to experience joy when we throw a ball and hit a target, for example. That’s human nature. But, when it comes to video games, I have some resistance to focussing on this single source of pleasure. As human beings, we have many ways to experience fun. Ideally, game designers would explore those other ways. I don’t think it’s necessarily bad that there are studios that really home in on that simple mechanic, but it’s not ideal to have everybody doing it just because that kind of game sells well. It would be great if developers found new ways to elicit joy in their players.

Beyond that, I also resist the idea that it’s O.K. to simply kill all monsters. Even monsters have a motive, and a reason for why they are the way they are. This is something I have thought about a lot. Say you have a scene in which a battleship sinks. When you look at it from the outside, it might be a symbol of victory in battle. But a filmmaker or writer might shift perspective to the people on the ship, to enable the viewer to see, close up, the human impact of the action. It would be great if video-game makers took more steps to shift the perspective, instead of always viewing a scene from the most obvious angle.

Shigeru Miyamoto says his kids were fans of SEGA games when growing up, reveals what they played

SEGA does what Nintendon't

Shigeru Miyamoto has made or been involved with some of the greatest games the industry has seen, but those still weren't enough to woo away his own children from the competition. In an interview with the New Yorker, Miyamoto talks about how his children were fans of SEGA, and mentioned the games they played. You can read that info below.

SM: They played a lot of Sega games, too, by the way.

NY: Really? Did you ever feel jealous about them playing a rival’s games?

SM: [Laughs.] Not jealous so much as inspired to try harder, so that they preferred the ones I made. ...They liked the driving games. Out Run. They also played a lot of Space Harrier.

Today is Shigeru Miyamoto's 68th Birthday

Today is the 68th birthday of Shigeru Miyamoto, the creator of numerous Nintendo characters and franchises. It is currently unknown if he or Nintendo plans to do anything special for his birthday, but historically, Miyamoto has generally been fixated on work and does not want to devote too much time to distractions. So, chances are, Miyamoto will likely just be working today, but here's hoping that he at least gets some sort of birthday cake or gift in the process too!

Shigeru Miyamoto discusses how the Mario franchise evolves with each new installment

35 years of Mario

Nintendo's most recent Corporate Management Policy Briefing included a Q&A session with investors/analysts, and the English translation of that session is now available. In the snippet below, Shigeru Miyamoto talks about the evolution of the Mario series.

Shigeru Miyamoto says Mario was made a plumber to "make him someone who might live near you, and not a superhero"

A hero everyone can believe in

Shigeru Miyamoto has shared a very straightforward answer on why Mario was given the occupation of plumber back in the early days. He shared the reasoning in an interview with CNN.

"We wanted him to be someone who might live near you, and not a superhero."

While superheroes are bigger than ever nowadays, it seems taking the every-man approach with Mario back in the day was the right path to go down!

Miyamoto also was asked what words he would share with Mario if the mustachioed one were a real person. Miyamoto offered up these thoughts.

"Keep living in a way that's true to yourself is more enjoyable than being in competition with others. You'll be keeping plenty busy, so don't forget to work out and keep your mustache well groomed"

Nintendo's 80th General Shareholders Meeting - Approval ratings for Nintendo's current directors

The following information comes from a translated article via Perfectly-Nintendo. They consist of the approval ratings for Nintendo's current board of directors:

  • Shuntaro Furukawa: 937 392 votes in favour (95.47%), 41 324 votes against, 245 did not vote
  • Shigeru Miyamoto: 965 332 votes in favour (98.32%), 12 059 votes against, 1 575 did not vote
  • Shinya Takahashi: 965 552 votes in favour (98.34%), 11 834 votes against, 1 575 did note vote
  • Ko Shiota: 965 559 votes in favour (98.34%), 11 827 votes against, 1 575 did note vote
  • Satoru Shibata: 965 553 votes in favour (98.34%), 11 833 votes against, 1 575 did note vote

For those curious, every director now has a higher rating than in the past. 

Nintendo comments on Super Nintendo World opening, hardware resellers, and fields a question about casinos

A smattering of random questions

Nintendo had a bit of a Q&A following their 80th annual general meeting of shareholders, and there were a handful of interesting questions. Check out a quick summary of those questions below.

- Miyamoto says to wait for Universal Studios to comment on the opening date for Super Nintendo World
- Miyamoto says safety and security are the most important aspects for the opening of Super Nintendo World
- Nintendo says current laws make it tough to go after resellers, so they're focusing on production/shipping to meet demand
- Nintendo is asked about potentially moving into the casino business, to which they said they have absolutely zero plans


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