Inafune: Mario is "development bible" for game creators

"If any creator has not played Mario, then they're probably not a good creator," says Mega Man and Dead Rising designer.

Nintendo's Mario platformer franchise is the "development bible" for game creators, according to Mega Man and Dead Rising designer Keiji Inafune. Speaking with IGN, Inafune described Mario as the "anchor that grounds almost all games."

"If any creator has not played Mario, then they’re probably not a good creator. That's something I can say with 100 percent confidence. Mario is, for game creators, the development bible," Inafune said. "There are so many hints about good design, about cute characters, about innovation in using an existing gameplay system. It's something you have to constantly look at and examine and take hints from as a game creator. It's the anchor that grounds almost all games."

Inafune said he has "total respect" for Mario creator Shigeru Miyamoto, so much so that he said he believes Miyamoto should be designated a "cultural treasure."

"He's talked about in all different countries. Lots of people know him. He's pushed forward Japanese culture and interest in Japan all over the world," Inafune said. "He's somebody that deserves everyone's ultimate respect, and a lot of that is due to being able to create Mario. And Super Mario Bros. 3, of course, within that, was a fantastic game."

The next core Mario game is Super Mario 3D World, which will be released for Wii U on November 22.

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Eddie Makuch

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and would like to see the Whalers return to Hartford.
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293 comments
etmaul
etmaul

Miyamoto is a true visionary in my opinion.  That being said, Keiji Inafune is really coming into his own with the development of Mighty Number 9.  I'm excited to see his vision come to life thanks to the uber-successful Kickstarter campaign.

trugs26
trugs26

A lot of these comments are taking the article far too literally. Game design is a fundemental concept. So something like Mario can inspire designers working on a game like Skyrim or GTA. They don't have to look or play similarly to be influenced by it. Mario is an old game that got a lot of things right. Just looking at Mario's simple game mechanic of jumping, and how it has got that right so many times in so many different ways.

Scorpion1813
Scorpion1813

This guy is giving Mario (and his creator) too much credit. Sure it's a popular series, and of course it's been influencial. But it's going a bit too far to say that it has inspired EVERY game, and that every developer NEEDS to have played it. I honestly believe this persons own infatuation with the Mario creator is clouding his judgement a little.

I believe that people should never hold only one thing as a template for everything else. The problem with doing so can lead to a lack of creativity and innovation. Instead of trying something new, people are just going to look at that one example and see how they did it. Which is never good.

MegaPyroFlame
MegaPyroFlame

@Scorpion1813 Everything you build needs a foundation, and until Nintendo came along with the NES and Super Mario Bros, games had very little idea how to make good games.  Once Mario came along and provided direction in the 2D area, and once again in 3D with Super Mario 64, gaming grew into the giant we've come to know today.  If Mario hadn't come along, we would be doing something elsewhere right now.

Also, if we try to make everything "original" without some sort of "template", then the game's new innovation will more often than not fall flat on its face.  We have to base our ideas off of something.

ecs33
ecs33

@Scorpion1813 I don't think you get the point of the article. He's not saying that Mario influenced those other games directly. He is saying that Mario is an old game that has constantly reinvented on the same premise. Game developers for other genres can look at how Mario evolved and take similar concepts of that evolution to try and invent for their own games. 

ziproy
ziproy

You don't get anymore basic of a story (except for their terrific RPGs Mario RPG and the Paper Mario games) than Mario. Princess gets taken?? Gotta go get her no more no less.

I think I and anyone else who idolizes Mario does so for the same reason I love Gordon Freeman and the guy from Bioshock 1. There personalities are so barren that you can't help but pour a little bit of yourself into the character. Since Gordon never even offers a thought on anything the only thoughts or opinions you can associate with that character are your own. Maybe your Gordon was a sadist who had a paint can throwing compulsion that he couldn't resist, or he was just a generic bad-a$$??

Mario does have a voice and sometimes offers limited dialogue, but almost never an opinion. Maybe he loves stomping on those goomba's, or each and every stomping and kicked shells haunts his very nightmares and weighs on his soul?? Does he think Yoshi's a tool and kills him any chance he gets, or maybe like me when I was 5 he cries each time Yoshi blindly jumps down a hole?? You make those choices about the character so you can't help but feel like you're a part of him.

Or maybe I just like Nintendo and Mario too damn much and can't help but type two paragraphs praising it. I hope it's the former

ziproy
ziproy

Their personalities*

Scorpion1813
Scorpion1813

@ziproy  

"Or maybe I just like Nintendo and Mario too damn much and can't help but type two paragraphs praising it."

I think that pretty much sums it up. 

We know enough about Mario that I personally can't relate to him in any way, and certainly can't project myself onto him. 

REDShadowG
REDShadowG

Hmm yes, if you try hard enough you will notice that The Elder Scrolls games are absolutely influenced by Mario. Grand Theft Auto is influenced by Mario too. The fun gameplay, the cute designs etc.

thedarkhero
thedarkhero

@REDShadowG Its called a chain reaction. This game inspired -> This game inspired -> This game inspired -> This game. So yeah. Mario did inspire a lot of stuff.

ziproy
ziproy

@REDShadowG Uhhhhhhhhhh Mario 64 kinda revolutionized the 3D adventure/exploration premise, which is a fundamental aspect of both those games. Should of thought a little bit deeper, if you are even able too...

Scorpion1813
Scorpion1813

@ziproy @REDShadowG  

The Elder Scrolls series is a lot older than the Mario 64 game.

And GTA came out only a year after Mario 64. By then GTA had already been in development for 3 years.

So no, Mario 64 did not influence those games.

cristianvs
cristianvs

Some people here seem to be confused. It doesn't have to be a platformer to take inspiration from Mario. Skyrim won't have jumping puzzles all over.

But it's about game design, how to reinvent the same gamemechanics. How to use colors and GUI and sounds and music and so on.

A person who produces edm music can still listen to motzart and be very inspired by him. Doesn't mean he will start to make classical music.

leimonides
leimonides

Such a thought process comes at least in part, from critical thinking; something most people don't do. It is no suprise the comments seen here are what they are.

ChristysXmas
ChristysXmas

He has a point speaking for his own game developing experience since Megaman obviously took lots of inspiration directly from Mario. But honestly I don't think games like Baldur's Gate or Quake would have much to do with Mario.

abHS4L88
abHS4L88

@ChristysXmas 
Quake was the successor to the Doom series, which evolved from Wolfenstein 3D. One of the main developers, John Carmack actually applied to Nintendo by creating his own version of Super Mario but was turned down. He and John Romero then banded together to create a violent version of Mario which led to Carmack's brilliant decision to switch the game from a 2D sidescroller into a 1st person view. 

So basically, Inafune wasn't just talking about taking inspiration or elements from Super Mario, it's basically looking at Super Mario and what makes it so amazing and timeless, then applying those same concepts and ideals into other videogames. It's crazy to think that we're in an era of gaming where it's natural for games to be released in a buggy state, requiring patches, or require DLC to get the full experience, so going back to a game like Super Mario that is very well made and complete is something to be inspired and driven by. 

DiscGuru101
DiscGuru101

Super Mario World is one of the best games ever made.

SIDEFX1
SIDEFX1

Mario is in my gaming heart. Permanently. 

Oh and Luigi too.. 

hystavito
hystavito

The word "bible" is a good choice to convey the importance of Mario in gaming as time goes on.  Just like the Christian bible, a book that was once very important, the very core of how people lived their lives, and now is increasingly ignored and forgotten, even criticized to extremes :).


The_Deepblue
The_Deepblue

Had to go there, eh? The Bible has always been criticized. Ever read any of the prophets? Many of them were martyred for their words, so the criticism for the Bible's contents have been severe since before it was in print. In many countries, people are slaughtered for believing its contents. So people still do live their lives by it, and much of the hate the book receives comes from utter ignorance and a disdain for even the most basic morality. Seriously, hearing atheists try to exegete a text from the scriptures is cringe-inducing. Biblical commands still echo throughout the laws of many countries, including the U.S. :D

ecs33
ecs33

@hystavito Criticism of the bible or any religious text is nothing new in these times. 

Daian
Daian

Mario gets his derrier kissed far too much, many games can't take a damn thing from Mario and apply it within their game.

If you wanna make a cute platformer, Mario is the golden standard, if you wanna make anything else, look elsewhere.

abHS4L88
abHS4L88

@Daian 

So you honestly believe that any side scroller or 3D adventure could not benefit from taking hints from Super Mario games? Even not looking at the genre or gameplay, Super Mario games for the most part exemplify what it means to create a complete, polished, and satisfying videogame and that's something any developer needs to take hints from. 

corrus
corrus

With other words another devs talking BS

sensitive_bad_guy
sensitive_bad_guy

@corrus Says troll that who only brings meaning to his life by trolling a good company while getting his ass fucked by his Xbone. 

SubHumanTorch
SubHumanTorch

other than the nostalgia some people have for him I do not understand the appeal of Mario at all, he's essentially a fat Italian Stereotype.

abHS4L88
abHS4L88

@juboner

Indeed, I've lived in Europe and never has an Italian ever been portrayed as a fat plumber, if anything, that's more the US :P The only thing that can be considered a stereotype is his voice but then again, he rarely speaks. 

abHS4L88
abHS4L88

@SubHumanTorch  

Just because you don't understand the appeal doesn't mean the appeal is not there. 

sensitive_bad_guy
sensitive_bad_guy

@SubHumanTorch If you weren't swimming in your dad's ballsack when Mario was created, then you know of the importance of the series. 

SubHumanTorch
SubHumanTorch

@sensitive_bad_guy @SubHumanTorch I know how important the first few games were to the platforming genre but that doesn't mean I have to like them. The franchise since Super Mario Bros 3 hasn't really been that important in anything other than sales figures. Most of the spin off's use borrowed mechanics and there hasn't been any significant change in the core series. If this guy was holding Mario up as an example of consistently making well made games time and time again it wouldn't bother but there are probably some very talented game designers that just don't enjoy platform games so why would they play Mario.

superkadeemx
superkadeemx

true that buuut i always notice a few megaman mechanics and sometimes enemy designs plus movements always being implemented in mario games to tho. you and your games is no slouch either Keiji

Nocturnal-Gamer
Nocturnal-Gamer

Mario wasn't really a personality as much as a character, I don't even remember if there was any real story to those early games besides the intro.

Hurvl
Hurvl

That's like saying that a film director that hasn't watched The Godfather or Citizen Kane or another classic probably isn't a good director. I'm sure the people who made the 2011 Smurf's movie or Fast and Furious movies agree with that notion, that watching those classics meant a lot for making those movies what they are today. 

I'm sure almost anyone who is a game creator has played a Mario game or at least knows about what's characteric about it, but that doesn't mean that they can benefit from that experience in everything that they do. Different games demand different things and strategies.

sensitive_bad_guy
sensitive_bad_guy

@Hurvl Fast and the Furious movies are fun. How the fuck can stuck up snobs like you think your more mature than the person that likes the Fast and the Furious movies when you rely on trolling? 

Or here's a better question, how much of a moron are you? 

Hurvl
Hurvl

@Sohereiam I agree that it's basic and a good, easy start for devs, but there's more ways to do a game than one. Mario isn't the only blueprint that leads to quality games. I generally just dislike how arrogant and narrow minded he comes off as.

Sohereiam
Sohereiam

@Hurvl Mario is the basic of the basic, all of its mechanism are simple, and almost all of its sequels and adaptations are as much as simple, even inexperienced developers can develop Mario's like games to train and become better. 

Sohereiam
Sohereiam

Well Mario is the first, not the first game, but the first artistic game, it gave us a main character, a villain, a objective, a challenge and a reward(the princess), it became the main inspiration for any developer at time, and one of the most important icons of gaming.

obsequies
obsequies

@Sohereiam time is his enemy, collecting money which gives him life. Eating mushrooms. pretty artistic for the time.

Shango4
Shango4

Wii U and Steam box is next gen for me.

TimberWolf_CLT
TimberWolf_CLT

Wow nice display of hubris.  Didn't Inafune invent air as well?

comb5
comb5

@TimberWolf_CLT 
*Doesn't who the people in the article are*
*comments on article anyways* 

SnakeSoldier
SnakeSoldier

@TimberWolf_CLT Your comment would make sense if Inafune created Mario. Except he didn't. He's just spouting praise and admiration of Miyamoto and the teams that work on Mario. What's wrong with that?