Miyamoto: “For A Lot of Us at Nintendo, It’s Difficult to Decide What Cool Is”

Shigeru Miyamoto explains one of the biggest differences between Nintendo and other game companies.

Nintendo’s legendary designer Shigeru Miyamoto thinks that the company’s games don’t fit neatly into any of the existing game genres popular in the market today.

“Nintendo isn’t one simple element of an overall gaming industry,” Miyamoto told the Los Angeles Times in an interview at E3 2014. “I really think there needs to be a Nintendo genre, that’s almost its own entity.”

As Miyamoto explained it, one of the big differences between Nintendo and other game publishers and developers is that Nintendo isn’t always trying to take its games very seriously.

“It’s not that I don’t like serious stories or that I couldn’t make one, but currently in the video game industry you see a lot of game designers who are working really hard to make their games seem really cool,” he said. “For a lot of us at Nintendo, it’s difficult to decide what cool is. In fact, it’s a lot easier for us to laugh at ourselves. It’s almost as if we’re performers. Our way of performing is by creating these fun, odd and goofy things.”

Nintendo’s Wii U has been struggling since it launched, but its “odd and goofy” games are starting to turn things around, according to Nintendo of America marketing executive Scott Moffitt. For example, Mario Kart 8 is off to solid start, selling 2 million units worldwide since it launched on May 30.

GameSpot Editor Carolyn Petit also thought that Nintendo won E3 2014 by having a little light-hearted fun instead of trying to go toe-to-toe with Sony and Microsoft.

Do you think the industry could use some more odd and goofy games? Let us know in the comments below.

Emanuel Maiberg is a freelance writer. You can follow him on Twitter @emanuelmaiberg and Google+.

Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

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Emanuel Maiberg is a freelance writer in search of the Citizen Kane of burritos.

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Discussion

581 comments
SoraPR
SoraPR

I have the 3 console and the Wii U is the number 1 console in my house!!!! is super fun!

watts1204
watts1204

I just got a Wii U with Mario Kart 8 and Super Mario 3D World and i am glad i did because i have missed playing Nintendo games and these are 2 awesome titles!!  I have an Xbone so now have best of both along with my PC. :)

jijij2
jijij2

 Nintendo won E3 this year because while Sony and Microsoft were having a pissing contest to see who has the "coolest" games, Nintendo, as hard as it is to imagine, had FUN, and in the end, isn't that what video games are all about?

al_is_here
al_is_here

i dont think the problem is their games, rather the accessibility of their games or the hardware.Do their games look appealing? yes...does it make me want go out and buy a wii u?? no ...if they made wii u games available for pc, would i buy them? absolutely

Ofcourse nintendo will always be nintendo, they dont adapt rather they rely more on innovating even if they run out of ideas.

km000243027
km000243027

Games like Metroid and Zelda need a serious makeover.  Their protagonists are suppose to be bad ass but look too weak and feminine.  I don't even feel good about who it is I am playing.  The overall aesthetic should be darker with some grit.  


As far as "goofy" is concerned... Just take your goofy games seriously.  The way it was talked about in the interview Miyamoto is just coming off as lazy.  Time to get serious and to stop complaining about how the term "cool" is confusing to you.  You can make games like Mario seem cool again.  


I love the games, but when I play the newer  ones I  feel like a kid.  And not in a nostalgic sense... I mean like it was designed for not all ages but for children and I eventually give up on them.  Most gamers are teens to adults.  No wonder they are losing sales.

roastedzombies
roastedzombies

The dude has a point. Nintendo games are fun. Too bad they typically take a back seat to PS4 and Xbone.

fede018
fede018

Ok, then where are the new IPs

fede018
fede018

So that's why Nintendo doesn't have a FPS...

homelessgamer
homelessgamer

If peeing your pants is cool, consider me Miles Davis.

jharring
jharring

I'm a Nintendo fan and I think it's rather absurd when people dismiss all Mario and Zelda games as samey and lacking ideas, but I'm a little disheartened by the people suggesting that there's nothing but brown, serious shooters on other platforms.  The Souls games?  Borderlands (highly colorful, not serious)?  Skyrim?  All the indies?  Broad generalizations don't seem very helpful, on either side.


There's good games to be found all around.

krazken
krazken

I wish there was a way for Nintendo to speed up their production but still retain the level of polish their core games are known for. Or at least have more projects going on simultaneously so that we get more of what fans want--Metroid, Zelda, Starfox, F-zero, etc. 


If Nintendo had launched the Wii-U with a killer game I think they would be in a lot better position right now. I'm going to have a hard time waiting for over a year for their next Zelda game and Metroid is nowhere on the radar at this point. That is one of the key ingredients that made the SNES launch so successful. You had Mario World, Pilot Wings, and SimCity, with Zelda coming shortly after, within it's launch window. All great games for the time.

kikook
kikook

Nintendo could just ask their fanbase what they want.

cashandchecks
cashandchecks

What can I say, I have no grips, I picked up a wii u for a $70 xbox 360 and a copy of GTA5. I have more Wii U games than my PS4 and Xbox One only because I buy most games for my PC because they look better, however thats changing this fall with destiny, COD for PS4, Last of Us, and I'll buy Forza Horizon for Xbox One, screw that Halo Collectors edition. Nintendo need to step up their game with the next console.

jasongm
jasongm

Odd and Goofy? Nintendo is definitely the "Walt Disney" of video games right now and kids seem to love them!

phenomfawaz
phenomfawaz

Light-hearted fun is what we need in today's serious world. Nintendo is definitely the stand-up comedian of the gaming industry.

rawkstar007
rawkstar007

What on earth is the gaming world, let alone Nintendo, going to do when this guy stops making games or passes away? Dark days...

Stiler
Stiler

It's one thing to understand yourself and make light hearted games that are simply fun (mario, pilot wings, starfox, mario kart, super smash bros, etc). 


It's another thing to focus your ENTIRE company on this and hold back on allowing third party publishers to bring their multi plat games because you don't support an equivalent system to develop on. 


Seriously, if Nintendo had a system that was even comparable to PS4/Xbone in power/development structure and didn't have a focus on gimmicky motion controls/gamepads they would be doing a lot better these days. 


The Wii fad is over, they need to understand that many gamers, the ones who grew up with Nintendo, who are now adults of thier own, would LOVE to still play Zelda, Mario, etc but also love the Metal Gears, Halo's, Skyrim, The Witcher, and many other series and when deciding what system to buy when yours is generally left behind and only selling point is "first party titles" they end up going with what offers them the best value for their money.



Nepti
Nepti

I agree that Nintendo's strength has always been their games. I just wish the rest of Nintendo agreed with me and their top performing game designer.

krazken
krazken

Nintendo does what they do well. They understand their brand. If they tried to be like everybody else in the industry they would end up being nobody.

coolbeans1
coolbeans1

Hes totally right. Nintendo, and even games made for Nintendo systems, have a distinct feel to them, a simplicity and innocence that harkens back to when consoles were relatively inexpensive children's toys instead of high tech entertainment centers. I hadn't owned a Nintendo system since the SNES, then I picked up a Wii for $40.00 way after the system died so I could play Last Story and Xenoblade. As soon as I booted up the system I got that old Nintendo vibe of light hearted fun that I hadn't really gotten from video games since the SNES. Other systems and developers make great games, but Nintendo occupies its own space and I'm thankful they're still out there defying trends and making games that they believe in.

thetrellic
thetrellic

I am so sick of all the trash talk about Nintendo ... it is all mainly from X1 fanboys that are sore because they are DEAD LAST in a 'so called' console race ... and for all the trash talk about power, I might remind you that the X1 has a hard time even putting out anything at 1080p 60fps (have they even yet?), Nintendo's been doing it all along ... who's playing with power???  Speaking of power Wii U doesn't hit my power meters G-spot every time I turn it on either (yes I'm old enough I have to pay my own bills).  If you want to sit in your moms basement and play a bunch of games about the world blowing up tomorrow and all your friends and family are dead and now only you remain to fight the alien onslaught as the sole hero ... well good for you ... me i'll be getting my Kong island back so I can eat me some birthday cake!!!!!!   Annnnd I hate to break the news but the 3DS already won the console war by itself ... the WiiU is icing on the cake.   Mario Kart 8 Super Horn to all the haters ... go skulk in the basement and vent your teenage angst on yet another shooter will ya and just stay off Nintendo articles ... we get it, really, we are farrrrr to colorful and fun for you to handle.

cboye18
cboye18

To me the difference between Nintendo and other companies is quite clear: One makes games, the other makes tech demo's. 

elheber
elheber

Dis' why I love you, Ninty.

pcgeekmaniac
pcgeekmaniac

And prosper just like SEGA, right?? RIGHT??

cerealzateu
cerealzateu

just stop making consoles and become a software company, like sega

tristamus
tristamus

@km000243027 Your view of what Nintendo's games "should" be are very subjective.  If you truly must have serious, dark, gritty, etc, then look elsewhere, where 80% of the rest of the market is.


Nintendo, in my opinion, is the balance to the game industry that is necessary.  Sure, I do think their games are a bit "kiddy" sometimes, but it's definitely not a sign of them being "lazy," as you say.  What Miyamoto is saying, is that Nintendo is very good at what they do, and they know their place in the video-game industry.

Also, Nintendo has enough money to flop every game title or system they create until the year 2020, and still not go bankrupt.  Just a thought.

joehendrey
joehendrey

I can't remember if pikmin 3 was actually launch or a month later but that game is amazing. Hard to market it because it's so different from anything conventionally popular. But still one of the best games on the Wiiu

abHS4L88
abHS4L88

@kikook

Have you seen what they've been asking? Any company would go crazy trying to do what their fanbase wants. Too many contradictions and unrealistic things.

Smash641
Smash641

@kikook Well, I want more of what they have been doing. Of course, that's just me.

sanchango
sanchango

@rawkstar007 That's when the Dark age of gaming begins. Nintendo games lose all their color and become like the rest of the competition.

abHS4L88
abHS4L88

@Stiler

Nintendo has a lot of deep games that are much more than "light hearted games that are simply fun" which include titles like Smash, Pokemon, Advance Wars, Fire Emblem, Xenoblade, Zelda, Metroid, F-Zero, Golden Sun, and many of the exclusives they've been securing also wouldn't be considered games that are just "simply fun" so I don't know what you're talking about.


In all seriousness, they could've a system that's more powerful and easier to develop for than the PS4/XBoxOne and I bet you most 3rd parties, especially Western developers would STILL not support Nintendo, know why? It's all about the sales, not the power of the hardware and historically, 3rd party games, especially Western games have almost always sold poorly on Nintendo's systems. The Gamecube was probably the best example of that since it was much more powerful than the PS2 and easier to develop for than the XBox, sure it had the mini-disc format which was somewhat of a limitation but most videogames in their respective generation even fully make use of all of the memory available. 


Sure many gamers would love what you're asking for, but most gamers just play videogames for fun and don't require a huge selection of games, and clearly for millions of people, Nintendo's 1st party line-up is enough. 

Ephex03
Ephex03

@coolbeans1 Actually the NES was the same price as the X1 and Ps4 when you adjust for inflation. The Snes would be 330 dollars if it was new today. So prices stayed relatively similar

abHS4L88
abHS4L88

@cerealzateu

Because SEGA's SUCH a better software developer now right? How many amazing games have they made in the past 13 years? Can you please enlighten me on this because I can think of plenty off the top of my head from the Dreamcast alone yet I'm struggling to think of many in their 13 years of being a 3rd party and this is what you want to happen to Nintendo?

Ephex03
Ephex03

@cerealzateu It won't ever happen, and even if it did it would be bad for for the company and bad for the players. They'd make a lot less money because they'd have no hardware to sell. They would also get less money from their software because they'd have to pay Sony or Microsoft to put it on their platforms.


Then it would be bad for gamers because Nintendo would no longer be forced to make good games. Right now they are in the position where they have to try their hardest to make "system sellers". If they didn't have to worry about selling the system, you can be damn sure the quality of their games would go down, and all you'd ever see again is Mario. Just like SEGA does with Sonic. You'd get more Mario games than you already get even now.

km000243027
km000243027

@tristamus I respect your thought and part of me can't help but to agree.  At the same time the fact that he even mentions the word "cool" makes me think that somehow this is something he wants to strive towards but just doesn't know how.  


In my humble opinion the overall aesthetic for games like Metroid and Zelda just don't make sense for the later games and yes are very "kiddy" at times.   Look at their earlier versions of the game.  The were dark, gritty, and people loved them.  The characters had a look and feel that was cohesive to the story and their place in it.  Now that's "cool"!


I like what you said about it being a good balance for the industry.  That is true, but that balance is not good for Nintendo itself or people who grew up playing Nintendo.  


Also Miyamato様 is obviously not a lazy person.  I just believe his thinking comes off as such in this specific article.

joehendrey
joehendrey

Oh, and the Mario game that Wii u launched with is kind of similar to Mario world. It doesn't quite have the same charm. The levels don't have quite the same level of exploration because it's fundamentally a multilayer game. But it is very pretty, still somehow seems fresh, and is definitely worth your time

Smash641
Smash641

@abHS4L88 @cerealzateu Sonic Heroes, Sonic Unleashed, Sonic Colors, Sonic Generations, Sonic Lost World. Nothing but Sonic, and those are only the post Dreamcast ones that I LIKE. Then there's Shadow and Sonic 06 which were awful, just like the rest of Sega's stuff with maybe a couple exceptions. Sega only focuses on Sonic now and while I'm not complaining, they could do more.

snow0
snow0

@klugenbeel @cerealzateu hahaha A frustated hater, I've imagined. You dislike Nintendo, but want  to play your games. I pity you.

Ephex03
Ephex03

@km000243027 @tristamus  Miyamoto comes off as lazy because he doesn't want to conform to what everyone else in the industry is already doing? When 90% of the games that come out are gritty or realistic it's nice to have at least one company doing something different. 

If Nintendo made Zelda look more realistic and gritty, it would just be a very ugly game compared to Witcher 3's open world. At least with the art direction he's going with it has a chance to shine in it's own right. If he did it any other way it would just be a huge disapointment visually, we all the know the Wii U is far far away from being able to match PC graphics, and if you try to compete with them in their own field then it's just going to look ugly in the end.

krazken
krazken

@joehendrey Yep. I own both of them and they're great. Pikmin 3 came out months after the system launched (probably my favorite game on any system for 2013). Still, neither one of those was as amazing as SNES being launched with Mario World included or the N64 being launced with Mario 64. Those games were absolutely revolutionary for their time.

abHS4L88
abHS4L88

@Smash641

From the Dreamcast alone, we got Sonic Adventure 1 & 2, Shenmue 1 & 2, Jet Set Radio, Skies of Arcadia, Space Channel 5, SEGA Rally 2, Virtua Fighter 3TB, Chu Chu Rocket, and Typing of the Dead, 


All those games in a span of 1.5 years proves what a beast of a developer SEGA used to be and yet 13 years as a 3rd party and they couldn't even match that, and I loved SEGA more than Nintendo so I cannot comprehend why anyone would want Nintendo to become like SEGA unless they hated Nintendo. 

Ephex03
Ephex03

@constantcritic @Ephex03 @cerealzateu That's not true at all, the Nintendo was making 100 dollars off each Wii sold right from the get go. Nintendo always makes sure they make money off the console sold rather than taking an initial loss, the Wii U is the first console they aren't making a profit on at the initial sale.

constantcritic
constantcritic

@snow0 @klugenbeel @cerealzateu Well, do you play the Wii U, or do you play the game?  I'd love it if Nintendo made games and accessories for everyone else.  They would sell a whole lot more.  All the hardware needs to do is play it.  If Nintendo had their own compatible controllers if needed for their games, then what's to lose?  From what most people know, there's not much money in the consoles, and all the money is in the games.  


You could put the Wii U in a paper bag when it's on, it doesn't matter, because you are watching the screen.  


The IP is in the games and characters.


There's nothing "hater" about wanting to play the games.  

klugenbeel
klugenbeel

@snow0 @klugenbeel You need some tissues for your tears or for your virginity?

shinta125
shinta125

@constantcritic @snow0 @klugenbeel @cerealzateu More games on more systems =/= more sales. If this were the case, the industry would look so much better than it does now and so many studios wouldn't have closed down over the decade.


You're also talking about Nintendo downsizing when you suggest going 3rd party, and the quality of their games could drop just as well because they wouldn't have the time to polish their games as they see fit.


Sega and Atari will always be brought up in these conversations as examples of hardware companies going 3rd party and the quality of their products diminishing. I should also remind you that Sega only had 4 games to show off this year at E3 compared to the previous year which was 5. The year before that was 7 and before that, 8. Sega is having to rely on their big franchises that they know will sell like Sonic, Yakuza and Project Diva.

abHS4L88
abHS4L88

@constantcritic

What's to lose? How about Nintendo's franchises? Trust that if they go 3rd party, the ONLY franchises that'll most likely survive the transition are Super Mario, Zelda, MarioKart, Smash, Donkey Kong, Kirby, and maybe Metroid, everything else will most likely die out. 


Also videogames where you have to buy a peripheral typically don't sell well.


Seriously, if it was as easy as you guys make it out to be, then why would Nintendo be super against it? There are obvious highly negative factors you guys aren't taking into consideration.

snow0
snow0

@constantcritic I play games, but if you want play Nintendo games, you have to buy Nintendo systems, same thing for Sony or Microsoft, simple.

'Hater' was for klugenbeel, not for you.

constantcritic
constantcritic

@shinta125 @constantcritic @snow0 @klugenbeel @cerealzateu I would say it's even more motivation to make quality games.  


If you don't try to make the best games you can, you deserve to lose in a competitive market.  That's part of my current opinion of Nintendo's state.  I don't believe they know what direction they should be going, so this generation is a halfased attempt.  None of the games so far have impressed me.  I feel like there's so much potential that was lost.  Especially with last Zelda and some others.  They are flashy and fun, but man, when you compare it to some of the other platform's similar style games... it could have been so much more.  I have long had trouble connecting with Nintendo's games and characters.  For many other games, that's a very critical aspect.  

constantcritic
constantcritic

@abHS4L88 @constantcritic You say that, but why?  Are the games and Nintendo's creativity not enough to compete with the rest of the gaming industry?  That's exactly what you said, and doesn't bode well for Nintendo.


The Wiimote revolutionized gameplay.  It was even copied by the others out of necessity.  The Wiimote didn't need the Wii console to succeed, it needed the 'mote and the games.


I think Nintendo just wants to succeed so much, but doesn't know how yet, and doesn't have a new brilliant idea, yet.  They have a few years to sit on the Wii U before deciding to abandon consoles, but if they don't come up with a game changer by then, they should take all their resources and put them into killer games that everyone would want to play on all systems.  They could easily be the most powerful game developer, as they have a whole game category to themselves.  If they don't, all the money in the bank won't make any difference.


They need some fresh, young blood in their ranks with new ideas.  I get the feeling that the aging old crew is getting tapped out.

abHS4L88
abHS4L88

@constantcritic

You should know as well as I do that quality and creativity doesn't always sell, which is even more so the case these days in the gaming industry. That doesn't bode well for Nintendo which is why it's not smart for them to go 3rd party. Also apply this logic towards Sony or Microsoft, if going 3rd party would automatically equate to more sales and profit, then why haven't Sony or Microsoft done it? Why would Microsoft choose instead to invest billions into breaking into the console business instead of just scooping up developers and being a major 3rd party publisher? 


The WiiMote did need the Wii, otherwise the system can't operate without it which is why the idea of supplying a peripheral for any unique game would further hurt Nintendo's games since the system itself has to also be compatible. 


What Nintendo wants more than anything is to remain healthy in the industry, it's not about selling the most or being the most popular developer, it's about having the ability to continue to bring out the games and ideas they want to execute. They even stated that they're against the idea of going 3rd party, and considering what has become of SEGA (who was once their rivals and nearly stood on the same level as them), I can completely see why Nintendo wouldn't ever want to go that route.