Shigeru Miyamoto, Nintendo's celebrity game designer and the mind behind Mario, Donkey Kong, and The Legend of Zelda, is rarely seen without a smile and the exuberance of a boy on Christmas Day.
It's rare to hear the industry vet say something negative about anything, but in an interview with CNNMoney's Chris Morris, Miyamoto does talk about something that he didn't initially like--the name "Wii."
"When we first thought about it, myself and others felt that the name Revolution was very appropriate to what we were doing," he told CNN. Like several of the Nintendo faithful, he did eventually come around, citing the Wii's main mission of being as nonthreatening to nongamers as possible. "So we thought [Wii] was more friendly and inviting," he said.
One way of getting the non-gaming crowd into games is to actually put them into the game. Those who saw the Nintendo pre-E3 press conference this year will recall the doubles tennis match played between company bigwigs Miyamoto, Reggie Fils-Aime, Satoru Iwata, and a contest winner. Each player's character (save for the contest winner) had cartoonish representations of themselves rather than a generic player model.
Miyamoto implied that this process of personalizing characters may not be limited to just those with the best parking spaces at the company. "We have some different ideas about how to take advantage of that functionality--and we will be sharing that type of functionality with third parties."
On the mainstream console front, Sony first put characters' faces in games with the PlayStation 2 game Tony Hawk Underground in 2003, and further explored the idea with the EyeToy camera peripheral (Nintendo did allow gamers to put their faces into Perfect Dark for the N64, but it required a Game Boy and the Game Boy Camera peripheral and wasn't a highly touted feature). Microsoft has already announced a camera for the Xbox 360, due for release this fall. While Miyamoto did not go into detail, his carefully chosen words could mean a camera peripheral is in the works for the Wii.
One of the biggest bits of news at this year's E3 was the pricing of the PS3 at $599 for the high-end model. Miyamoto, like other gamers, did a double take when he heard the news. "I knew...it was going to be expensive. Even then, it was a bit of a shock. But I think it's clear that they don't want to lose a lot of money per unit."
Sony was also behind one of the other surprising announcements of the expo--the PS3 controller would be motion sensitive, like the Wii's. One word often associated with Nintendo is "innovative." How does Miyamoto feel about Sony's...sincerest form of flattery?
"That always seems to happen and we kind of expected it," he said. "We've gotten used to others copying what we do--and we're having a lot of fun with it."