Miyamoto on violent games

Having created franchises like Donkey Kong, Mario, and Zelda, Nintendo's Shigeru Miyamoto has been a big name in the industry for a long time. And if you've read one interview with the man in the last 20 years, you've pretty much read them all.He likes new challenges. He likes innovating. He likes...

Having created franchises like Donkey Kong, Mario, and Zelda, Nintendo's Shigeru Miyamoto has been a big name in the industry for a long time. And if you've read one interview with the man in the last 20 years, you've pretty much read them all.

He likes new challenges. He likes innovating. He likes to make games that anyone can play. If the interview is from 2001 or later, it might mention how he got the idea for Pikmin while he was gardening.

CNN today posted a transcript of Miyamoto's recent appearance on Talk Asia, and while much of it reads like a "greatest hits" of the developer's previous Q&As, there are some interesting passages where he might be doing more than reciting the same answer he's given 100 times before.

When asked about why Nintendo hasn't jumped headfirst into the profitable world of violent games like Grand Theft Auto, Miyamoto replied, "My personal thought is, and I think it is the same with Nintendo, that before thinking about how to handle violence in video games, I think it is important to think about pain people feel. For example, you would not laugh at people with disabilities. There are bullying problems in Japan. Looking at the overall picture, it is important to understand and feel the pain that people might have. We make our games based on that philosophy, using means other than violence."

Talk Asia host Anjali Rao also asked Miyamoto about how he deals with fan feedback, noting that gamers are rarely restrained in offering their opinions.

"This is a difficult subject," Miyamoto confessed. "If a fan makes a suggestion, I will often put it in my mind, and I will take in whatever comment I feel is useful. But I make my own predictions of how a user might react to the games I create, and I would say I am sensitive to whether those reactions are in line with what I predicted. People generally have different views and opinions about anything. So I would only listen to whatever information is useful for me. It is interesting to hear what other people say. But instead of reading the blogs, I would rather stand behind a person playing the games and sense how the player is reacting to the game--whether he is unhappy with the games, or if he is having fun. I can feel all of that directly. It is more useful for me to do that than to read what he thinks of it."

Keep checking the GameSpot News Blog for more stories from every corner of the gaming world.

--Brendan Sinclair

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Discussion

130 comments
kappareign
kappareign

i really agree with his opinion... although i think violent games can be fun, the truly, truly great games are probably the ones all ages can enjoy. fun without being offensive

gatsbythepig
gatsbythepig

I still think Donkey Kong is the most violent game ever made.

timpysan
timpysan

While I have a lot of respect for Miyamoto, and feel that he's entitled to make his games however he wants to, I also don't think games should have to be politically correct. I personally haven't enjoyed the GTA games I've played, but that doesn't mean I don't think they have their place. To each, his own.

weathertrooper
weathertrooper

I've been playing games for about 20 years now, and I used to love the violent ones hella when I was little (MK, Duke, etc). But after a long time, I now find these so-called "kiddie games" that Nintendo makes are great fun, like Star Fox for SNES and Link to the Past, and even Sonic and NiGHTS rock. I'll take nonviolent gameplay ove Gears, Half-Life, or especially GTA anytime! If you think about it, all main game series get repetitive to some extent, but shooting the same people over and over, or playing a game only to use a chainsaw in Multi is just plain stupid and boring. But I DO like GoldenEye and Duke and a few other Mature games out there, so i'm not saying M-games are bad.

_Zodiac_
_Zodiac_

Honestly I don't really like Miyamoto, his philosophy about making games and what entertains people I disagree with greatly. Mainly I just don't like the games he makes (well except Zelda). So I guess what I really don't like is his high and mighty attitude about making something that doesnt appeal to me anyways.

Poshkidney
Poshkidney

violence don't sell game's violence sell idea's

GANGSTA287
GANGSTA287

Didn't we basically force Japan to make violence illegal after WW2?

empjag
empjag

Just a sidenote about "Mature" games. I manage a movie/game rental store; the games with the highest rate of theft are the GTAs and others like it. A large portion of the people that play these types of games are sympathetic to their in game characters brutal personas. The calibur of person that enjoys games where they kill just to kill... I personally prefer good clean fun games one can enjoy just for the fun of it, and Shiggy knows how to make fun games.

YukoAsho
YukoAsho

I'm really getting tired of all the people bashing violent video games. Personally, I love games all over the spectrum (well, 'cept for EC: Early Childhood, but you know what I mean). I don't see why all M-rated games have to be depicted by those who hate them as mindless in their violence. Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne most certainly isn't that, and neither is God of War, Metal Gear Solid, Deus Ex, Prince of Persia: The Two Thrones, or even Gears of War, for that matter. There's plenty of thinking amongst the violence in games like this. There are also plenty of mindless nonviolent games. Fact is that there's art all over the spectrum, and the ones saying violent gaming is bad are no different than the ones calling Nintendo kiddie.

1357900
1357900

Ladies, and gents, the man who invented Super Mario Bros, Legend of Zelda, and Donkey Kong!

1357900
1357900

Non-violent games are ok. I'm a college kid, but I still don't find violent games amusing. I have fun playing Smash Bros., Splinter Cell, Jedi Knight, Galaga, and other stuff like that, just like I always have ever since 15-25 some odd years ago. Violent games don't interest me. The same goes for sex in games. At worst, I think that in non-traditional Mario, and Zelda games like Mario Party, and Smash Bros. Princesses Peach, and Daisy, and Zelda should have different outfits than always dresses. But that's it! Speaking of sex in games, I really think companies are getting more, and more desperate, allowing games like that ridiculous "girls gone wild" bit, but then again, to each his own. If you like GTA, "whatever powers you up", for me, personaly, it gets old like Mario Party, or Jack Thompson. I mean, what's next?: Nintendo's female characters in thongs{Next Mario game: Super Mario Striptease}, Sega's Sonic sadisticly taking a chainsaw to Eggman's head{Pyscho Sonic}, or unlocking a secret code to get Lara Croft doing porn? I mean, come on, not many people would want to see any of that! It really boils down to this, "If you like that sort of thing, and get entertained by it, then who am I to stop you?, but as for me, I'd rather not play such games.

Doctor_Wario
Doctor_Wario

If someone that doesn't like shooting innocent people (even if it's virtual) is considered a "kid", then you can consider me one of the most immature players on the planet. XD I've never liked Mature games. The only M game I've ever been even the least bit interested in is the Thief series, and even then I decided against it. I've been playing games since the days of the Super Nintendo, and I still do not like M games. Partially because I have children in my home, but mostly because I think that you can have fun without killing civillians or stealing cars (you know who you are. XD). In my mind it's like this. I can either play all those great games like Mario, Zelda, Warioware, Pikmin, Metroid, and all those other clean, great games (and you can't argue, those games are great. :D), or I can play GTA and Hitman 2. For me, the obvious choice is the former. Thank you for reading my incredibly long rant. XD

Footballteen58
Footballteen58

Zelda is not kiddie, Metroid is not kiddie, Star Fox isnt really kiddie either.

V-Nine
V-Nine

I guess that was for those who comment without playing. But both sides have been right so go figure I guess?

zaphod_b
zaphod_b

Maybe instead of labeling excessively violent games as M for mature, the ESRB should have used V for violence, S for sex, VS for both, etc, because so many gamers have it in their minds now that violence and maturity are somehow synonymous. I have played and enjoyed violent games, but I have been playing Nintendo's brand of fun for 20 years, and at 29, I still don't feel too "mature" for it.

MSG-Deathscythe
MSG-Deathscythe

those who are vocal about being macho or "adult" by playing gta and the like are really the ones who are kiddie. these are individuals who have a lot of "shortcomings" that they feel they become a better person by being pretentious of what they really are not. picture a dwarf who holds big gun but screams at the sight of a mouse.

Seraphim_24
Seraphim_24

Violence isn't necissary for a mature game. Look at the new Zelda. Its violence isn't realistic and is minimalistic yet the story is very dark in nature, and very mature. Same with Ocarina. Keep in mind Nintendo co-developed Eternal Darkness and Twin Snakes, both games ended up with an M rating, but neither would be on the GTA level of violence, and both are still good. I wouldn't say Nintendo caters only to kids, but I also believe as a 27 year old gamer, that excessive violence is not necissary to have a good time. The success of Final Fantasy, Zelda, Metroid, and so forth show that. Shoot even Oblivion isn't really all that violent... And I'd rather have a story rich adventure along those lines that a brainless mind rotting blood bath shooter-hack 'em up anyday. But that's my personal taste...

starfoxmcleoud
starfoxmcleoud

Kiddy company, no (remember resident evil, geist, XII). A family oriented company in which they want everyone to take part in video gaming, more apropriate. Besides, not everyone finds entertainment in mindless murdering of countless people, blood splattering everywhere, shooting who ever you want. Where is the fun in that?

GyRo567
GyRo567

That's the most immature reaction I could have imagined that it's not even ironic.

tnugent7
tnugent7

Nappan, while no one is going to convince you otherwise, your assertion that the industry invented "ultraviolence" is incorrect. To see why, just look towards Stanley Kubrick. In "2001: A Space Odyssey," he suggested that the dawn of weapon-based violence was actually the dawn of mankind. In "A Clockwork Orange," he used the script adapted from Anthony Burgess' novel of the same name, in which the author coined the term "Ultra-Violence." Stanley Kubrick also spent his life making many films which showed the true dehumanization that accompanies the taking of a life and the preparation to do so. From the homicidal insanity of Vincent D'Onofrio's good-natured Private Pyle to the emotionally unstable French army in Paths of Glory, the man showed killing and death for what it is. To say violent video games are a guilty pleasure is convenient enough, but the fact that one is rewarded for inflicting death in a violent manner is dehumanizing on a basic psychological level. I play the occasional violent video game, but the fact remains that they are the ultimate positive reward conditioning according to basically every psychological study in the history of the field. In an ever more-realistic virtual world, how can you continue to say that the psychological experience of simulated violence will never beget violent personalities?

YukoAsho
YukoAsho

Thankfully Miyamoto's not the only person directing at Nintendo, but I'm not surprised. Nintendo's often gone against the consumer's wishes, and that has led them to the 3rd place position they're in now. This is also the reason 3rd parties will always be hesitant to produce M-rated content on Nintendo systems. The super juggernaut which everyone buys their systems for is against it, that's clearly not where the market is. Personally, I'm saddened by his self-righteousness. If there's any man I thought could tackle violence in a way that made it seem as vicious as it really is, if there was ever a man who could use the video game medium to tackle social issues (such as disability, which he mentioned), I'd always thought he'd be the one.

frazzle00
frazzle00

No one is denying Miyamoto's talent or contribution to the industry, but that whole "pain people feel" section of the interview is nothing but PC PR BS :D. If I wanted to listen to a preacher, I would go to church. I doubt if I am the only gamer out there who wants to keep this pseudo-moralization out of their gaming experience.

anarchicgoth
anarchicgoth

well Donkey Kong was his answer to western gamers which was the opposite of stuff like Missile Command but almost all of his games have violence in some degree but nobody said it had to be grotesque or extreme lol thats what Manhunt and Gears of War are for!

Reetesh
Reetesh

Great! Its always good to get to know more of such great people and what they do :D

nappan
nappan

"daqua_99 It's right what he says ... looking at the bigger picture, we have got to say to ourselves 'is it really fun to gun someone down?' " The history of gaming says "in the context of a fun game, yes." Of course, it's not the ONLY way to have fun in a game by any stretch of the imagination.

Carlitonsp
Carlitonsp

Damn, I would have perfered Blood in the Next Zelda!:twisted: Totally anihalation for Ganondorf.:D

Kbs64
Kbs64

He does have a point. Shigeru Miyamoto is the Oriental King of Gaming. He makes the best games. But regardless, Nintendo did come make Killer Instinct and that game rocks! I still play it to this day. I do think Nintendo does need to sto strech its "Ninten-arms" just a little bit more. YOU ALL KNOW THAT WOULD SHOCK THE GAMING WORLD IF THEY DID!!!! He makes me proud to be asian :)

daqua_99
daqua_99

It's right what he says ... looking at the bigger picture, we have got to say to ourselves 'is it really fun to gun someone down?'

coolcole1
coolcole1

i thin what he is saying is that he personally doesnt want to make the games well let metell you that many of his pastgames are masterpieces andthe guy is a genius people who wouldtalk crap are probably just sprouting pubes.

nappan
nappan

"cancer_777 Koroshyiaichi Miyamoto isn't saying voilent games are boring. he is saying that games dont need to be violent to be fun." He's also implicitly blaming some element of social violence on videogames. I realize that's a whole other debate, but he's making more than just a casual statement about games and fun. Insofar as he is saying that a game can entertain and be universally accessible, I think it's important to remember that even if the violence is couched in non-graphic or unrealistic terms (squashing goombahs, space fighters, etc)... it's still the most fundamental thread that rusn through non-puzzle/rythem games. I personally think that the greatest innovations in gaming come from developers who make sandbox worlds in which you can approach a given problem with a blazing gun (spell, etc), or stealth, or diplomacy. My ideal game is one in which I can play a given part of it any way that I can imagine, using whatever means I see fit. It's silly to rule out violence, but it's also true that the idea that violence is at the heart of good gaming is untrue. The heart of good gaming is creativity, quality, polish, and innovation. That applies to a game like Guitar Heroes or Katamari Damacy as well as Gears of War and Half Life 2.

cancer_777
cancer_777

Koroshyiaichi Miyamoto isn't saying voilent games are boring. he is saying that games dont need to be violent to be fun. please read the article first before posting.

jegojego
jegojego

This 30-something kid loves Nintendo games. I don't particularly care for GTA and games like it, either. It isn't like there isn't any violence in Nintendo games, just that games for Nintendo platforms are less overtly violent. (You kill things in Zelda left and right, for heaven's sake) . I have to second that after the first GTA, the lack of originality (in the sequels) is glaring. I haven't played GTA myself, but I have watched my husband play it. It's not that interesting, frankly. If you want a shoot-em up game, there are plenty of more interesting FPSs out there.

Koroshyiaichi
Koroshyiaichi

Sure Miyamoto, Gears of War really sucked... sure.

RetroGameFanCom
RetroGameFanCom

Sure, the Big N caters to the younger set, but so what? Their games can be enjoyed by all ages. At almost 40 my wife and I enjoy the Nintendo Wii as much as our 5 and 14 yr old daughters. I really enjoy Nintendo's classic franchises which i have been playing for years. And the Virtual Console, pure genius. I love it. When the kids are in bed for the night, I get me Mature game fix from Xbox 360 and PS3. All the systems have pros and cons. You have to take from each one what is important to you. Simple as that. IMO Miyamoto is an awesome game designer and I respect him immensely. I don

RetroGameFanCom
RetroGameFanCom

Sure, the Big N caters to the younger set, but so what? Their games can be enjoyed by all ages. At almost 40 my wife and I enjoy the Nintendo Wii as much as our 5 and 14 yr old daughters. I really enjoy Nintendo's classic franchises which i have been playing for years. And the Virtual Console, pure genius. I love it. When the kids are in bed for the night, I get me Mature game fix from Xbox 360 and PS3. All the systems have pros and cons. You have to take from each one what is important to you. Simple as that. IMO Miyamoto is an awesome game designer and I respect him immensely. I don

DemonJD138
DemonJD138

Yeah, they're a kiddie company. Because, you know, I'm sure 3 year olds would've had no problems breezing right through Twilight Princess. Making games appropriate for all ages doesn't make them inappropriate for adults. However, saying that games that are appropriate for all ages are "kiddie games," or that only violent games are worth playing does make you look like a jackass. To wit; would you rather play Urban Chaos: Riot Response (violent and mediocre) or Super Mario 64 ("kiddie" and amazing)? If you answered the former, you are a nimrod.

Sil3n7Knight
Sil3n7Knight

*Bows to Miyamoto* But Really Truly and Honestly, It just shows that Nintendo is much more brilliant than any other company that can make fun games without having to add sinful pleasures like so many other developers feel the need to because thier ideas arent original enough to sell on their own...

chrisdojo
chrisdojo

i'm glad there is still someone that thinks violence isn't something that makes a game fun.

ki-saro
ki-saro

Yep, and the personal taste of Nintendo as a games developer is non-violence.

nappan
nappan

Ki-Saro, I'd say that the biggest message coming from you is that it's less about the type of game, than it is about it being a great game made by the small handful of truly talented developers. It always comes down to the quality of the game in the end. After that it's just a matter of personal taste.

ki-saro
ki-saro

I don't suppose anyone thought the most popular game on the N64, Goldeneye 007, was a "kiddie" game, did they? I mean, there was killing and violence in that game. And it was based on a "grown-up" theme. I guess the only things missing from the game to make it possibly seem "kiddie" are the blood and having to shoot bad guys, rather than random innocents. If you want to argue why it was popular, then it would make sense to go to the source - the company who made the game, Rare. Other Rare titles include Banjo-Kazooie, Diddy Kong Racing, Conker's Bad Fur Day and Perfect Dark. These were all hugely popular games, too, and a lot of Rare's games were aimed at the younger audience. Although, Conker's Bad Fur Day was a cross between the two extremes, offering violence, blood and a cute look. And Perfect Dark had blood. Now, I know I'm choosing specific examples here but others continually refer to GTA and the like, as if it were the choice example for comparison. Well, Rockstar North, the people behind GTA, are also the people behind Lemmings. As a games developer, Nintendo are probably one of very few that choose to only make games without violence. Since Microsoft and Sony's consoles are based more on third-party games, it's not hard to see where this perception came from in the first place. However, looking at the best-selling titles for the PS2, you come across Kingdom Hearts, Jak & Daxter and even Crash Bandicoot. All aimed at the younger audience but still picked up by the older audience. In the end, all Shigsy is saying is that Nintendo, as a games devloper, are more focussed on creating games without as much violence or with a more desensitised feel towards it, and that it's down to third-party developers, if they so wish, to create games of a more violent theme. Since more third-party developers are getting on-board with the Wii, I'm pretty sure you can expect to see more "grown-up" games on the console.

nappan
nappan

"JFreezy02 nappan you are just as ignorant as deadlyfriend. You two are the kind of people that give honest gamers a bad name. You guys probably get a rise out of shooting every one in sight in GTA. " I don't see how that's even remotely the case. I don't equate violence with "adult", and I didn't even use the word "kiddy". The point I made was simply that Miyamoto can take whatever high road he wants to pretend to, but he's in an industry (and culture) that INVENTED ultraviolence. He might make donkey kong, but he's working for the same people who made tons of money from RE4, and has been from day 1. If his convictions are so pure, the entertainment industry is PROBABLY a bad choice. As for Nintendo being a "kiddy" company, it's true that they make many more games aimed at a young audience than sony or MS, but they also make/license mature themed games, and games that appeal to all ages. It's not a moral decision, it's a financial one. Nintendo has talked OFTEN of their desire to fill a niche (the one they always have), and it's a good one, but don't mistake it for a crusde against violent content. As for GTA, what appeals to me about that game is the same as oblivion: a wide open world. To my way of thinking, that kind of game can accomodate violent and pacifist gameplay styles, and is very interesting. The more options I have to approach a given problem in a game appeals to me, and that should include violent and nonviolent means.

djchallis
djchallis

i think he's got a good plan there with the violence. non-violent doesn't mean kiddie. grown men can still enjoy playing mario and zelda. having them with less violence just broadens the audience to include the kids AS WELL as the adults. and as long as we get some more violent games as well for the mix, i'm happy with the decision. i do love his games.

Krazykraz01
Krazykraz01

I don't understand how it's kiddy to be empathetic, whoever posted first.

OPbarfer
OPbarfer

I don't see where that quote was newsworthy. He wasn't really saying ANYTHING. Besides, it's neither here nor there. Nintendo' s first party stuff is going to be what it always has been. That's becuase they can't really do much of anything else. It takes them forever to get any new game out, because they have pretty high qualitly standards, so they can only make a few games a year. They're branching out with Disaster: Day of Crisis, but mostly it's the same old stuff. Why??? Because that's what their extremely loyal fanbase DEMANDS. They've got so many franchises that if any one of them gets left out on a particular console, fans get mad. So why waste time on stuff that isn't a sure thing?

PixyMisao
PixyMisao

True: Nintendo is never going to make a ultra-violent video game in house, also true: Nintendo will never need to. Lastly, Nintendo has broken down all the barriers to limit or otherwise prevent any second or third party from making a game that they want to make on a Nintendo system without limitations. The Wii is getting Mortal Kombat, (which btw has always been on Nintendo systems and only censored once, for the first game 15 years ago on the SNES) The Godfather and a slew of other Mature rated games (not unlike the Gamecube did). So calling Nintendo kiddie is not the whole picture. Even some Mario games have had darker moods in lava, stormy castle or haunted house levels... I don't think it behooves anyone if Mario ever picked up a chainsaw in anger. The new Zeldas and Metroids have dealt with mature themes, and even seemingly silly games like Chibi Robo deals with heavy personal problems like disfunctional and non-communicating families and child neglect. And if the new SSBB is any indication, I'll bet you anything that if a new Kid Icarus shows up on the Wii he will not be given "the Wind Waker treatment".

sscloud123
sscloud123

It's quite sad to hear people say 'kiddie' games just because miyamoto quite rightly points out that violence isn't funny and that it isn't pretty either. The only kiddie people are you.