Independence hangover

I always go out of my way to have not-American food on July 4 each year. I used to do it to be ironic, but eventually it occured to me that it was pretty much the ideal melting pot celebration. Besides, what food can America claim as its own? Nothing worth celebrating, that’s for damn sure. So I went with bánh bò, sushi and a green tea smoothie yesterday. Not all at once, though because seriously, major vomit noises.

“Green tea smoothie” is a pretty weird idea for a drink, now that I stop to think about it. It’s like… a blended ice drink, but barely sweetened, and with a strong roasted aftertaste. I think it’s the combination of “icy smooth texture” and “earthy burnt flavor” that makes it so strange — like having gazpacho for the first time and not realizing it’s served cold, it takes a minute for your brain to reconcile the fact that your tongue is experiencing a hitherto unimagined gastronomic sensation.

Retronauts update: Episode 27 will go up sometime tomorrow. There is, in fact, a very good reason for this. But I’ll let you hear the episode for yourself to learn why. And yes, you’ll find out what happened to Ray.

E3 terror: Apparently I will be interviewing Shigeru Miyamoto in some capacity, so I’m open to suggestions for questions. Advance warning: I will absolutely ban anyone who tells me to ask when he’s translating Mother 3.

63 thoughts on “Independence hangover

  1. Miyamoto probably gets this question enough times to be sick of it, but I’m curious what he thinks about his fans in Japan and in America and the differences between the two, also the way he’s revered by them. I mean, does that embarass him or what? He seems pretty good natured.

  2. Can you ask him when he’ll do another franchise? There were murmurs about something totally new from him prior to Wii’s launch, but nothing ever came of it…of course, if Nintendo beats me to the punch and unveils something new before your chat, then hey, more power to them.

    In any case, didn’t you say you’d be doing an update about toys?

  3. I don’t know if anyone asks him this often, but I know one of the big complaint I hear about Nintendo is that ‘it’s nothing but Mario/Zelda/etc. games,’ the implication being that Nintendo doesn’t create brand new franchises, instead relying on the ones they started over 20 years ago to continue to make them money.

    Now, I don’t really agree with this viewpoint (it’d hold more water to me if there were more bad Mario/Zelda/etc. games) but there’s at least a somewhat interesting question underneath it. The last game that Shigeru Miyamoto helped create that didn’t star an established Nintendo character was Geist in 2005 (or I guess, Nintendogs in 2005 as well if you really want to be picky). The one before that was either Eternal Darkness or Doshin the Giant in 2002, both of which he produced in some capacity according to the wiki page.

    He’s working with a new system, with a new audience who may not have ever played a Mario or Zelda game. Are there any plans for a new franchise, one that doesn’t star a Mario or a Link or a Donkey Kong? Or, put another way, are we going to see a new Nintendo character from him anytime soon?

    I could be way off on my question (I’m not video game historian) but I dunno, that’s what I’d ask him.

    – Eddie

  4. How about: Many developers say they love your games, and look to them for inspiration. Who are some developers that you think are really incredible, and why?

    Also: Nintendo first party franchises have been teaching third party developers how to use your new hardware. Most recently, Zelda: Phantom Hourglass provided an excellent example of how to use the DS’ features in a more traditional game. Now, Super Mario Galaxy looks to do the same for the Wii. Was this intentional? Did you go into development thinking “We’re going to show everyone how to create games for this console?”

  5. Best I can come up with:

    “Earlier this year you said that you could make Halo if you wanted to, but that you choose not to. Are there any games in recent memory that you would’ve chosen to make, or that you wish you’d thought of first?”

  6. Ask him if Nintendo might expand into products other than video games. Specifically, might Nintendo compete more directly against Apple in the future? (Did you know that Steve Jobs made two swipes at Nintendo when introducing the iPhone? First was expressing that stylii for touchscreens are disgusting, second was saying that the game console market is much smaller than the PC and cellphone market). Also, who is he grooming as his successor(s) at Nintendo for when he retires?

  7. I’m curious about who in America he thinks are doing things worthy of note (other than Retro, obviously). What Western games impress Miyamoto?

    I’m kind of curious what was cut from Wind Waker, and because all the obvious questions have been covered (including mine! twice!) I’m wondering in particular where the third Sage dungeon was going to be.

    OK, I guess I should come up with an intelligent question: does Miyamoto think he has a signature design style distinct from other producers at Nintendo? There’s certainly a difference in design philosophy between, say, Nintendo and Square Enix, but I wonder if he sees that as extending to individual producers.

    I’m also tempted to be a smartass regarding Earthbound Zero, but I won’t.

  8. Serious question, inspired by my niece asking for help with Mario 3: My generation grew up playing Miyamoto’s games, and now we’re raising children who are also playing Miyamoto’s games, through series continuations or direct remakes, etc. Does he have any feelings about his work resonating with this many people for such a long period of time? Does he take pride in it? Is it strange? etc.

    (I realize this will be really hard to phrase in Japanese, but I think the answer might be great)

  9. Oh! This isn’t necessarily for Miyamoto, but what’s the audience for Wii Ware? Is Nintendo hoping people are going to do things like stock tickers, to complement the non-game channels they’ve got already, or are they looking to get niche, indy titles onto the platform? Or do they plan to see what happens?

    I guess that could be made a question for Miyamoto by asking what he’s personally looking forward to seeing as Wii Ware.

  10. I second the question about the potential for any new Miyamoto-conceived franchises coming out of Nintendo anytime soon (or before he retires, whichever comes first).

    I would’nt mind hearing his thoughts about Little Big Planet, as it seems to be the most Miyanoto-esque thing to be produced by a company other than Nintendo in a long, long time.

  11. Does he have any theories why the gaming press finds it so necessary to pick out individuals and say, “Him. He made this game. He is the genius,” when a bunch of other people helped, too?

    I would also like to hear more about the theory, “Zelda is a communication game,” he proposed at GDC.

    Is the future in casuals Brain Ages, blah, whatever…

  12. Mr. Miamoto, you have essentially 2 concurrent Zelda franchises: The mature/dark zeldas in the vein of OoT and PoT, and the cartoony/light zeldas like WW and the upcoming PH. Does Nintendo plan to continue both? If so, what shape would you like to see the next console Zelda take?

  13. I was thinking about Shigeru Miyamoto and how a lot of his games are famously inspired by his boyhood and exploring caves and all that, I hardly need to tell you. But I wonder if he thinks videogames (and other digital entertainments) have so absorbed children that they hardly have those kinds of experiences anymore, or they experience them virtually, as it were, and I wonder if he feels some kind of regret about all that?

  14. Ask him if Nintendo will be following Sony’s lead in having prominent developers work on smaller original downloadable games now that Wii Ware has been announced. Bonus question, ask him if he feels if most Virtual Console games stand the test of time and whether or not he ever wanted to go back and fix or add to a game post mortem.

  15. You could always go with the classic “What is it like working for Nintendo?” in horribly broken Japanese. Just don’t forget to wear your rising-sun headband.

  16. Ask him if he’s interested in bringing back Mole Mania for, say, the Nintendo DS (the whole layered puzzle design would work extremely well on the dual screen layout of the DS). It’s a fantastic game, one of the best on the GameBoy, and surely it deserves a sequel.

  17. We’ve heard a lot about Miyamoto advising Eiji Aonuma during Twillight Princess on how to do this or that, such as in the stories about “up ending tea tables” and “passing the Miyamoto test”. Miyamoto obviously oversees a lot of the talent at Nintendo and I’d like to know more about that role. What kind of things does he leave up to the director and what kind of things does he try to influence?

  18. I’d personally love to hear if there’s even a snowballs chance in hell of Pikmin 3 on Wii, or that Nintendo has brought Starfox back in house and is working on a new title that isn’t 60% awesome and 40% terrible.

  19. I’d like to hear about any new IP he may have planned. I could be wrong, but I think the last one he was responsible for was Pikmin. Everybody always wants to hear about the next Mario or Zelda game, but at this point I feel like the true gameplay experience revolutions on the Wii are going to come via Miyamoto and new IPs he may have in the works.

  20. This goes towards an area that would be harder to ask about, but I’d be interested to know if Miyamoto feels that Nintendo will continue with its current gaming philosophy when he’s gone from the company (i.e. creating a non-traditional gaming experience), or if Nintendo will change gears and create a console more in line with whatever Microsoft/Sony will be doing at the time?

  21. Jeremy, avoiding American food on the fourth is as easy as saying “pass me that frankfurter”.

    Anyway, I second asking Mr. Miyamoto about Little Big Planet. It’s a very exciting game, one that seems more Nintendo than Nintendo.

  22. No American foods worth having? Really? No spinach salads (from Pennsylvania), no chili (from Texas), no cheeseburgers (Pasadena)? I would say there’s more than a few pretty awesome American dishes out there. I suppose whether you think those are worth celebrating is something else though. Now Canadian foods? ‘nother story, there. We get poutine and things involving maple syrup. More research needed there…

    Re: Miyamoto, I think might be interesting to hear his thoughts on the Cult Of Nintendo that has developed over the years, much like the Cult Of Apple. Or whether there are any new franchises in the works. Or if he thinks there’s any value in Nintendo revising its stance on 3rd party developer relations (specifically, if the N will try and develop them).

  23. Cheeseburger? Putting cheese on an existing food item counts as creating a new dish? Man, food is easier than I thought.

    Shivam, there are no words.

  24. Jeremy, could you ask Miyamoto if Nintendo has plans for more cooperatively-designed games on their systems (in the vein of Pac-Man Vs. or Four Swords or the new Phantom Hourglass multiplayer)?

    There were always co-op FPS games on PC, but those were always “two people playing the single-player mode together”. Pac-Man Vs. really opened up the floodgates in my mind, as did other GameCube connectivity exercises. I love the idea of players having “weak incentives” to work together and then later against each other — this kind of gameplay dynamic can give even a simple game concept wonderful layers of depth.

  25. “Advance warning: I will absolutely ban anyone who tells me to ask when he’s translating Mother 3.”

    Ask him when he’s translating Doki Doki Majo Shinpan.

  26. Glad to hear the retronautes podcast is back.

    I’m like most of people here, ask him when he’s going to invent a new franchise.

  27. The “what game do you wish you could’ve made that someone else beat you to” was one I was already beatem to…

    … so how about something regarding the potential of the DS as an RTS platform, tying in the recent Square Enix titles and the fact it’s the obvious choice for a new Pikimin game. Heck, springboard that into a question regarding what genres tend to work on either side of the Pacific, since RTS isn’t big in Japan.

    #2 would be something along the lines of “with the announcement of Civ for the DS, that’ll make it th

  28. – Ask him about Pikmin. He’ll like that. We’ll like that too.
    – Ask about Sakurai’s handling of his characters in Smash Bros. Brawl.
    – Make SURE to ask about Super Mario Galaxy. The thing’s almost fallen off the radar.
    – Ask him about working with Will Wright in SNES SimCity.

  29. Ask him if he’s begun to think about retiring now that he’s in his mid-50’s. If he answers “yes,” you will have started the countdown to the end of an era.

  30. I just know this is going to sound predictable coming from me, but here goes: would Miyamoto be averse to the creation of another title in the fashion of Zelda II, or at least a remake? Even though the original wasn’t perfect, there was potential for a side-series at the very least, with a little difficulty tweaking (falling into pits taking off half a block/heart of health instead of resulting in death, not respawning at the very beginning, more life refill opportunities, etc.), the integration of other Zelda series mainstays (items, puzzles, secret areas), Metroid-style exploration befitting of a 2d side-view adventure game, not to mention what worked and/or had potential for evolution in the original (combat system, magic spells, experience system). And even if he or one of the internal Japanese Nintendo teams didn’t want to do such a thing, would he give his blessing to another team that had a promising idea of what to do with it (i. e. Contra series producer Nobuya Nakazato approving of the upcoming American-developed Contra 4 for the DS)?

    Ok, that’s enough out of me.

  31. Really though, I hope that didn’t annoy the crap out of anyone. Guess I’m a little paranoid like that sometimes.

    Anyways, getting back to Virtual Selection on Retronauts? I’ve missed those, especially since I heard about that one Strider-esque game.

  32. Actually, a Pikmin game on DS had never occurred to me, but that would be so, so sweet.

  33. I’m not sure what his official title/job is at Nintendo, but was Miyamoto actually involved in the Mother series at all??

    I thought of another question as long as we’re going out on limbs. I’d like to hear which developers or companies he respects or admires in the industry today. I believe I remember him mentioning people like Will Wright and Peter Molyneux (kidding), but I’d be interested to hear if anyone or anything else catches his imagination in the same way that his games do ours.

  34. First, congratulations on getting the interview

    My suggestions:

    1.We already know Miyamoto was a bit dissapointed by the sales of Twilight Princess. He said that maybe “people just aren’t interested in playing big roleplaying games like Zelda”. Supposedly, there’s another Zelda being made for the Wii. Getting a peek at what his aproach for that would be awesome. TP was great, but it felt like more of the same. I think it’s time for a different Zelda (Phantom Hourglass was a good step). I sometimes wish a Zelda game would somehow break the tradition of beating dungeons and saving the princess. Perhaps Link could go on a totally different quest. Ask him if he would be willing to raise the difficulty level of this game, or of it will be dumbed down for casual gamers.

    2.Some info concerning new IPs would be much appreciated. What does he have in mind once Metroid Prime 3, Smash Bros, and Mario Galaxy are released?

    3.Virtual Console on the DS. gameboy games, gameboy color games, gameboy advance games

  35. Since it was recently announced, I really would like to hear more about Wii Ware. Will this be the vehicle for established publishers to release direct download games, rather than the shop/arcade? Are they looking to embrace the hobbyist community, or is this geared more toward smaller independent development houses that have existing relationships with Nintendo? Will they be engaging the community through outreach programs, published technical specs, dev environments, etc?

    Also, I’d love for you to press a bit on the future of online plans for the Wii/DS. Are they planning on following through on those promises of downloadable content for games, more content sharing (a la Elebits), multiplayer gaming (especially co-op). Have they been surprised by the DS Wi-Fi adoption/usage at all?

  36. A question for Miyamoto I wouldn’t mind an answer to – why is Luigi such a punching bag these days? I mean, he used to be Mario’s peer, and now he abused, insulted or forgotten at every turn. It’s not like he’s Tails or anything, so why the shabby treatment?

  37. As Dwight from The Office:

    “Question! When are you going to remake the Super Mario Land games?”

    “Fact! Super Mario Land 2 is the Super Mario Bros. 3 of the Game Boy.”

  38. Ask him what he thinks of the competition and the future of nintendo. I know, it’s a generic a question, but a few years ago people all thought we’d put on Virtual Boy helmets, plug ourselves into the Matrix and escape into these virtual worlds. Even though we’re not quite there yet, I wanna hear Miyamoto’s take on the future of gaming.

  39. Jeremy, you should ask him the question we all have wanted to know the answer to for years: does he plan on creating an orginal, traditional, “mascot-calibur” game ever again?

  40. You could ask him about Eiji Aonuma and if he is now allowed to do a non-zelda game. There must be people at Nintendo that people are looking at as potential ‘successors’. Aonuma seems the most likely candidate.

    As much as I look forward to Mario Galaxy, I can’t be alone in feeling the same franchises are being re-churned. Maybe you could get him to hint at some new thing.

  41. I remember reading an interview with Miyamoto, and he said that one game he wished he had created was Katamari Damaci.

    There, question answered.

  42. I want to know if/what the plans are on DS/Wii connectivity. It doesn’t matter to me what franchise the game is, I just want something to be coming.

  43. Hey Mr. Parish, would you please ask Mr. Miyamoto if and when Nintendo will put the Yoshi’s Island series in the hands of someone willing to make a game that at least seems new? I mean people constantly say that Mario and Zelda games show the same things with each sequel, and while I agree to some extent with them I feel Nintendo usually has the common decency to provide its customers with new settings, powers characters, etc. Yoshi’s Island DS was almost exactly the same as Yoshi’s Island only with worse music, visuals and a character switching system that was lacking in places. With that beautiful Yoshi’s Island stage on Super Smash Bros. having been revealed I feel that it is Nintendo duty to the fans to finally give us a real Yoshi’s Island sequel not Yoshi’s Island 1/2.

  44. If you want to be remembered, you could always ask him if you could smell or touch his hair.

  45. I’m curious how the Mega64 episode where Miyamoto guest starred was organised. It’s probably easier to ask the Mega64 guys, though.

  46. Do ask him if he has any person stuff going on for WiiWare. I think that’s probably one area where he can afford to work on a title without having to neglect other duties.

    And New IPs.

  47. I’m not sure if it’s very relevant to Miyamoto, but something that has been bothering me is the recent lack of Nintendo soundtrack CDs. It seems as though the company has put a full stop to releasing its music on CD, except for the one rare exception like Pokemon. Sure, Wii Sports has barely any music to speak of, but why no double CD set for Twilight Princess? Have the soundtrack CDs been deemed unprofitable, or would they be going against some kind of a new company policy to direct their focus elsewhere?

  48. Why did both Mario and Zelda have freaky floating hand enemies with eyes in their palms? Was that an acid trip of his?

  49. Late to the party, but in regards to:

    Besides, what food can America claim as its own? Nothing worth celebrating, that’s for damn sure.

    I, as a Yankee Expat in the Nation of Texas, would politely disagree. I don’t think I’d find better barbecue or smoked brisket anywhere else on the planet.

  50. I’m late as well, but I think the entirety of Cajun cuisine would frown on the idea of not being worth celebrating.

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